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Research Article
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Role of Political Science and Sociology on the Study of Public Management

Asfika Sultana
Saudian Review of Financial Technology and Management Studies. 2020, 1(1), 1-6. DOI: 10.12691/srftms-1-1-1
Received September 20, 2020; Revised October 22, 2020; Accepted October 29, 2020

Abstract

Public management is a multidisciplinary subject, and many social and natural science subject knowledge is of some significance and value to the research and development of its subject. Because public management is born in the soil of political science, and society is the main object of influence, it is proposed to choose the two major departments of political science and sociology and public management for comparative study. On the basis of accurately defining the concepts of public management, political science and sociology, this paper introduces the main research methods, perspectives and research methods of the three disciplines, and after discussing the differences and links between political science, sociology and public management, it is concluded that the construction of public management disciplines cannot be separated from the theoretical contributions of other disciplines, and that public management disciplines should learn more from the research methods of political science and sociology to improve the development of the disciplines themselves.

1. Introduction

Public management is a cross-disciplinary interdisciplinary subject involving the basic knowledge of political science, law, economics, management, sociology and other multidisciplinary professions 1, which was developed in the 1970s on the basis of the inheritance and criticism of traditional public administration 2. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of public management, the subject knowledge of many social sciences 3 and natural sciences is of some significance and value to the research and development of their disciplines 4. In view of the fact that public management is born in the soil of political science and has society as the main object of influence. This paper intends to select the two major departments of political science and sociology. As the research object, the significance and value of the two university departments to the study of public management disciplines are on the basis of combing the definition of disciplines, and also the main branches of subject research and research methods 5.

Public management is a new mode of public sector management based on the reflection and criticism of the inefficiency 6, slow response and inability to reflect the political value of public in the 1970s 7. Scholars who advocate the concept of public administration believe that the rise of the welfare state model in the Western world after the Second World War has largely led to the expansion of the size of government and the wanton expansion of the role of government, which has aroused strong public dissatisfaction 8. Western societies, where liberalism prevails, can't stand too much government interference in the market and people's lives, and the inefficiency of bureaucratic government agencies makes people less satisfied with the government 9. In this context, a considerable number of public administration scholars try to combine the normative orientation of traditional public administration with the tool orientation of general management 10, thus developing a new way different from traditional public administration 11.

Since the 1970s, the use of the term public administration in academic circles (especially in the West) has been very common, but the academic circles have not given a precise definition of the connotation of public management 12. Scholars believe that public administration is the product of combining the normative orientation of traditional public administration with the tool orientation of general management 13. According to Owen E. Hughes, management is a broader area than administration: "Public administration is an activity that serves the public, and civil servants implement policies that output in other ways." It focuses on procedures and translates policies into action and agency management 14. Management includes administration, but at the same time means achieving organizational goals and responsibility for results with maximum efficiency. The focus of public administration is on process, procedure and sequentially, and public administration includes more. Public managers not only follow instructions, but also focus on the responsibility of achieving results and failure to achieve them. Each scholar has different definitions of public management because of the different angles of the research problems and the different times and social backgrounds 15. Zhang Chengfu, a well-known scholar in China, defines public management as" after combining the different research results of domestic and foreign scholars on public management in his book "Public Administration": "The public sector with the government as its core integrates the various forces of society, widely uses the political, economic, management and legal methods, strengthens the government's governance ability 16, enhances the performance of the government 17 and the quality of public services 18, so as to achieve public welfare and public interest", this paper agrees with this definition 19.

According to the above definition of the concept of public management, we think that public management is the extensive use of political, economic, management, law and other disciplines of knowledge, research the government as the core of the public sector how to better integrate social forces to enhance the ability of government governance. Thereby, improving the performance of government and public service quality, and then maintain and enhance the public interest of society, enhance the basis of government legitimacy. As a comprehensive discipline based on the cross-knowledge of various basic social disciplines, the construction and perfection of public management disciplines can certainly be separated from the nourishment and support of other disciplines such as politics, history, medicine, biology, society, law and so on. The development of public management disciplines is based on drawing on the knowledge of various disciplines.

2. Methodology

A qualitative approach has been adopted in this study. Content analysis under qualitative approach has been followed to reach the objectives of the study. Secondary data have been collected from published articles, books, book chapters, working papers and reports of various organizations. An argument basis approach has been followed to present the findings. This study has tried to mention all latest information regarding the issues of study.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Relationship between Politics, Political Science and Sociology

The definition of politics varies between ancient and modern China and foreign countries. The ancient political view of our country judged politics as a way of governing the country. The most far-reaching influence is Confucius's political institution: Confucius said in the talk of sub-road, to be the right name for politics first, which means that political activities should first seek from the speculation of every member of society should follow the code of conduct 20.

