What is the role of public administration for domestic development?

In recent years, surges of innovation have fuelled rapid development in many parts of the world. Where this type of economic growth has been profound, it is those who have worked – and continue to serve - on the frontline of public services who are the driving force in effectively managing this type of change¹.

China, for example, has seen economic expansion on an enormous scale (growing by approximately 10 percent per year since the late 1970s)². It is the country’s public sector workforce - who have tirelessly supported urbanisation and changing industrial landscapes – who have helped to drive this country’s economy forward¹.

Those responsible for the delivery of public services can therefore help to shape domestic development with a balanced approach and ‘greater good’ in mind. We have been exploring how public services have changed domestically in recent years:

Forming new relationships between people and public services

The shift in governance in many parts of the world, from central management to a new kind of decentralised public service, has formed a redistribution of responsibility from traditional organisational structures to smaller, local groups. This has helped to increase both autonomy and participation for communities in wider society.

Whilst it is not always easy to implement, understanding the value of decentralisation can pay dividends:

“In a country like Nigeria, there is a great divide between the government and its citizens. Policies may not even be known to the majority of citizens and are only beneficial to a few. I want to have the knowledge and understanding to impact a positive change in public services” (Tosan Ozoro, current Online Masters of Public Administration student).

Creating positive public sector leaders

Decentralisation has continued to rise with the introduction of elected mayors; the appointment of a publicly-known, local figure to help increase accountability and trust in public service, giving local authorities an identity which communities can relate to.

Recommended read: Placing ethics at the heart of public sector leadership

Mayors also have the ability to use their experience of public office to help effect change. For example, Suh Byung-soo, the mayor of Busan in South Korea, focused spend on developing a city-wide push for ‘internationalisation’, ‘metropolitanisation’ and ‘balanced growth’³. This approach is helping to nurture neighbourhoods across the city and re-address the balance for citizens in all areas.

Including global perspectives

A recent growth in collaborative approaches between public administrators working across departments, agencies – and at different levels of government - has helped to ensure that societies can manage resources efficiently through development and also decline. Therefore, lessons learned in one country can benefit similar organisations in others. It is important to learn the theory and strategies that are best applied to the situation you face.

These learnings can illustrate the importance of an open worldview in relation to public administration, and can help to prepare you for a globally-aware public sector career.

Understanding the role of public administration for domestic development

Public services may differ depending on where you’re located, but you can still take steps to help make a positive impact and guide responsible development.

“We do a lot of case study analysis from across the world to enable students to learn from a wide catchment. Therefore, while an immediate example may not be relevant to the service a student might be managing at the time, some of the techniques will certainly transfer in the future” (Helen Hurford-Dawson, Senior Teaching Fellow).

Find out how our 100% Online Masters of Public Administration could help you to develop your public sector career by downloading our brochure for more information.


1. WANG, B. & CHEE, H. (2012) China’s public sector: a different way of working. The Guardian [online] Available at: < https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/blog/2012/jan/03/china-public-sector-leadership> [Accessed 28/02/2018]

2. UNKNOWN (2017) The World Bank In China. The World Bank [online] Available at: <http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/china/overview> [Accessed 08/02/2018]

3. SUK-YEE, J. (2017) Positive Momentums: Transformation of Busan City Leading Lots of Positive Effects on Regional Economy. Business Korea [online] Available at: <http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/english/news/national/18508-positive-momentums-transformation-busan-city-leading-lots-positive-effects> [Accessed 28/03/2018]

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