Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit: Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government: Bureaucracy and development

Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit (Paper - II)

Philosophical and Constitutional framework of government: Bureaucracy and development


Bureaucracy known for red-tapism, division of work, hierarchical arrangement of office, formalism, adherents of rights of offices etc., is considered a misfit in the developing countries where speedy change is needed to bring about socio-economic transformation. Its capacity for adaption to change is considered low. This criticism of bureaucracy points out its weaknesses as an organisational form. Its role in the development administration has been questioned in this connection. “The Weberian model, according to the critics, is subject to the dysfunctional consequences of failing to take into account the individual or behavioural aspects of the people who work within the organisation system. It has been observed that the organisational design at best can function in a stable environmental situation. In an unstable environment, as in the course of management of development the structure will be unsuitable to meet the demands of the situation.”

“Most studies of public administration in developing countries have stressed the viewpoint that the band of officials who have been brought up and trained in the colonial administrative culture, wedded to the Weberian characteristics of hierarchy, status and rigidity in the adherence of rules and concerned mainly with the enforcement of law and order and collection of revenues, were quite unfit to perform the duties expected in the changed situation of an administration geared to the task of development.”

The point being emphasised here is that to meet the challenges of socio-economic development, bureaucracy has to adapt itself to new environment. The focus of .bureaucracy has to change from the preservation of law and order to the achievement of targets, to accomplish most, and most rapidly with least waste and least failures.

A recent study suggests that there is no basic conflict between bureaucratic structure and development scale. But it did find a sharply negative relationship between bureaucratic behaviour and development scale. The conclusion drawn in the study is that “a more carefully and deliberately adopted bureaucracy would possibly be more flexible and capable of being positive towards the development requirements. The criticism against bureaucracy as given reveals some of its “structural weaknesses as well as the behavioural consequences that flow from the structure. In any large scale administrative arrangement, bureaucracy cannot be thrown overboard. Its dysfunctionalities need to be identified and corrected. The changing role of bureaucracy in development administration is characterised in such phrases as ‘development bureaucracy’, and non-Weberian model of bureaucracy’. What is intended is to make the governmental organisations, structurally and behaviourally, geared to the task of development”.


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