Public Administration and Community Development in Anambra State


This section of the study is devoted and directed towards sharing the various authors and scholars regarding the subject matter under investigation.

Consequent upon the above the review of related works will be seen from these angles.

  1. The explanation of the concept of Public Administration
  2. the explanation of the nature, scope and significance of Public Administration
  3. The explanation of the concept of community development.


The field of Public Administration is mainly a debate over definitions. Despite more than a hundred years of development, Public Administration lacks a significant definition that is acceptable to all students of Public Administration.

In order to understand the term “Public Administration”. We should first be clear with what we mean by the adjective “public”. The word “Public” is used in a variety of meanings, but here, it means “government”. Public Administration, therefore means government administration. It is the study of the management of the public agencies that carryout public polices in order to fulfill the state purpose in the public interest (Naidu, 1996:4).

Consequently, various scholars have defined Public Administration in different ways. While, the traditional writers have defined Public Administration in its narrower sense, the modern scholars have defined it in as wider sense. The following are some of the important definitions offered by the traditional writers in the field of Public Administration.

According to Daniel Hartzell (2006:318) in his book “Academic’s Dictionary of management” Public Administration is the study of or practice of organizing and managing people and othr resources to achieve the goals of government: also, the art and science of management applied to the public sector.

Wilson in Polinardu 92004:4) posited that “Public Administration is detailed and systematic execution of law, every particular application of law is an art of administration: to Wilson administration is the most obvious part of governemtn; it is government in action; it is the execution: the operative, the most visible side of government.

Gullick (1934) in Nwankwo (2006:15) STRESSED THAT “Public Administration is that part of the science of administration which has to do with the government and thus concerns itself primarily with the executive branch, where the work of government is done, through there are obviously administrative problems also in connection with the legislative and judicial branches”. From this definitions, it can be seen that gullick tried to integrate the concept of Public Administration to the executive branch of government where the actual work of government is done.

Kein, Waldo (1978:179) argued that “Public Administration, both as a study and as an activity is intended in maximize the realization of goals, and often the two blend into each other, since in the last analysis, study is also a form of action”. To Walido, Public Administration is geared towards the maximization of the involved in the actual conduct of government and its agencies.

Stressing further, Willoughby in Polinaidu (2004:5) Public Administration in its broadest sense denotes the work involved in the actual conduct of government affairs regardless of the particular branch of government concerned. In its narrowest sense, it denotes the operations of the administrative branch only.

White in Polinaidu (2004:5) contended that “Public Administration consist of all those operations having for their purpose, the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy, in the views of white, Public Administration concerns itself with the executive or administrative branch concerned mainly with the enforcement, fulfillment and implementation of public policy.

According to Pfifner in Naidu (1996:4) Administration consist of getting the work of the government done by co-ordinating the efforts of people who work together order to accomplish their set objectives.

Carson and Haris in Polinaidu (2004:5) Public Administration is the action part of the government, the means by which the proposes and goals of government are realized.

Consequently, Simon in Naidu (1996:4) summarized the concept of Public Administration and contended that “By Public Administration, is meant in common usage, the activities of the executive branch of the national, state and local government.

The definitions quote above reflect the narrow traditional point of views of Public Administration. This view locates Public Administration in the executive branch of government. Its main business comprises all those activities that are involved in carrying out public as expressed in laws made by the legislative and judicial functions. Its main concern is to get things done and not to decide what things to do.

Public Administration is therefore identified with the administrative side of government as opposed to the legislative and judicial side that explained why Polimaidu, (2004:5) contended that the traditional view is unduly restrictive as an explanation of the scope of Public Administration; be emphasizing the locus but not the focus of Public Administration. It is not due to the facts of administrative practices in democratic government, because administration does not only carry out public policy but also recommends it.

Today, the term “Public Administration” is used by modern writers in a broader sense; having some responsibility in determining governmental polices and programmes as well as executing them. The following are some important definitions as propounded by modern writers on Public Administration.

Dimock and Dimock in Polinaidu (2004:6) argued and contended that “Public Administration is the area of study and practice where law and policy is commended and carried out”. This means that according to Dimock and Dimock, Public Administration involves both the recommendation and implementation of laws and policies.

