Acta Universitatis Danubius. Juridica, Vol 12, No 3 (2016)

Factors Affecting the Transformation of Public Administration

Mirlinda BATALLI1

Abstract: This article begins with a short description of the factors that affect the transformation of public administration. Process of transformation in public administration as occurrence is affected by different social, political, economical and cultural developments. As a result, most modern societies and governments are looking forward to modernize their public administrations and make them implement the principles of good governance. Governments around the world are increasingly transforming their public administration through use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), adopting new administrative legislations, increasing oversight over the administration and engagement of citizens. This study analyses the factors that directly or indirectly affect the transformation of public administration in order to act in line with the new developments in the society and citizens demands and to enhance relations and communication between the state, social society, private bodies, nongovernmental organizations and other institutions. A specific question to be addressed in this context is that to what extent and under which conditions do administrative sciences, legislations, administrative oversight, IT and engagement of citizens affect the transformation of public administration.

Keywords: Public administration; transformation; IT; administrative legislation; administrative science

JEL Classification: K11

1. Introduction

Administrative sciences include the theory of administrative bodies that moves toward the study of business administration and management. This concept for public administration was Max Weber's model of bureaucracy: impersonal non-political, rational, hierarchical, and organized according to technically specialized functions.

Administrative sciences should be inspired by the new reforms and developments, since the reform in public administration is considered as main topic for advancement and improvement of administrative science.

Current requirements for the expansion of knowledge for the administration have in mind the needs for new theoretical and practical access over the administration in the new conditions of development of the democratic order in modern societies, given the fact that administration is an activity without which cannot be imagined the activity of a legal state (Stavileci, Sokoli & Batalli, 2010).

Administrative activity is now a product of a complex administrative system charged with rendering public services with the goal of undertaking actions aimed at securing the welfare of its citizens, as well as the cultural development and economic progress of society (Rosenbloom, 1982). Current public administration requires consistent instruments to keep it functional and dynamic.

Administrative theory and practice should be a symbol of transformation in line with new developments and reforms in public administration. Herbert Emmerich, professor at the University of Virginia in the monograph Handbook of Public Administration: Current concepts and practice, with special reference to developing countries distinguishes the importance of ecology and concurs that public administration must be considered as 'an integral part of a nation's institutions'. He concludes that “modernization of administration can be carried through more easily if cultural symbols and customary decorum is accommodated” (Emmerich, 1961).

The study of administration in general and administrative sciences in particular should be considered as an interdisciplinary approach to the study of sciences that deal with behavior sciences such as: political science, economics, history, sociology, etc.

Modern concepts of the administrative system rest on models of the administration as a complex and dynamic system of human interaction (Pusić, 1985).

Today we have a limited number of theories developed over the state of administration in terms of new circumstances of social transformation and the conditions of changed role of the state. It is necessary to have analyzes and studies which will have to discover the causes for administration stagnancy. These studies and analyzes would have to be multipurpose and interdisciplinary, while descriptive studies are becoming increasingly deficient.

Therefore, the current task of the administrative sciences is to determine the direction and development of administration based on the new social, economical and political circumstances

2. Administrative Legislation Reform

Administrative law reform is considered as key subject of discussion in the field of modern administrative sciences. Nevertheless, little has been done in a productive way to accomplish such reform in harmony with new developments in the society. Many scientist and theoretician that study the administrative law have raised many concerns about the status of administrative legislations. Various proposals have been made, in order to fill the legal gaps of the current state of the administrative field legislations. The uncertainty in relations to administrative acts issued for implementation of administrative laws has a hampering effect on administrative powers as whole. In numerous cases, administrative acts were not well matched with social, economic and political development and they did not include enforcement instruments as well. It is time to present some modern, practical, efficient and functional ideas of administrative laws reform by raising some basic concepts that are too often disregarded.

Several amendments of administrative laws are often unsuited with current transformation of society and development of technology, giving space to many vacuums and vagueness. Certain administrative legislations permit the suspension of elementary rights under certain circumstances since some of the laws are drafted under political influences, without involving the respective authorities.

