The debate on the dichotomy of Politics and Public Administration has been going on
since the time of the former US President Woodrow Wilson. Explain what this means
highlighting the differences as well as the similarities of the two disciplines.
In his famous article, Wilson (1887) outlined what later happened to be called the politics-administration dichotomy, a theoretical model that stresses distinct features of public administration and politics. According to Wilson, public administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. With aids from several scholars, Wilson’s fundamental ideas have gradually developed into a model of public administration that had fabulous influence on the intellectual identity of public administration until the mid-1940s. As a result of applicable evaluations that followed in the post-war period, the politics-administration dichotomy lost some of its theoretical and normative appeal, and therefore, gave rise to development of different models.
The difference between politics and administration is that the field of politics aims to answer the question, “Who shall make law and what shall it be?” while administration attempts to address the question, “How should the law be administered?” On the other hand politics are similar in that in the late 1940s and early 1950s,The politics-administration Dichotomy was increasingly criticized, came under attack and was rejected by many authors.