Supporting Dimock further, Fester in Polinaidu 92004:5) contended that “Public Administration is policy execution and also policy formulation”. Fester in his own definition as given above tried to support the views on Public Administration as presented by the Dimocks and contends that it is both policy formulation and policy execution or implementation.

Finally, according to Negro and Negro in Polinaidu (2004:5) they argued that the concept of Public Administration can be summarized to mean the following.

  1. Is a co-operative group efforts in a public setting.
  2. Covers all three branches – executive, legislative and judiciary and their inter-relationships.
  3. Has an important formation of policies and this, is a part of the political process.
  4. Is different in significant ways from private administration.
  5. Is closely associated with numerous problem groups and individuals in providing services to the community.

Conclusively, from the definition given so far, we can now safely dove tail to summarize that “Public Administration is the non-political public bureaucracy operating in a political system: it’s the business side of government and as such concerned with policy making and policy execution to be concentrated in the executive branch (Naidu, 1996:7).

The nature of Public Administration

There are two broad divergent views regarding the nature of Public Administration they are:

  1. The integral view
  2. The managerial view

The integral view: According to this view, Public Administration is viewed as doing the work of government. Administration is regarded as the sum total of all the activities-manual, clerical, mental, technical and managerial, which are undertaken to realize the objectives of public policies. If we accept the integral view, all the activities of government officials or employees from the poem in a remote office to the secretaries to governments and head of a state at the capital constitute public administration.

        A dependable supporter of the integral view of administration is L.D. White (2008). According to him, public administration consists of all those operations, having for their purpose, the fulfillment or enforcement of public polices. In his opinion, public administration covers many operations performed by different agencies of government in the fields of law, justice, social welfare, education, science, technology etc J.A VEIG AND Dimock are other important supporters of this integral view (Polinaidu 2004:8).

The managerial view; According to the managerial view, public administration is viewed as getting the work of government done. This view regards public administration as consisting the managerial functions of top public administration who are engaged in getting the work of government done. Therefore, it emphasizes the basic POSDCORB functions of managers; planning, organizing, staffing, directing, co-ordinating, reporting and budgeting. The managerial view denotes the work of the Chief executive as a general manager and excludes the activities of the non-managerial personal such as a clerk from the preview of public administration.-

Thus, the managerial approach regards administration as getting things done, not doing things. In other words of luther Gulick, “Aministration has to do with getting done with the accomplishment of defined objectives”. Othr important scholars that subscribe to this view are henry Fayol, Herbert Simon, Smithburg and Thomson.

However, the integral view differs from the managerial view. The former presents an all inclusive and supervisory personnel. The distinction between the two views relates to the difference between the operation and management, or doing things and getting on things done (Polinaidu, 2004:9).

According to Dimock, administration is concerned with “what and how” of the government. The “what” is the subject matter, the technical knowledge of a field, which enables the administrator to perform his tasks. The “how” is the technique of management, the principles according to which cooperative programmes are carried to success. Each is indispensable, together they form the synthesis called administration “Polinaidu, 2004:9).


By the scope of public administration, we mean the major interests, commitments and concerns of public administration as an activity and as a discipline. It is both a subject of study and practice. Hence, the scope of public administration refers to its boundaries as an activity, a set of institution and a subject of study.

Although public administration has more than a century of development, there is no consense among its writers about its meaning, nature and scope. All these have become matters of much debate and controversy. This is because public administration is perhaps as fast growing discipline enlarging constantly its scope of interests, concerns and commitments.


The significance of public administration has grown to the extent that it can neither be under estimated nor over emphasized public administration lies at the center of modern society which has witnessed the emergence of the “administrative state”. In the administrative state, public administration has become all encompassing and effects the lives of the people from “The womb” to the womb”. Since the end of the second World War, governmental activities have increased manifold and become more complex and pervasive. public administration has undergone far reaching changes both in its objectives and functions.

It is recognized that public administration plays some exercise in all societies. In the modern administrative state, public administration has become so important that their development, upliftment and progress depend mainly upon the efficient functioning of public administration (Polinaidu, 2004:19).

