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Administrative Theory

Administrative Theory

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Published by Abhijit Jadhav
Public administration IGNOU study material.
Public administration IGNOU study material.

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Published by: Abhijit Jadhav on Nov 06, 2010
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Check Your Progress 1

1 See Sec. 18.2
2 See Sec. 18.3

Check Your Progress 2

1 See Sec. 18.4
2 See Sec. 18.5
3 See Sec. 18.6





19.0 0~jectives .
19.1 Introduction ..
19.2 ~en~ralistk

and Specialists


19.2.1 Relations between Generalists and Specialists

19.2.2 ~xpkriencc in U.K. and India

19.3 .'Anonymity
19.4 Commitment
19.5 Let Us sum Up
19.6 . ICiywords


19.7 some Useful Books


19.8 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises:


After studying this unit you should be able to:
* distinguish between generalists and slycialists and identify the problem areas in their

* explait] #he concept ~f anonymity; and
.* examine the concept of commitment.


You are aware that Public Administratioq.as an academic discipline,has( come into
existence with .themimportant pasr of Woodrow Wilson on the Study of'Administrafion.
Eversince a hukber of thedries; a'pproaches and concepts' in administiation have been ,.
developed. In recent'years, administration is increasin&'along with the growing. functions.
In fact, there has been'a changk in the very natuie,of the state which is .reflected in.'


increasing functions. whi6h the governmerits are' undertaking. Another manifistation in this
change is the rapid'gro~th of civil services.',~ou

.have seen in an earlier,unitfiow , -,
F.M. Marx has called the modem state as'an admini$trative..state thereby signifying4he


role the civil seivice or bureaucracy play in the.,hodem state. This expanSi6n in the
bureaucracy as well as"increased role in the governance. '' thrown out several issues. The
'problem of relations'between generalists aild specialkts,,cammitment and neutrality of
.civil services, anonymity; corruption, inefficiancy,'iepresentati'k charycter of the ,


bureaucracy, etc.,, are But a few issues. Intha previous unit we have discussed'about the
concept of representative biireaucracy and in this 'unit we will examine three ibi-tant
issues'of bureaucracy viz., relations between ger;eralists and specialists, concept of
anonymity and commitmeit of divi~ services. ,
.. .





. .



.! In modern timesthe functions of Public Administcation are becoming varied and complex
due to its new re~~onhbilities

as the executive organ of welfare state. Inmodem times,
particularly af.jer the First World War, the 'state has undertaken numerous functions like
relief to the unemployed; conduct of basic industries .like steel, rnachine'building, mining, .
nuclear energy, air transport, care of thcpersons suffering from deadly diseases like '
cancer, etc. To look after these and other diverse funktions .specialists are apeinled in
growing numbers in qublic Administration at various levels. The administrators,



particularly g'higher levels, are classified as generalists and specialists. Specialists are
those who have specialised in terms of their educatipn and experience in administration in
specific subjects or disciplines of study. Engineers, medical doctors, statisticians,
scientists, chemical technologists, computer programmers are some of the examples of

Generalists are not specialised in the course oftheir education and/or further training. An
entrant to the civil service might have graduated in literature or history. By virtue of his
graduation he is not specialised to be posted in'a particular department or job dealing with
a specific subject of Public Administration like agriculture, health, social welfare. He
might have graduated in Chemistry or Biology, but in his administrative career it is likely
that he does not perfonn duties in a department or a job concerned with a sector of Public
Administration mentioned above. ~Jwever, ifhe is offered aq administrative career
iqvolving supervision, control or direction per se and not connected in content with
administration of a science subject of his'specialisation, he would be a generalist. A
district collector by his education might be a scientist. engineer or historian, linguist or
social scientist. His duties are generalist in nature covering functions such as collection of
land revenue, maintenance of law and order, etc.

In any administrative institution as we go higher and higher in, the level of responsibility. -
functions become more and more generalist in nature. Even in technical departments.the
heads of the departnient are engaged in the ,generalist functions of policy-making, control
of the administrative machinery, direction, supervision and control of the employees,
coordination within and outside the organisation in his charge, and public relations. No
doubt these functions have substantial content of the subject matter of the respective
departments. The issue of generalists vis-a-vis specialists has come up in recent times for
discubsion and debate' on account of the organisation and responsibilities of their cadres or
classes in public or civil services. In the first place,they are organised in separate
hierarchies i.e., groups having supervisor-subordinate relations between various lewls.
Secondly. the tasks of policy-making. control of adm'inistrative machinery and
management at highest levels are assigned largely to th ': generalists in preference to the
specialists, barring few exceptions. Thirdly, generalists are moved from one department .to
another. one type d job to another, a department to a public enterprise or a local
government and 'back. without hindrance or obstacle. 'Thespecialists, on the other hand,
are transferred or promoted within their respective departments. Posts o%secretaries to
government deparfments and even of heads of most executive departments are reserved
for the generalists. This privileged position exercised by the generalists ha*a tendency to
offend the self image of the specialists, and in consequence, their morale and confidence.

The idea of the generalist civil service was based on three components: one, the entrants to
the civil service could occupy any post at higher levels of any of the executive (fidld)
departments and the secretariat of th'e government headquafiers with distinction yithout
inservice training. Two, they would advise the government ih policy-making, formulating
decisions-the basis of government's executive orders-operating the administrative
machinery, and putting the executive orders into effect. Three, the actual expert, tech~ical
advice in subjects like agriculture, heahh and medicine, forestry and so on, would be given
by the subject matter technical officers and scientists (the agricultural scientists, doctors,
forest officers, engineers, etc.) in the functional departments (agriculture, health and
medicine. etc.'). Such expert technical advice could be grasped and absorbed lnto policy
making and decision-making processes by the generalist civil sentants. Unlike in
other countries Such as France, in Britain and India the Secretariat departments in at the
government headquarters are headed by the generalist secretaries which areseparate from
the executive 'departments like industry, transport; home, agriculture, health and medicine,
education, industries, cooperatives, mostly headed by technical officers (but in few cases by '
the generalists).

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