In the former capitalist society in the West, due to the influence of Christian culture, people generally agree that "the god of power" and think that politics is God's arrangement of the order of the world. As people escaped from their superstitions about religious ignorance and began to see the world with the human eye, realist politicians, represented by Machiavelli, suggested that politics was the struggle and hold of power and regarded power as "the foundation of all institutions and laws of the state". Scholars such as Max Weber in the industrial society think that politics is the general name of all government activities. The political view of Marxism, which has influenced greatly since modern times, holds that "politics is the struggle among classes" and "politics is to participate in the affairs of the state 21, to set the direction for the state, and to determine the form, task and content of state activities". Specifically, politics is the old class to the state power to maintain the struggle with the emerging class to the state power, politics is the state power as the core of a series of behavior activities.

From this point of view, although the ancient and modern Chinese and foreign understanding of politics is different, but most politicians and scholars of the definition of politics cannot be separated from the "state power." On the basis of summing up the previous views and the theology, "the activities of people around public power and the authoritative distribution of resources carried out by the government in the use of public power". It can be learned from this definition that politics is power-centered, and its primary purpose is to maintain social stability through the authoritative distribution of social resources 22.

Political science, as the name implies, is the study of politics. According to the definition of the nature of politics, "political science is the science of studying the form and operation of public power". In view of the different emphasis of scholars on political science, political science has two main attributes: normative and scientific. The former focuses on the political value norms, such as political philosophy, from the point of view of speculation 23, while the latter mainly uses the collection and analysis of data for the purpose of drawing conclusions and predictions, in an attempt to systematically summarize the general laws of politics, such as institutionalism 24, behavioral science, and so on. The main branches of political science are: political theory and methodology.

In the 19th century, Augustus Conde proposed to apply the precise quantitative research methods of natural science to the study of social sciences, thus transforming social disciplines from the stage of social sciences, which led to the birth of sociology. In the most general sense, sociology is a study of society, a study of society. Sociological theory holds that human beings are social animals, and all people live in complex social relations between people, and sociology is the study of this complex social relationship and the various social problems it produces 25. Sociology studies the interrelations between various fields of social life and the organic whole formed by such interrelations. "Specifically, sociology is a comprehensive social discipline that studies the various components of society and their interrelations as a whole, and discusses the occurrence, development and laws of society".

Compared with the specific social sciences such as political science, economics and law, sociology has the following characteristics: First, sociology is the study of social whole as the object of research. From the perspective of sociology, human society is an organic and unified whole, only with the overall thinking can we fully, systematically and scientifically aware of the links between the various components of society and various social special phenomena. Secondly, sociology is a comprehensive subject. Because society is a multi-level, multi-disciplinary and multi-structure complex network, sociology with society as the main research object must also have the nature of a comprehensive discipline 26. Sociology always chooses to study social problems in a comprehensive way, and sociology often habitually uses a variety of research methods (various social science research methods, sometimes even natural science research methods) to carry out problem research. Finally, sociology is scientific. Sociology is scientific because it often uses scientific research methods combining qualitative and quantitative (e.g., quantitative and quantitative methods, econometrically related research methods, etc.) to conduct research, which is different from traditional social sciences based on qualitative research 27. The main branches of sociology are: ethnic sociology based on the study of the special social culture and social structure of the nation; Rural sociology, which focuses on the study of rural social structure and the law of rural social development, and so on.

3.2. Research Approaches in Public Administration, Political Science and Sociology
3.2.1. Public Management: Research Approaches, and Perspectives

As an independent subject area of public management, in the course of its development, because of the scholars' research interest field and research orientation there are obvious differences, so the development of two main research ways: public policy approach and enterprise management approach. The researchers under the public policy approach attach great importance to the political aspects of public management, and think that public management must be related to the formation and formulation of public policy, and must discuss public policy from the perspective of management in order to achieve the policy objectives 28. Public policy research approach pays more attention to quantitative policy analysis, and also attaches great importance to the experience of fact workers as research material.

Unlike the way of public policy research, the research approach of enterprise management is seriously influenced by the trend of management thinking, and focuses on the study of the mechanism and management approach of public sector internal management. In the view of scholars in the research approach of enterprise management, the differences between the public and private sectors are not important, and successful management experience, theories and tools in enterprises can also be applied to public organizations 29. Compared with the research approach of public policy, the scholars of the research approach of enterprise management do not pay much attention to case and empirical research, but pay more attention to the construction of theory and are good at "drawing useful theories, techniques and methods from different academic fields".

