Public administration

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Edited by

Bidyut Chakrabarty

Mohit Bhattacharya






YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110 001

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dedicated to

our children in the

hope that the future

will be better-administered

vi vii


The volume seeks to present the readers and scholars in the discipline an integrated anthology of updated theoretical advances and key issues in Public Administration. As a social science, Public Administration has in recent times been evolving as a critique of administration in its bid to adjudge the discipline's coping ability in a fast changing scenario of proactive institutional mechanism and procedure. The authors were instinctively goaded by the desire to harness systematically the fruits of research and observations that would benefit scholars and researchers in the discipline. We are grateful for advice from many colleagues, as also quite a few authors who gave ready permission to include their contributions in the present volume. We look forward to receiving their comments from users and to update it in future in keeping with the growth of the discipline.

We are thankful to OUP for agreeing to our proposal.


Acknowledgment to Publishers

The publishers wish to thank the following for permission to include the articles/extracts in this volume:

Routledge and Kegan Paul for Nicos Mouzelis, The Ideal Type of Bureaucracy' in his Organisation and Bureaucracy: An Analysis of Modern Theories, 1975.

Indian Political Science Association for O.P. Dwivedi, William Graf, and J. Nef, Marxist Contributions to the Theory of Administrative State', in The Indian Journal of Political Science, 45(1), January-March 1985.

Indian Institute of Public Administration for V. Subramanian, 'Administration in the Eighties: Major Trends and Challenges', in Indian Journal of Public Administration XXVI (3), July-September 1980.

John Wiley and Sons for Richard Bately, 'The Consolidation of Structural Adjustment: Implications for Public Administration', in Public Administration and Development, vol. 14,1994.

Economic and Political Weekly for Niraja Gopal Jayal, The Governance Agenda: Making Democratic Government Dispensable', 22 February 1997 and N. Mukarji, 'Changeful Society and Changeless Governance', 15 July 1989.

Sage Publications Inc for Richard C. Box, 'Running Government like a Business: Implications for Public Administration Theory and Practice', in American Review of Public Administration, 29(1), March 1999.

Blackwell Publishing for Gerry Stoker, 'Governance as Theory: Five


Propositions' in International Social Science Journal (on Governance), March 1988.

University of Chicago Press for L.I. and S.H. Rudolph, The State and its Permanent Government', in In Pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State, 1987.

Sage Publications, India for Mohit Bhattacharya, 'Bureaucracy and Politics in India', in Zoya Hasan et al. (ed.), The State, Political Processes and Identity, 1989 and Kuldeep Mathur, 'Strengthening Bureaucracy: State and Development in India', in Indian Social Science Review, 1, 1, 1999.

x xi


Contributors xiii

Preface xv


Public Administration: Theory and Practice 1


1. Conceptual Development in the West 53

B.B. Mishra

2. The Ideal Type of Bureaucracy 88

Nicos P. Mouzelis

3. Riggs's 'Administrative Ecology' 101

Ramesh K. Arora

4. Marxist Contributions to the Theory of the Administrative State 133

O. P. Dwivedi, William Graf and J. Nef


5. Administration in the Eighties:

Major Trends and Challenges 155

V. Subramaniam

6. The Consolidation of Adjustment:

Implications for Public Administration 174

Richard Batley


7. The Governance Agenda:

Making Democratic Development Dispensable 197

Niraja Gopal Jayal

8. Governance as Theory: Five Propositions 215

Gerry Stoker

9. Running Government Like a Business:

Implications for Public Administration

Theory and Practice 231

Richard C. Box


10. The State and Its Permanent Government 265

L. I. and S. H. Rudolph

11. Civil Service: Continuity and Change 279

P.C. Alexander

12. Voluntary Associations and Development Imperatives:

The Indian Experience 295

Bidyut Chakrabarty

13. Bureaucracy and Politics in India 318

Mohit Bhattacharya

14. Bureaucracy at Crossroads 328

Madhav Godbole

15. Changeful Society and Changeless Governance 348

Nirmal Mukarji

16. Strengthening Bureaucracy: State and

Development in India 359

Kuldeep Mathur

17. Human Rights Dimensions of Public

Administration in India 382

Jaytilak Guha Roy

Annotated Bibliography 401

Index 418




Former Professor of History, University of Delhi, India


Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, UK


Professor of Public Administration, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India


