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Public Administration vs Management: What is the difference?

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It is not that surprising to hear many people mistakenly using the terms public administration vs management interchangeably. There is some overlap to the two disciplines but they each also make use of a completely different set of professional duties. Public Administration largely focuses on producing public policies and coordinating public programs. On the other hand, Public Management is a sub-discipline of this and involves very specifically conducting managerial activities in public organisations. Still feeling a little confused? No problem, let us take a deep-dive into each.

What is Public Administration?

Essentially this is a specialised field of political science that governs the planning, organising, direction, coordination and control of government, public and non-profit operations. You will often notice that public administrators have the authority to advise policymakers too, especially in terms of their observations of populations and society.

This profession is also key in coordinating civil servants to achieve policy objectives and to develop strong relationships between public and private groups. However, many different groups sometimes have competing objectives. This means that Public Administrators also need to hone their skills in mitigating conflict while engaging in policy-making.

What is Public Management?

While Public Administration relates mostly to the application of policies to oversee how management personnel should act, a public manager is concerned with planning and taking the action. They essentially are the professionals who will carry out the managerial operations of public organisations. Ideally, they should be improving the quality and efficiency of services provided by these entities to the public.

Most of these professionals are concerned with workflow in either the internal or external management of public organisations. Internally, they need to manage risk and change within these entities. Externally, they are expected to lead efforts in collaboration with private groups in order to support the adoption of public policy.

Career prospects

What are the future career outlooks in these types of fields? At the end of the day, graduates will have the opportunity to expand their practical knowledge and succeed in management or administrative positions in government or nonprofit organisations.

Educated Public Administrators may join the ranks of political scientists, city managers and similar professionals. On the other hand, educated Public Managers can consider developing capabilities as project managers, communicators, policy analysts and even financial minds. Want to know more about studying a Bachelor of Public Administration? Speak to one of our student advisors today!

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