MEX 2501 Theory and Practice of Public Administration

Course Code MEX 2501
Course Title Theory and Practice of Public Administration
Number of Credits 05
Year Number 01
Medium of Instruction Sinhala / English

The majority of working community is deprived to make a noteworthy contribution to the society due to inadequacy of theoretical knowledge, which contributes to poor organizational performance in the public service in particular. Thus, this introductory course of public administration is designed to introduce various central concepts and theories of the field, and its applications into public administration system in Sri Lanka while creating environment to enhance required administrative skills. Therefore, the course would help to fill this gap, and this would facilitate them to develop academically into mature individuals who would contribute greatly to any administrative segment of the government.

a) To enhance basic knowledge of the field of Public Administration.
b) To motivate students to expand their horizons in relation to the application of such theoretical knowledge into Public Administration System in Sri Lanka.
c) To improve their administrative skills to be efficient and effective administrators.

After completing this module, students will have;
a) Comprehended clearly the main theoretical aspects of the field of Public Administration.
b) Analyzed and demonstrated clearly the application of such theories into practical aspects.
c) Become aware of the public administrative mechanism in Sri Lanka.
d) Improved their administrative skills to become efficient and effective administrators.



No. of Hours
Main Topics Sub Topics  
a)   Introduction to Public   Administration 1.1  Background of Public Administration

1.2  Defining “Administration”

1.3  Defining “Public Administration”

1.4  The Dichotomy of Public and Private Administration

1.5  Scope of Public Administration

1.6  Role of Public Administration

07 hrs & 30 Min.
b)  Evolution of  Public     Administration as a discipline 2.1  Paradigm 1 :  The Politics Administration Dichotomy

2.2  Paradigm 2 :  The principles of Administration

2.3  Paradigm 3 :  Public Administration as political science

2.4  Paradigm 4 :  Public Administration as Administration Science

2.5  Paradigm 5 :  Public Administration as Public


2.6 Paradigm 6 :  New public Management and Beyond

07 hrs & 30 Min.
c)  Introduction to Public Policy 3.1  Introduction – Definitions

3.2  Reasons for studying Public Policy

3.3  Policy Making and its environment

3.4  Public Policy making process

3.5  Role of Public Administrators in Public Policy Field


07 hrs & 30 Min.
d)  Bureaucracy 4.1  Introduction to the Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy

4.2  Definitions of bureaucracy

4.3  Characteristics of  bureaucracy

4.4  Positive aspects of  bureaucracy

4.5  Negative aspects of  bureaucracy

4.6  Bureaucracy and Development

07 hrs & 30 Min.
e)  Evolution of Public Administrative System in Sri Lanka 5.1  Administrative organizations of Sri Lanka from 1928 to 1947

5.2  Administrative organizations of Sri Lanka from 1947 to 1972

5.3  Administrative organizations of Sri Lanka from 1972 to 1977

5.4  Administrative organizations of Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1987

5.5  Administrative organizations of Sri Lanka from 1987

07 hrs & 30 Min
f)  Administrative structure of government of Sri Lanka 6.1  Levels of government in Sri Lanka : Political Basis

–       Central Government

–       Provincial Councils

–       Local Governments

6.2  Levels of government in Sri Lanka : Administrative Basis

–       National Level

–       District Level

–       Divisional Level

–       Grassroots Level

07 hrs & 30 Min
g) Public Service in Sri Lanka 7.1  Introduction to public service in Sri Lanka

7.2  Historical aspects of public service in Sri Lanka

7.3 Public service

Chapter IX of the constitution of Democratic,     socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (1978 constitution)

07 hrs & 30 Min
h)  Control and Accountability in Public Service (Sri Lankan context) 8.1  Meaning of Control

8.2 Types of Control

–       Internal Means of Control

–       External Means of Control

8.3  Meaning of Accountability

8.4  Types of Accountability

–       Political Accountability

–       Administrative Accountability

–       Financial Accountability

–       Public Accountability

07 hrs & 30 Min
I)  Introduction to Comparative Public Administration 9.1  Meaning of Comparative Public Administration

9.2  Importance of Comparative Public Administration

9.3 Analytical levels of Comparative Public   Administration

07 hrs & 30 Min
J)  Introduction to Public Management 10.1Defining “Public Management”

10.2Characteristics of Public Management

10.3 Reasons to move from Public Administration to Public Management

07 hrs & 30 Min
Mode of Study Self – Study and Seminars
Evaluation    Final Examination (100%)

a) Basu, R., 2005. Public Administration: Concepts and Theories. 4th ed. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
b) Bhagwan, V. and Bhushan, V., 2009. Public Administration. New Delhi: S. Chand & Company Ltd.
c) Nigro, FA. and Nigro, LG., 1989. Modern Public Administration. 7th ed. Harper Collins Publishers
d) Peters, BG. and Pierre, J., 2003. A Handbook on Public Administration. Sage Publication Ltd, London.
e) Rao, CNS., 2006. Max Weber and His Thoughts. In: Sociology. New Delhi: S. Chand & Company Ltd. Ch. 52.
f) Warnapala, WAS., 2009. Civil Service Administration in Ceylon. Colombo: Department of Education Publication