From the traditional public administration to the development and evolution of public management, its research perspective is constantly changing. The research focus of traditional public administration is how to avoid the administrative corruption caused by politics and administration, and pay attention to the process and mechanism of policy implementation by administrative organizations and bureaucrats 30. While studying the improvement of government efficiency and outsourcing of government services, the new public administration focuses on the study of government organizations, public utilities and quasi-public sectors, as well as the relationship between government and customers (citizens). With the development of democratic institutions and the diversified trend of governance in various countries, public management pays more attention to the study of the different roles played by government, non-governmental organizations and people in public administration, the study of the interaction between the three, the study of the dynamic change of the relationship between the three and the role, and so on. The main research methods of public management are: case study method, experience summary method, thinking method, quantitative analysis method, qualitative analysis method and interdisciplinary research method.


3.2.2. Political Science: Research Methods, and Perspectives

There are many ways to study contemporary political science, but there are three main ways to influence: behaviorism research approach, rational selectivism research approach and new institutionalism research approach. The research approach of behaviorism advocates paying attention to the study of individual behavior and refusing to study the whole organization, the use of scientific quantitative research methods to study political phenomena 31, favoring the use of various questionnaires, interviews, sampling and other scientific research methods 32. The idea of breaking the artificial boundaries between different social disciplines 33, focusing on the study of political phenomena from the research perspective of sociology, economics and other disciplines, and finally, "behavioral research advocates 'value removal' or 'value neutrality'." Rational selectivism research approach is based on individualism methodology, based on Smith's "economic man" theory hypothesis, to study how the individual choices made by individuals driven by interests under the calculation of interests affect political decision-making 16. The research approach of rational selectivism can be further subdivided into: social choice theory, collective action theory and public choice theory 17. On the basis of the research approach of behaviorism and rational selectivism, the third main research way of political science, the new institutionalism research approach, can be subdivided into the historical institutionalism research approach and the rational choice institutionalism research approach 34. Starting from the historical change of the research system, the former explores "the influence of the state, government or other organization on the behavior of human beings in the change of the system", while the latter focuses on the influence of the system on the political behavior of the "economic man" of rational calculation, especially the voting behavior 35.

There are also differences in perspective between different ways of studying political science. Behaviorism and rational selectivism pay attention to the study of individual behavior, and think that government agencies are a collection of individuals, so collective behavior can be explained as long as individual individual behavior preferences and factors affecting individual choice are studied clearly. The new institutionalism is biased towards the study of the system, and holds that some individual behaviors which cannot be explained by behaviorism and rational selectivism can be found through institutional research 36. In addition, political science also focuses on the study of the relationship between individual rights and State power, as well as on the rule of law and democracy. The main research methods of political science are qualitative analysis, case study and experience summary, and so on 37.


3.2.3. Sociology: Research Approaches, and Perspectives

At the beginning of the development of sociology, Conde-Tuergan and Weber opened up two different ways of sociological research, the empirical methodology and the anti-empirical methodology 32. "Empiricalism holds that social phenomena have their objective laws, so the sociological hypothesis should be tested by empirical facts, and the causal laws between social phenomena should be discovered by quantitative analysis." In the view of empiricalism, sociology is not fundamentally different from natural science in terms of theoretical construction, evidence collection, data analysis and theoretical testing, and also pays more attention to the role of quantitative research. Therefore, empiricalism pays more attention to sampling survey, questionnaire survey, experiment and other research methods.

"Anti-empiricalism holds that social phenomena are fundamentally different from natural phenomena in nature because they are artificially given 'meaning' by social actors and therefore cannot be studied entirely by means of natural science." The research path does not pay as much attention to the important role of quantitative research methods as to the empiricalism, it pays more attention to the investigation of the special significance reflected behind the social phenomena. In the research method, more attention is paid to the method of in-depth interview, participation observation and historical comparative research with a low degree of quantification. Sociology has a macro perspective because of the grandness of its research object range. There are three main theoretical research perspectives in sociology: first, structural functionalism, which focuses on the dynamic study of the social functions of the various parts that make up the whole society 38.

