Argument in Favour of Politic-Administration Dichotomy

In 1887, Woodrow Wilson a professor of political science and one time America President published an essay titled the study of administration. In the essay he advocated for a separate, independent and systematic study of public administration.

He stated that why politics is concerned with policy making, administration is concerned with policy implementation.

Hence in his opinion, administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics because administrative question are not political questions.

In support of the politic-administration dichotomy, Frank Goodnow in his book titled politic and administration published in 1900 made a clear distinction between the two roles of government namely politics and administration.

He stated that politics has to do with the expression of the wills of the society whereas administration has to do with the execution of those wills. 

In the word s of John Pfiffner, he said that politic should stick to its policy determining function and should leaves administration to apply it technical process free from political interference.

W.F Willoughby in his own opinion suggested that since politics deals with policy making and administration concerned with policy implementation, therefore, public administration should be classified as the fourth organ of government.


Politic-administration dichotomy has been criticized by some experts in public administration. Some scholars argue that administration cannot be separated from politic because of it political nature and political role.

Thus, administration is not only concerned with policy implementation but plays a major role in policy formulation which is the major functions of politics. Hence, there is no basis for the separation.

Some other argue that policy making is not only a product of long-run problems facing the society instead policies are made by day to day decision often made on an ad hock basis and usually done by public administration than the amateur political executive.

Ademolekun opined (1998) that both politic and administration jointly participate in policy making and policy implementation.

Pfiffner maintained that politics and administration cannot be separated but one should not encroach on the other in a meddlesome manner advising that administrative personnel should abstain from political controversy while political executive should keep their hand away from administration.

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