Politics and Administration are distinct terms that find their use within a very similar setting. In many ways the two are interdependent yet distinct. Politics involves activities of decision making that either involve a huge group of people or involves their resources within the system of governance.
Administration, on the other hand, is the body that is responsible for the effective application of the policies made in the public interest. The administration is an activity within the bureaucratic system.
Politics and Administration work together for effective governance as they perform distinct roles.
Politics vs Administration
The main difference between Politics and Administration is that politics is essential before and during the drafting of policies while administration plays an important role after the policies are drafted.
It is important to note that the activities of administration must be independent of politics for smoother functioning. Some academicians believe that the nature of administration is very similar to business, although there is no production involved. Activities within Administration, are concerned with the management of resources. Unlike politics, opinions, debates and ideological dichotomies are not important in administration.
Comparison Table Between Politics and Administration (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Politics||Administration|
|Definition||The activities such as discussion, expression and policy drafting for the governance and allocation of resources are collectively called politics.||The body that is responsible for the implementation of the drafted policies is known as administration.|
|Nature||Conflict is an important characteristic nature of the conflict. It is a desired trait for better functioning.||Conflict in administration is not desired.|
|Relevant body||The legislative is responsible for the formation of political policies||The executive is responsible for the implementation of these policies.|
|Skill Required||It is more of an art, that enables leaders to satisfy people’s needs across constituencies.||It requires scientific skills of management and commitment.|
|Office Holders||People involved in politics are elected leader or representatives.||The administration is run by qualified individuals with some relevant skill to the filed they are working in.|
What is Politics?
The term politics combines a set of activities that are crucial for decision making in a group, particularly involving some form of power relations. Politics involves expression, discussion and debate. It is characterised by conflict. Conflict in politics strengthens the process of decision making.
The word Politics has multiple meanings with both positive and negative connotation. Politics involves methods of diplomacy, negotiation and often force. Politics can also be characterised by power dynamics. Opinions play a very important role in politics.
People can have different political aspirations depending on their ideologies and beliefs. This is nothing but one’s perception of utopia. Politics is not just limited to governments and bureaucratic structures. Politics can be in business organisations, in social structures such as families and tribes, and even in religious structures.
David Easton defined politics as ‘the authoritative allocation of resources.’ Good politics aims to generate an equitable distribution system for the collective growth of the society.
The term political finds it’s usage in the context of governance, however, it can be argued that it extends way beyond it. For e.g., Feminist ideas involve politicisation of ideas that otherwise may be considered apolitical. Hence it can be said that anything and everything that involve the use and abuse of power can be termed Politics.
It the context of a government, politics is the art of being elected and staying elected. The conflict of ideas in politics can be represented by different parties in modern democracies. The is politics between individuals, parties and even structures such as state and federations. However, it is important that the participating parties show some amount of cooperation in order to maintain an atmosphere that is political and not war-like.
In a government, politics has a very close association with ‘policy drafting’. It can be said that these policies are the tool through which politics can be exercised in an elected government. Politicians drafts policies to satisfy the need of their constituencies, for the development of the people and society as a whole.
What is Administration?
Administration is the process of administering or overseeing a body or an organization, usually somewhat big, like a government. It involves meticulous management and organization skills. The word administration can be applied to various situations like business, law etc. The history of public administration systems, date back to ancient civilisations in Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.
In the context of governance, Administration is the body dedicated to the implementation of rules and policies devised for public welfare. This form of administration can also be called public administration.
Like all forms of administration, public administration also focusses on the management of resources for the smooth functioning of the system. Public servants, usually non-elected individuals are responsible for the administration of government policies. The administration just like the legislative body may be divided into structures functioning at various levels for better implementation.
The allocation of resources for equitable development is one of the core competencies of public administration systems. This involves activities such as implementation, planning, organization, directing and coordinating.
Administration in a democracy is usually carried out by a body called executives. The executives’ function in close association with the legislation, working as advisory bodies, however, are apolitical in an ideal situation.
Main Differences Between Politics and Administration
- Politics includes activities of expression, discussion and debate for the purpose of devising Policies for public welfare while the administration is the body that is responsible for the implementation of these policies.
- Conflict is encouraged in politics as it improves the quality of work designated to politicians, however, conflict is the administration is like to hinder the functioning and effectiveness.
- Politics and political activities are carried out by parties or elected members, while the administration is done by non-elected public servants.
- The task of policy formation is overlooked by politicians, specifically legislative while, the executive is responsible for implementation and management.
- In politics, one must know how to draft inclusive policies and understand the requirements of people, while the administration is a scientific task of management and planning.
- Politics is driven by polar opinions and expression, while the administration is a hardcore management body.
Governments are constituted of various bodies that perform different functions. The bodies are interdependent yet distinct in many ways. Politics is the sum total of all activities that enable people to hold and exert power. Administration, on the other hand, is management and implementation.
Both the activities are equally important in a functioning government however the main difference between the two is that Politics is driven by opinion, expression and debate, whereas administration is run for smooth implementation of policies and equitable distribution of resources.