3.3. Relationship between Political Science and Sociology-related Research and Public Management
3.3.1. Political science and Public Administration: Distinction and Connection

Political science and public management have different conceptual connotations and extensions, and the difference between the two is obvious. Public management is born out of the mother of political science, is with the complex evolution of society and the differentiation of the functions of different organizational structures of society and the newly created discipline 39, which originated from Woodrow Wilson's "political administration divide." Political science, with state power as the research center, pays attention to the study of political consciousness, political system, political behavior and so on 40, and studies how to adjust the form of state power organization and restrict the state power to balance the relationship between social and state power 41. Then analyzes and discusses the rationality of the form of political power organization 42. Political science pays attention to the use of qualitative analysis and experience summary, while the main research object of public administration is the public sector, such as government and non-governmental organization 43. To study how to improve its operational efficiency and quality of work in order to better serve citizens, public management prefers qualitative research and quantitative research combined with research methods 44. It can be seen that there are great differences between political science and public administration in terms of research object, research focus and research methods 45.

Although there are many differences, but because public management is from the mainstream discipline of political science, there are many links between the two: First, both political science and public administration pay attention to the study of the regulation of power 46. Political science accurately defines the classification of power and the types of rights owned by citizens, and the ultimate purpose of political science research is to study what political values and forms of political organization can ensure that power and power are balanced and power serve rights, and public administration is also to study how to restrict bureaucratic power and how to make it most convenient for citizens to use individual rights. Secondly, both political science and public administration focus on discussing the relationship between government and society. Both political science and public administration advocate promoting the interaction between the state (government) and the general public. Third, both western political science and public management tend to study political phenomena and public management phenomena from the "economic man" human nature hypothesis, and set up the normative system from the "economic man" rational self-interested human nature hypothesis. Finally, both political science and public management have studied some public values.


3.3.2. Sociology and Public Administration: Differences and Connections

Compared with political science, sociology is more different from public administration. Sociology is different from public administration 47. Sociology pays attention to the study of social phenomena, which reveals the nature of social problems through the study of the complex social relations between people caused by communication 48, while public administration studies the mechanism of government operation and the interaction between government and society. Similarly, because of the object of study, sociology prefers research methods that are closer to real life, such as field surveys, questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Public management is different, case studies will also be used, but the discipline pays more attention to the normative study of management methods 49. Although there are essential discipline differences between sociology and public management, the research content of sociology provides a realistic description and theoretical basis for it to grasp the social structure, social status quo and existing social focus problem more accurately 50. At the same time, as an organization in society, the government's mode of operation and interaction with social people is also one of the research objects of sociology.

4. Conclusion

The various disciplines existing in academia are not separated by clear boundaries, and although the research perspectives are different, the research methods are different and the research fields are very different, they are inextricably linked to each other. Through the above analysis and discussion of the interrelation between political science, sociology and public management, we can see that the development of each discipline cannot be separated from the research results of other disciplines, and the various disciplines are mutually promoting common development. The research of public management also needs to absorb and draw on the relevant theoretical achievements of political science and sociology, and use its excellent research methods to optimize the research path of the subject and make it more perfect.

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Asfika Sultana. Role of Political Science and Sociology on the Study of Public Management. Saudian Review of Financial Technology and Management Studies. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2020, pp 1-6. http://pubs.sciepub.com/srftms/1/1/1
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Sultana, Asfika. "Role of Political Science and Sociology on the Study of Public Management." Saudian Review of Financial Technology and Management Studies 1.1 (2020): 1-6.
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Sultana, A. (2020). Role of Political Science and Sociology on the Study of Public Management. Saudian Review of Financial Technology and Management Studies, 1(1), 1-6.
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Sultana, Asfika. "Role of Political Science and Sociology on the Study of Public Management." Saudian Review of Financial Technology and Management Studies 1, no. 1 (2020): 1-6.
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[1]  Farazmand A (2012) The Future of Public Administration. Adm Soc 44:487-517.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Milakovich ME, Gordon GJ (2009) Public Administration in America, 10th ed. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 25 Thomson Place Boston, MA 02210 USA, Boston, MA 02210, USA.
In article      
 
[3]  Bučková J (2015) Knowledge Management in Public Administration Institutions. Procedia Econ Financ 34: 390-395.
In article      View Article
 
[4]  Zalmanovitch Y (2014) Don’t reinvent the wheel: the search for an identity for public administration. Int Rev Adm Sci 80: 808-826.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Wright BE, Manigault LJ, Black TR (2004) Quantitative Research Measurement in Public Administration. Adm Soc 35:747-764.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Sarker MNI, Yang B, Lv Y, et al (2020) Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience through Big Data. Int J Adv Comput Sci Appl 11:533-539.
In article      View Article
 
[7]  Waldt G van der (2014) Public administration teaching and interdisciplinarity. Teach Public Adm 32:169-193.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Spicer MW (2005) Determinism, social science, and public administration: Lessons from Isaiah Berlin. Am Rev Public Adm 35:256-269.
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