The standard story of the reformation of administrative law sketched above is misleading in important respects. While regulatory decision-making has been fundamentally transformed, the nature of that transformation and the reasons for it differ from those embodied in the standard view of administrative law (Rodriguez & Weingast, 2015).

Adaptation of the administration to the new the conditions and circumstances of the society is the duty of administrative legislations. Therefore, it is necessity that administrative legislations are issued in accordance with the new social conditions. Therefore, the drafting of administrative legislations should involve all public administration authorities and other stakeholders that will implement the laws in order to avoid elementary failings, uncertainties and inconsistency in many of the laws from the administrative field.

Administrative legislations should not define only general principles of organization and administrative functions, therefore by these legislations is expected to place the administration on a new organizational and functional basis.

Regarding the EU administrations, there are a number of principles and rules that already exist, including the right to good administration enshrined in Article 41 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (“Charter”). In its Resolution of 15 January 2013, the European Parliament asked the Commission to submit a proposal for a regulation on administrative procedures applicable to any EU administration. The Commission shares the Parliament’s commitment to achieving the highest administrative standards, and a detailed stocktaking exercise is currently assessing the present situation and to identify gaps or weaknesses in the existing legal framework (European Commission, 2013).

In this context, administrative legislation reforms and administrative system compatibility in Central and East European post-communist countries to West European integration processes should be the basis for the future transformation of the respective post-communist administrative systems and their organizational and functional development (Lilić, 1990, p. 1).

Administrative laws have always been basic tools for improving the efficiency of EU legislation. In order to bring the advantages of EU legislation, administrations at EU and national level need to work more closely together. Closer coordination between EU institutions and national bodies has an important role in this regard.

3. Control over the Administration

Control over the administration is an oversight that a higher body exercises to a lower body of the administration as well as the control of general or specialized state authorities carried over the administrative bodies. Administrative control strengthens the legitimacy of the administrative authorities and increases the level of accountability and efficiency. The object of administrative control is the work and performance of the administrative bodies, conducted in the administration and the exercise of official authorizations. The main purpose of the administrative control over the administration is achieving unity in the functioning of the administration.

Based on the purpose, control over the administration includes: a) control of working results, b) control of working quality, c) general and specialized control, d) preliminary and subsequent control, e) control of administrative acts and actions, f) control of legality and opportunity (Borkovic, 1987).

A client focus in government is one of the main standards that enable the good administration in government’s service delivery. Therefore, the public officials should be accountable, helpful, cooperative, committed and prompt to resolving administrative issues. This standard should be closely observed by different agencies that perform internal and external control over the administration.

In modern states the control over the administrative bodies is exercised by different state authorities, therefore, it is known internal and external control over the administration. The internal control is exercised based on the hierarchical principle within the administration and executive branch, while parliament, competent courts, ombudsman, civil society, or other bodies exercise the external control.

Internal control is the group of norms, routines and procedures adopted by each Administrative Unit such as routine manual, segregation of duties, determination of attributions and responsibilities, employee training, limitation of access to assets and the limitation of access to computer systems seeking to prevent mistakes, fraud and inefficiency (Morelo, 2011).

Effective management controls are clearly essential to the success and well-being of government organizations, both as a safeguard against waste, abuse, and fraud and as a means of ensuring that, the policies laid down by top management are properly implemented by the organization (Allen, 1996).

The aim of external oversight is to maintain the integrity of government agencies and public officials by holding them accountable for actions and decisions they will make while carrying out their duties. Accountability is a keystone of representative government, as it enhances public confidence in the government sector and, conversely, helps ensure that government is responsive to the interests of the public (NSW Ombudsman, 2010).

Regular appraisal and correction of wrong administrative actions by internal and external agencies will have an effect in improving administrative decision-making process.

Public administration control by the public and the citizens is considered as one of the main democratic elements of the rule of law, since citizens and civil society perform this control in different approaches.

4. Development of Information Technology

New developments and reforms in public administration are considered as result of new technologies. The most significant for E-Government practice, is that IT advances administrative activities and facilitates new government e-services, leading to an increased level of efficiency and effectiveness in public administration.