Professor of Political Studies, University of Guelph, Canada


Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Guelph, Canada


Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Guelph, Canada


Former Visiting Professor, Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia


Reader of Development Administration, School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham, UK


Professor of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India



Professor of Political Science, University of Starthclyde, Glasgow, UK


Associate Professor of Public Administration, University of Nebraska-Omaha, USA


Professors of Political Science, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA


An Indian Administrative Service officer, former Governor of Maharashtra, India


Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi, India


Held the Centenary Chair of Public Administration, University of Calcutta, India and was also the Vice Chancellor, University of Burdwan, India


Former Home Secretary, Government of India


Former Cabinet Secretary, Government of India


Professor of Public Administration, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India.



The main purpose of writing this book is to compile a volume of articles/excerpts that are useful in comprehensively grasping the historical evolution of the discipline and its current manifestations. Given its emphasis on both historical and existential perspectives, this compilation is unique in its own right. Drawing on the analytical character of Public Administration as a discipline, this collection identifies new areas of research which is, so far, largely confined to description of the structures of administration without reference to their socio-economic and cultural roots. Since its primary concern is to critically understand the system of administration in its complexity, the volume revolves around two ideas: (a) to bring together major theoretical works in Public Administration and other related fields in Social Sciences without which the importance of Public Administration as an explanatory device shall highly be restricted; and (b) to test the validity of these theoretical premises in the context of India that itself is a microcosm of those decolonized countries, placed under similar socio-economic and political circumstances.

Intellectually, the Reader provides a very useful design underlining both the theoretical and descriptive aspects of the discipline of Public Administration; it is also certain to draw the attention of those interested in the growth and development of Public Administration as an independent subject. The substantive coverage in terms of bureaucratic structure and operation follows the conceptual paradigmatic presentations to illuminate bureaucratic operations and practices. Major theoretical advances in administrative theory since the Weberian formulation, having relevance for India and the 'third world' have been garnered together as a conceptual backdrop for subsequent discussions on the structure, processes and behaviour of bureaucracy.


It is true that Public Administration owes a great deal to the writings of Max Weber. The idea of 'an ideal form of organization' happens to be one of the most formidable concepts in Public Administration and the concept seems to be the guiding force in most of the post-Weber writings. Notwithstanding the theoretical significance of the Weberian ideal form of organization one tends to gloss over the complexity of modern bureaucracy if one accepts the concept uncritically. For instance is bureaucracy always a 'rational' instrument or an instrument without 'personality'? If it is the former, then bureaucracy is an institution and if it is the latter, then bureaucracy is merely a device. The Weberian conceptualization is, therefore, riddled with this kind of tension which is vivid and runs through in the writings of Max Weber.

The Reader has three parts—each with a distinct focus. Part one has articles on the theoretical advances in the discipline since Weber's formulation. While B.B. Mishra traces the origin of public administration in the complex evolution of the concept of bureaucracy in the European context, Nicos Mouzelis has identified unique features of authority and power in Weber's formulation of 'ideal form of organization'. Fred Riggs' conceptualization of 'administrative ecology' is a contextual formulation seeking to capture the rapidly changing 'third' world reality. Ramesh Arora provides a very lucid analysis of this model that has provoked new debates in the field of Public Administration. The article by O.P. Dwivedi and others is illustrative of a trend in public administration that draws upon Marx and the Marxist conceptualization of bureaucracy. Part two deals with the transformation of public administration in the context of changes ushered in by globalization. V. Subramaniam's paper is relevant because of its focus on what finally led to the growth of a new paradigm in public administration since the 1968 Minnowbrook conference. This is now clear that most of the changes in contemporary public administration had their roots in the 1980s when 'public' in public administration was being thoroughly redefined.

