Is Public Administration A Science Or Art?

Although public administration is an intellectual discussion, it has a practical significance. But the question is: is public administration a science or art?

In most countries, including India, public administration has not been well regarded as a separate subject of study. It was born and raised in the United States. That’s why it’s interesting to discuss in that country.

But looking at Great Britain, it can be seen that although it is a separate subject in different universities, it is not very popular among the students.

In most universities in India, it is taught as part of political science. It has not gained popularity as a separate subject at any of the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Although there was an institution called the Indian Institute of Public Administration in the national store and a regular magazine called the Indian Journal of Public Administration was published from there, the subject of public administration did not become as popular as other branches of sociology.

It is evident that those who are directly involved in public administration i.e. bureaucracy, although its size is large, the number of those who have taken the subject as instructive is less.

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Is Public Administration A Science or Art?

The division reminds us that public administration can be understood from two angles. One is its intellectual aspect or its science aspect and the other is his practical aspect or his art aspect.

Science in the broadest sense refers to a specialized knowledge. Naturally, it can be said that judging from that point of view, public administration is a kind of science. But science does not just mean special knowledge.

Science or scientific subject refers to a subject or a kind of knowledge practice which has a specific scientific method at its core. The scientific method has three main components. These are-

  • Observations
  • Data collection, and
  • Testing

Scientific laws are based on these three. And it has universal applicability.

The author of the article that marks the beginning of public administration is Woodrow Wilson. In his book ‘The Study of Administration’, he called public administration a Science of Administration. Later, in 1937, Luther Gullick and Lyndall Urwick wrote a famous book in the title of ‘Papers on the science of administration’.

All these writers have mentioned some of the principles of making public administration scientific. But how universal these principles is doubtful.

In fact, it is not possible to apply the scientific method clearly in any field of social science. It has not been possible to create universal principles. Because those who are involved in the work of administration, they are human beings who apply intelligence, consideration, and reasoning.

Culture, environment, geographical area, political system, economic structure, group life bring different perspectives and thinking power among the people so that it is not possible to give any theory of administration which can be applied with such success all over the world.


So, Public Administration is an Art and Science as well. It stands for the process or activity of administering governmental affairs.

 It is more practical than theoretical. That’s why it is, therefore, better to identify public administration as an Art. Although it is undoubtedly a specialized knowledge and in that sense it is science.

Let me share with you what you have learned from globalization “Is Public Administration A Science or Art?

Write your openion on this topic in comment section below.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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