Nature of Public Administration


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

 
On the basis of the foregoing discussions, it is observed that these scholars of public administration have expressed two divergent views on the nature of public administration, namely, integral view and managerial view which are briefly discussed as follows:
 
(i) The integral view:
According to this view, public administration encompasses all the activities which are undertaken to accomplish the given objective. In other words, public administration is the sum total of managerial, technical, clerical and manual activities. Thus, administration, according to this view, constitutes the activities of all persons from top to bottom. L.D. White and Dimock subscribed to this view. Administration, according to this view, depends upon the subject matter of the concerned agency, that is, it differs from one sphere to another sphere.
 
(ii)  The Managerial View:
 
Public administration, in this context, encompasses only the managerial activities and not the technical, clerical and manual activities which are non-managerial in nature. Thus, administration, according to this view, constitutes the activities of only the top persons. Simon, Smithburg, Thompson and Luther Gulick adopt this view. Administration, according to this view, is same in all the spheres as the managerial techniques are same in all the fields of activities.
 
Luther Gulick says, “Administration is conceived as the necessary activities of individuals (executives) in an organisation who are charged with ordering, forwarding and facilitating the associated efforts of a group of individuals brought together to realize certain defined purposes.”
 
Similarly, Simon, Smithburg and Thompson write: “The term „administration‟ is also used in a narrow sense to refer to those patterns of behaviours that are common to many kinds of cooperating groups; and that do not depend upon either the specific goals towards which they are cooperating or the specific technological methods used to attain these goals.”
  
The two views differs from each other in many ways. According to Prof. M.P. Sharma the difference between the two views is fundamental. The integral view includes the activities of all the persons engaged in administration whereas the managerial view restricts itself only to the activities of the few persons at the top. The integral view depicts all types of activities from manual to managerial, from nontechnical to technical whereas the managerial view takes into account only the managerial activities in an organisation. Furthermore, administration, according to the integral view would differ from one sphere to another depending upon the subject matter, but whereas that will not be the case according to the managerial point of view because the managerial view is identified with the managerial techniques common to all the fields of administration.
 
The difference between the two views relates to the difference between management and operation or we may say between getting things done and doing things. The correct meaning of the term administration would however, depend upon the context in which it is used. Dimock, Dimock and Koening sum up in the following words:
 
“As a study public administration examines every aspect of government’s efforts to discharge the laws and to give effect to public policy; as a process, it is all the steps taken between the time an enforcement agency assumes jurisdiction and the last break is placed (but includes also that agency’s participation, if any, in the formulation of the programme in the first place); and as a vocation, it is organising and directing the activities of others in a public agency.”
 
However, neither the integral view nor the managerial view is without any flaws. The correct meaning of the word „administration‟ would depend upon the context in which it is applied. M.E. Dimock, G.O. Dimock and L.W. Koening have summarized the position in this way:

“As a study, public administration examines every aspect of government‟s efforts to discharge the laws and to give effect to public policy; as a process, it is all the steps taken between the time an enforcement agency assumes a jurisdiction and the last brick is placed (but includes also the agency’s participation, if any, in the formulation of the programme in the first place); and, as a vocation, it is organizing and directing the activities of others in a public agency.” They further observed: “In developing countries like India, public administration has to be studied with the integral approach as 90 per cent of the work originating at the clerical level is okayed at the top level – that is why the clerk or babu is considered as the kingpin of Indian administration.”




Sunday, 28th Jul 2019, 02:47:30 PM

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