During the last decade, developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) drastically changed the daily life of citizens and their relationship with governments. The revolution of ICT, respectively e-government influence the citizen transformation in relation with the administration through improvement of service delivery in one hand and vice versa communication on the other hand (Batalli, 2011). ICT is a resource for renovating government that allows drastic transformations toward quality change, and in improving services to citizens and public administration’s effectiveness. It is a crucial instrument for re-engineering administrative proceedings and for introducing new organizational progress (Batalli, 2011).

Fountain (2002) says, “Technology is a catalyst for social, economic and political change at the levels of the individual, group, organization and institution. Fountain (2002) initially assumed that the Internet “…would overwhelm organizational forms and individual resistance and…would lead to rapid organizational change.”

Public administration in the 21st century is undergoing dramatic change, especially in advanced economies, but also in many parts of the developing world. Globalization and the pluralization of service provision are the driving forces behind these changes (Robinson, UNDP, 2015).

The era of E-Government, which can be defined as the use of IT within government to achieve more efficient operations, better quality of service and easy public access to government information and services, is now underway (Kraemer & King, 2005). Gibson and Hammer’s (1985) claim that “today's applications of information technology can dramatically change the way individuals, functional units, and whole organizations carry out their tasks.”

The introduction of the reforms regarding the simplification of public administration using ICT and other tools differs from one country to another, due to differences in their institutional, political and cultural structures. Simplification of public administration leads towards re-engineering of administrative procedures and introducing a new organizational, architectural and operational model of administration (Batalli, 2011).

IT has the opportunity to transform the public administration and their relation with citizens by reforming and simplifying administrative procedures and increasing the level of professionalism, accountability and transparency in the administrative bodies.

The new information and communication technology, especially the Internet, is understood as a powerful instrument for the reinvention of the (local) administration. It supports the transformation from traditional bureaucratic paradigms, which emphasize standardization, departmentalization and operational cost efficiency, to an “e-government” paradigm that emphasizes the creation of networks, external cooperation and customer services (Tat-Kei Ho, 2002)

The government must not implement information technology arbitrarily, but IT should be considered as a main tool for e-government and improvement of efficiency, accountability and transparency in public administration. The modern and democratic public administration anticipates governments to change more radically in harmony with the developments in the field of IT. The position and activity of public administration should become more energetic in order to response to the transformation needs, society requirements and new trends in the areas of public administration.

5. Role of Human Factor (Engagement of Citizens)

Process of globalization, innovative expectations of citizens and the use of ICT all persuade the performance of governments in their relations with citizens. Public administration should pay attention to position of citizens at the centre of decision making as an important instrument in order to react in harmony with citizen’s requirements and expectations. In this regard, public administration should make easy the direct or indirect participation of citizens in decision-making process.An important element to increase the efficiency in public administration is to examine citizen’s thoughts and feelings, since often citizens feel pressed out of the structure by a political representatives and media.

The dissatisfaction of citizens with administrative services or public administration in general is just an indicator for government to increase the level of responsibility, efficiency and transparency. The good cooperation that citizens do with other citizens and their direct or indirect engagement in decision-making process also promote the level of responsibility in public administration. Citizens have to presume more liabilities, should collect information and take possession of what they have contributed in selecting that what has been offered to them.

Citizen’s control over the operations of public administration is a core necessity in every democracy. It cannot be attained when there is insufficient knowledge on the fit between what citizen’s desire and what governments offer (Vigoda, 2000). With citizen participation, formulated policies might be more realistically grounded in citizen preferences, the public might become more sympathetic evaluators of the tough decisions that government administrators have to make, and the improved support from the public might create a less divisive, combative populace to govern and regulate (Irvin &Stansbury, 1996).

The strongest and most articulate statement of the role of social knowledge for solving social problems is offered by Charles Lindblom in his seminal book “Inquiry and Change” (Lindblom, 1990). Lindblom argues that “social knowledge broadly understood, as the collective knowledge of experts, ordinary citizens, and public officials is needed to address contemporary social problems because scientific and expert knowledge alone is not sufficient”.

