Public Administration & Psychology


The Relationship Between Both Social Sciences

Psychology is the study of human behavior in society while public administration is the study of human action. As a social science, psychologyOpens in new window seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Psychology is the guide of Public AdministrationOpens in new window while it proceeds to frame a public policyOpens in new window. Action is motivated by a person’s psychological behavior. Thus, psychology and public administration are closely related.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the administrators did not attach importance to psychology. They considered man to be a rational animal whose behavior was based on intellect and reason. Later researches, however, proved that psychology has much contribution to make to the study of Public administration.

Human behavior is not as perfectly rational as administrators thought it to be. It is accepted now that man’s behavior is not based on reason alone. Instinct, emotions, imitation, etc., also play a huge role in man’s life. Thus, the administrators now adopt psychological outlook towards administration problems.

Impacts of Psychology on Public Administration

  1. Benefits from New Psychological Research — Today psychological researches are being conducted, and has prompted the questions: How does man behave in certain circumstances? How does man act in a group etc.? The results derived from these researches have benefited public administration which is very much concerned with human behavior. As administrators are increasingly faced with group activities on daily basis. An administrator has to play the role of a psychologist, otherwise he will prove a flop.
  1. Criminal Reform — Psychology has abolished the old policy of treating criminals with contempt and has developed a better technique of handling criminals, rather than punishing them severely, so that they may turn out to be better citizens in future.
  2. Psychological Outlook — It is a universal practice today that administrative system is a part of social system. So, to comprehend administrative problems, the psychological outlook is essential. Emphasis is not only laid on educational qualifications, but also on administrative leadership, morale, wisdom etc.
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