The selected pieces in Part two are thus directed towards unfolding the important dimensions of 'government in action'. An attempt has been made to bring out the theoretical contours of the widely publicized concept of 'governance' highlighting its wider connotation that is ordinarily associated with government. By locating governance in the neo-liberal agenda of the state, Niraja Gopal Jayal has dealt with the concept in a manner which is both intellectually refreshing and analytically challenging especially in the context of a


developing country, like India. Richard Box, in his theoretically stimulating article, focuses on the argument concerning the relative merit of privatization as a mechanism of development primarily in the context of developing nations. Richard Batley's article on the impact of structural adjustment on public administration in developing countries is theoretically most provocative since it has brought out the difficulty of the prevalent 'administrative state' of adjusting to an externally-induced direction. Gerry Stoker's article on governance is structured around five propositions underlining the significant dimensions of 'governance' as an approach to study public administration.

Part three is about the Indian public administration with reference to its growth taking into account both the colonial past and its aftermath. Beginning the discussion with the historical context in which founding fathers unanimously agreed to retain the 'steel frame' on practical considerations, the Rudolphs have laid the background of growth of bureaucracy in India that had a colonial past. This part contains those representative pieces which are useful in grasping the radical metamorphosis of public administration in India that is clearly different from her neighbours due to unique historical circumstances supportive of parliamentary democracy. Since there is a clear continuity given the inherent Weberian tendencies in Indian public administration it is difficult, if not impossible, to demarcate precisely the phases of the evolution of public administration in India. However, articles are clustered around a sequence that clearly shows the growing importance of specific themes and hence their significance in grasping the changes in public administration in contemporary India. P.C. Alexander traces the historical roots of Indian civil service while striving to grasp the 'continuity and change' in Indian bureaucracy. That the role of bureaucracy needs to be contextualized is what provokes Mohit Bhattacharya, Madhave Godbole and Kuldeep Mathur. By linking the constantly changing role of bureaucracy with the contemporary socio-political context of India, these authors have firmly established that public administration is generally ideological. N. Mukarji pursues the argument a little further by underlining the hiatus between the structure of governance that is largely stagnant and the society, which is constantly changing. The article on voluntary associations sheds light on the Indian experience of the role of voluntary organizations in development both as an instrument as well as a conceptual framework to understand the development process where the role of the state is pre-eminent. In his piece, Jaytilak


Guha Roy has brought out the human rights dimensions of public administration. It is an area that is increasingly becoming a significant part of Indian bureaucracy. This part is not at all exhaustive but given the limited space, we have selected those articles, which are clearly representative of the trends in today's public administration and are thus relevant in articulating its constantly changing nature in most of the developing countries where bureaucracy in the Weberian sense and form has flourished due to peculiar historical circumstances.


INTRODUCTION Public Administration

Theory and Practice

As an aspect of government activity, administration has been coexisting with every political system as the action part of government for the fulfillment of the objectives set by the political decision-makers. Functioning of the machineries of government has attracted the attention of scholars and observers since the time of recorded history. Kautilya's Arthasastra, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana contain many insightful observations about the organizations and working of government. In the history of western political thought, Aristotle's Politics and Machiavelli's The Prince are important contributions to both political and administrative issues and ideas.

Public Administration as a specialized academic field deals essentially with the machinery and procedures of government as these are used in the effective performance of government activities.1 Administration has been defined as a cooperative human effort toward achieving some common goals. Thus articulated, Public Administration can be found in various institutional settings like a business firm, a hospital, a university, a government department and so on. As an aspect of this more generic concept, Public Administration is that species of administration that operates within a specific political setting. It is a

1 Ernest Barker thus defines administration as 'the sum of persons and bodies who are engaged, under the direction of a government in discharging the ordinary public services which must be rendered daily if the system of law and duties and rights is to be duly served'. Ernest Barker, The Development of Public Services in Western Europe, 1660-1930, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 3.


