Woodrow Wilson proposed the delineation of the politics from public administration and the need for private organizations to restriction from the political domain. In essence, Woodrow intended to improve the level of public administration by imposing a reliable framework for implementing an accountability system. He also envisioned the creation of efficiency in accomplishment of business operations and appointment of public officials based on their merit and training profile. To some extent, I agree with Woodrow Wilson’s proposition that accountability, performance, and efficiency should be upheld in the public administration sector; however, it is needed to acknowledge the role of politics in the running of public institutions.
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The dichotomy proposed by Woodrow Wilson could not be practically applied, because it contained a number of translation errors, which subsequently led to the misinterpretation of the initial European version. According to Martin (1988), when Wilson discovered flaws in his article, he did not make an effort to address these errors; instead, he chose to abandon it almost three years after he was appointed. This showed that in as much as the dichotomy could have been an important scholarly contribution in the domain of public administration, there were limits to which it could be applicable. In fact, Woodrow Wilson lacked a practical reference of elements that had been tested elsewhere to determine their effectiveness. Hence, I feel that Woodrow Wilson was merely trying to promote the European model of public administration, but he was unaware of the potential ideological problems, which could have also affected it at the beginning. Thus, Wilson could have taken time to incorporate the dynamism expressed in running of America’s public institutions and organizations.
Nevertheless, there are some benefits that could be accrued from using Woodrow Wilson’s dichotomy. First, similar to any field of study, the contemporary study of public administration deserves to be accompanied by literature that provides an alternative perspective for research purposes and for generating analytical perspectives. Second, the public administration is the most visible element of governance; hence, the involvement of critical authorities such as the executive makes the science of the administration imperative (Stillman, 2009). In this regard, Woodrow Wilson’s dichotomy provides an interesting perspective that can be used to provide information on the transitions that have taken place in the American society with regard to the administration. Thus, the dichotomy will help learners to understand the American public administration that was introduced, but never made it to the American literary domain.
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that could be experienced from using Woodrow Wilson’s dichotomy. First, critics, in the post World War II era, criticized Woodrow’s dichotomy on the basis that it lacked a stable and reliable scientific background (Pestritto, 2005). This implies that the very basis of its writing was not scientifically inspired; hence, using the dichotomy as reference to material would undermine the field. Second, Woodrow’s perspective identifies the extent to which the American civil service was destined to undergo political reforms (Rosenbloom, 2008). The suggestion that politics should be delineated from politics was hard to believe in given the fact that the founding fathers of the American Constitution drafted a document that protected American nation. Thus, limiting participation of politics in public administration would undermine the benefits of polite criticism.
In conclusion, to understand the public administration Woodrow’s dichotomy should be taken into account as a contribution material to the science even though there are flaws associated with it. Indeed, considering the tenets that inspired the American forefathers in writing the Constitution, Woodrow’s contribution deserves recognition.
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