Public administration is both an academic and a field of practice; the latter is depicted in the picture of US federal public servants at a meeting. Public administration is concerned with the implementation of government policy, and is an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil servants for working in the public service. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal... is to advance management and policies so that government can function." Some of the various definitions which have been offered for the term are: "the management of public programs" the "translation of politics into the reality that citizens see every day" and "the study of government decision making, the analysis of the policies themselves, the various inputs that have produced them, and the inputs necessary to produce alternative policies."
공공행정은 학술 및 실천 분야를 아우르는데, 후자(실천분야)는 미연방 공무원 회의에서 두드러지게 언급되었다.
공공 행정은 정부 정책의 수단(구현)과 관련되며, 정부정책을 구현하기 위하여 학술적(이론적) 훈련을 실시하고 정부정책을 잘 구현하기 위한 수단을 연구하여, 이를 바탕으로 공공서비스 업무에 종사할 공무원을 준비하는 것이다.