means by which the policy decisions made by the political decision makers are carried out. In other words, it is 'the action part of government, the means by which the purposes and goals of government are realized'.2

The basic concerns of Public Administration as a field of study, therefore, include (a) structures of public organizations dealing mainly with the way the executive organizations are formed, readjusted and reformed, (b) administrative processes underlining the dynamic aspects of organization such as communication, control and decision-making, (c) bureaucratic behaviour with emphasis on the interpersonal and inter-group relationships in organizational settings and (d) organization-environment interactions covering the influential and meaningful relationships that are found to exist between Public Administration and its surrounding socio-political and economic milieu. The study of structures, processes and behaviour has been greatly facilitated by the emerging sub-discipline of organization theory. Its impact on Public Administration as an academic field has been considerable in recent times.3

The 'public' aspect of Public Administration4 lends special character to it. The adjective can be looked at formally to mean 'government'. So, Public Administration is government administration, the focus being specifically on public bureaucracy. This is the meaning commonly used in discussing Public Administration. What is crucial in Public Administration is that it is an agency of the public. Central to this approach is the idea of the public 'as an active participant in change, rather than as a passive and docile recipient of instructions or

2 John J. Corson and Joseph P. Harris, Public Administration in Modern Society, Mc-Graw Hill, New Delhi, 1963, p. 12.

3 Public Administration is not a study of the administrative structures in isolation, instead, it is a study in which the importance of the socio-political and economic background is sought to be assessed to grasp the nature and type of administration of a particular country. For details, see Ferrel Heady, Public Administration: A Comparative Perspective, Prentice-Hall, New Delhi, 1966.

4 Although 'public' constitutes an important dimension of Public Administration there is no standard definition of public. While dealing with this aspect, Dwight Waldo preferred to define 'public' in terms of such words as government and state, as is often done. An attempt to understand these words in turn leads to 'an inquiry into such legal and philosophical concepts as sovereignty, legitimacy and general welfare. Or, one might take quite a different empirical track and attempt to define "public" simply by the test of opinion. In a particular society what functions or activities are believed to be public?' Dwight Waldo, 'What is Public Administration?', in A. M. Willms and W. D. K. Kernaghan (eds), Public Administration in Canada: Selected Readings, Methuen, London, 1968, pp. 2-16.


of dispensed assistance'.5 The role of the public is significant since public policies are the articulation of priorities that emerge from social values and affirmations. 'Public' in Public Administration has also been expanded to include any administration that has considerable impact on the public. Hence, the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, though a private company, can easily be an appropriate theme for discussion in Public Administration. Given the growing complexity of Public Administration, its wider connotation serves a useful purpose. It would, therefore, not be proper to maintain the distinction between 'public' and 'private' as rigidly as it was construed earlier. In a situation in which 'public' is being appropriated for 'private' ends, the narrow meaning of 'public' is not adequate to explain the reality, shaped by the apparently not visible social forces and interests. Hence what is required, as Kuldeep Mathur argues, is the following:

an examination of the genesis of institutions of public administration because it reflects those social and political forces that dominate at a particular time. The effectiveness of achieving aims of public policy will depend on the motives of those groups or interests that brought these organizations into being. This perspective demands that we look beyond the boundaries of organization and take into account wider societal forces which give rise to specific interests that lead to the establishment of organizations.6

Research on rural power structure in India has, for instance, demonstrated how 'public' resources have in many instances been used for 'private' purposes and the local institutions like the panchayats and cooperatives have been captured by the rural power elites. In such circumstances, the public administrative systems remain more a legal facade since in reality the system is manipulated to promote private interests. The study of Public Administration will therefore remain exclusively institutional and formalistic unless these 'hidden, behind-the-scene social forces and interests are laid bare to reveal the real nature of the administration'.7

5 Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2000, p. 281.

6 Kuldeep Mathur, 'Whither Public Administration', in Kuldeep Mathur (ed.), A Survey of Research in Public Administration, 1970-9, Concept, New Delhi, 1986, p. 4.

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