Despite their different roles, politics, administration and society are intertwined concepts as they all participate in the implementation of policy and the exercise of political power and accountability within society with the help of civil society and public administration.
There is a complex triangular relationship between politics, administration and society. Politics and administration are both critical components of democratic governance as well as elements of the process of policy formulation and implementation. However, they do not both relate to society in the same way (Peters & Pierre, 2012). Society, along with its varying components from citizens and organizations to private businesses, interacts with politics and administration for the better implementation of laws that seek to realize the common good and interests of the people.
The civil society and public administration often cooperate with each other to deliver better public services to other citizens; such is the case in continental Europe. The civil society is the sum of non-governmental institutes and organizations which manifest the will and interests of the citizens. It has a significant impact on the mobilization of resources and the democratic path. It provides the government with different sources of ideas, legitimization and feedback (Peters & Pierre, 2000). It also participates in the stimulation of the different members of society and helps them have a hand in determining their futures, lives and fate.
The public administration has an ever-changing role (Bouckaert & Pollitt, 2003). The level of centralization of the bureaucracy and the government policy making now vary from one country to another. However, all in all, following the introduction of the concept of decentralization, less power is granted in the center in comparison to the past. Another concept that is being introduced and developed is that of leadership expertise and how essential it is to provide better services to the public in order to attain the economic self-sufficiency it needs for more independence in their future operations.
The less centralized and less hierarchical system of the public administration has helped in the development of the latter especially after the participation of the civil society in influencing the government during the policy implementation.
Bouckaert, G. & Pollitt, C. (2003). Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Peters, B.G. & Pierre, J. (2000). ‘Citizens Versus the New Public Manager: The Problem of Mutual Empowerment’, Administration and Society, pp. 9–28.
Peters, B.G. & Pierre, J. (2012). Introduction : The Role of Public Administration in Governing. The Sage Book of Public Administration.