In his opinion of Waldo (1948) in Okoli and Onah (2002) in Nwankwo (2003:23-24), the importance of public administration is the efficient utilization of scarce resources by the officials and employees in executing public policies. It has its focus point in the throwing off waste, conservation and effective use of men and materials and protection of the welfare and interest fo employees. In a nutshell the goals of public administration are the ultimate objectives of the state itself, ie the attainment of goodlife.

Furthermore, Adebajor (2002:2) has this to say indeed, so significant is the importance of this instrument of human welfare that one can agree with the writers on administration who asserted that “if our civilization breaks down. It will be mainly a breakdown of administration and the future of civilization government, and even of civilization itself rest upon our ability to develop a science and a philosophy and practice of administration competent to discharge the public functions of civilized society. Form the proceeding lines, it is not difficult to coin out that administration is the process or which social stability rests because it ensures the establishment of constitutional process and machinery through which the functions of the state is carried out from day to day.

Finally, its significance can be seen in the modern society which is summarized below to include:

  1. As a basis of government.
  2. As an instrument of implementating laws and policies
  3. Participation of policy formation.

4      A great stabilizing force in the society.

  1. Provides continuity when government change
  2. Provides a wide variety of services in the public interest, such as protective functions, welfare service, promotion of agriculture, industry, facilitative services
  3. As an instrument of social change and economic development (Polinaidu, 2004:14-12).


Community development which is almost interwoven with rural development (except that while he former is specific on community, the later deals with the rural development) is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most popularly acclaimed vehicle for the transformation of most societies all over the world. Nevertheless, the approach then was the practice where by different agencies, professionals or government ministries undertake various development programmes, such as agriculture, health, education etc. within the same community separately without coordination or collaboration of efforts. Unfortunately, such approach has only made very limited impact on community development efforts. In addition to this, approach has been very costly in terms of finance, manpower, and other resources. Consequently, in commonly there has been a shift from this approach to community development. The approach now commonly accepted and which seems to offer the greatest hope is that known as intetgrated approach.

One important thing to bear in mind about community development is that it centres on the upliftment of the lives of people in the community, either by them alone or with the help of the government, both federal, state and the local government which is nearer to the people. It is also a strategy designed to improve economic and social life of the community.


In the opinion of Aroh (2002:14-15), having therefore noted the meaning and concept of community development, the motive or philosophy behind community development, questions could be asked, why do people participate effectively in community development? The reasons could range from:

  1. The struggle for survival
  2. An attempt to provide their most pressing needs call “feltneed”
  3. The neglects by governments.

These are principles underlying the democratic and effective participation of the people in development. Because most of the time, the people through the age grade, village assemblies, social or cultural group identify the project, plan for the execution and carryout the implementation this forms their total commitment; This is because they are involved in the whole process of selection to the execution of the project. They are motivated because the decision was a populistic decision. There is often a sense of fulfillment whenever a project, which serves their purpose, is completed because the people are always happy to say “we executed this project”.


In the opinion of Dike (2012), Local government, at least in principle deals with grassroots polities as an agency of public administration by keeping law and order, basic sanitation, constructing and maintaining local roads, suppling water, administering local schools, providing skill training and empowerment for residents etc. however community development is the process or effort of building communities on a local level with emphasis on building the economu, forging and strengthening socialites, and developing the non-profit sector. Therefore, community development programmes are aimed at improving the quality of life of the people in the community.

There may be more community buildings and facilities built with money set aside by the government throught the instrumentality of public administration. This may help prevent crime in the local area as young people have more to do and it may bring more communities closer together. It may even encourage more business to invest  in the local area, which could bring more jobs and economic prosperity to the community.


Review has been carried out on different writer’s contributions to the concept of public administration and community development in Anambra State. Some definitions and other important fundamentals that are involved in public administration and community development have been thoroughly examined and x-rayed, such as the nature, scope and significance of public administration, concept and philosophy of community development, characteristics of public administration of community development and a gamut of other important concepts which were examined in this chapter.

         Consequently, base on this review, we can conveniently come to the conclusion that public administration is an institution of central in all communities in Nigeria.

Therefore, it calls for the governments of these communities and the administration, including all the stake-holders to put hands on deck for its maintenance and sustenance for enhanced and improve development of these communities or societies, enhanced policy formulation and profer implementation and better utilization of scarce resources evidenced in these areas under study.


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