Roberts (2004) defines citizen participation as “the process by which members of a society (those not holding office or administrative positions in government) share power with public officials in making substantive decisions and in taking actions related to the community” Contemporary democracies require institutions that make citizens’ participation effective as well as institutions that make participation redundant (Olsen 2003b).

Citizens’ participation contributes to a number of improvements in decision-making process, including increasing the responsibility and transparency of government, advancing the quality of decisions and providing a wide variety of information. Therefore, public institutions should react in relation to citizen’s requirements through the creation of methods for hearing and considering the voice of citizens as a factor to transform the administration.

Modern administrative sciences should give a public client a special treatment, since the citizens requirements are considered as main elements on the process of decision-making. A citizen should be considered as intermediate and proactive part on the process of administrative reform, accordingly this new approach is an indicator of the new relationship that are constituted between the citizen and public administration.

6. Conclusion

This paper aimed to analyze the factors affecting the transformation of administrative activities toward more advanced, efficient, effective and transparent public administration.

This paper aimed to show that internal and external control is a key factor toward transformation in Public Administration in order to evaluate the government’s activities regarding the achievement of objectives, transparency and efficiency. Internal and external control also plays relevant role in order to asses if administrative authorities are acting in an independent way without any interference, and in harmony with the principle of constitutionality and legality.

Standard overseeing of the public administration activity enables the government to accomplish its goals. Getting results in transformation of public administration requires the governments to guide and harmonize the implementation of a clear generally reform vision, through separation of responsibilities of the authorities involved in this process. Experienced and professional public officials who have expertise and knowledge on analyzing, planning and coordinating should guide this process.

Public administration is a symbol of good governance through the process of transformation of administrative services. The good governance requires efficient, effective and more transparent public administration that can be achieved through public officials able on planning, organizing, coordinating and managing the administrative activities.

Administrative laws and other acts should not disregard the new developments in public administration and new dimensions in the relationship between citizens and the state. Administrative legislations should try to fulfill all the gaps and harmful effects that administrative mistakes have caused to the citizens. New administrative legislations should clearly define principles of good administration that are adjusted to the different situations that take place in relations between government and the citizen. On the other hand, the administrative legislations should foreseen different remedies to be applied in case those principles are breached, in order to handle a customer as a priority, and not prolong the administrative procedures.

While analyzing the administrative legislations we can conclude that citizens consider that laws and administrative acts are complicated and are not in harmony with social developments, therefore there is a little of awareness given to the implementation of such legal provisions.

One of the basic elements for transformation of government is considered the monitoring process on the implementation of European standards on the administrative legislations. Transformation of administration involves the implementation of administrative legislations and administrative acts that should be adopted in harmony with European Union standards.

New administrative sciences are considered as a good solution to modernize and transform the public administration by increasing the efficiency, improving the service delivery to the citizens and advancing the capacity building in the organization. The modern administrative science should be guide to challenge and change the role and concept of public administration from bureaucratic and traditional way of service delivery, to a new model of administration through measuring the efficiency, performance and quality of administrative services and activities.

Public Administration has undergone lot of transformations by modernizing and computerizing its procedures and public services. Use of Information Communication technologies (ICT) is a good opportunity and potential to support these transformations and developments. Uses of ICT enable the simplification of administrative procedures, improvement and modernization of capacity building and enhance the relations between citizens and public administration.

As part of transformation in public administration are considered citizens as well as a good factor to influence decision making in public sector. However, in most of the countries the citizens are skeptic in relation to their participation in the decision-making processes, since they consider the process of transformation in public administration as less effective and irrational. In this regard, citizens feel that they do not have a saying in the problems that affects them directly or indirectly.

Therefore, I can conclude that it is of utmost importance to enhance the participation and involvement of community in the public administration activity in order to facilitate the process of transformation in public sector.

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1 Associated Professor, PhD, Law Faculty, Prishtina University, Kosovo, Address: Prishtina 10000, Kosovo, Corresponding author:

AUDJ, vol. 12, no. 3/2016, pp. 31-43


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