University of Akron (emeritus)
1. The occupational sector, enterprises, and activities having to do with the formulation and implementation of policy of governmental and other public programs and the management of organizations and activities involved. 2. The academic field concerned with the study of, improvement of, and training for the activities mentioned in 1.
Public administration refers to two distinguishable but closely related activities: (1) a professional practice (vocation, occupation, field of activity), and (2) an academic field which seeks to understand, develop, criticize, and improve that professional practice as well as to train individuals for that practice. The simple meaning of the term is quite direct: it refers on the one hand to the administration or management of matters which have principally to do with the society, polity, and its subparts which are not essentially private, familial, commercial, or individualistic, and on the other hand to the disciplined study of such matters. In this simplest meaning, public administration has to do with managing the realm of governmental and other public activities. This simple definition conveys the essence of public administration and probably covers the vast majority of activities and concerns of contemporary public administration.
Such a simple view, though, needs modification to account for at least two important considerations: First, it must be recognized that professional management of the public's affairs involves not only management in the narrowest sense (keeping the books, handling personnel decisions, implementing decisions which have been made elsewhere in the politico‐ socio-economic systems, etc.), but also significantly involves the planning, formulating, modifying, and urging of goals and purposes of much