Sample Material of Public Administration Study Kit: Techniques of Administrative Improvement: Organisation and Methods

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

Chapter XI - Techniques of Administrative Improvement: Organisation and Methods

Organisation and Methods (O & M)

The Meaning of O and M-The O and M is an abbreviation for Organization and Methods’. O & M work means reviewing the internal organization and procedures of any administrative agency with a view to suggest improvements so as a ensure greater efficiency in its working Efficiency is of course a very comprehensive term and means are includes so many things. The efficiency in the context of O & M. work, however, generally means elimination of duplication, waste, and delay by suitable rearrangement of the organization and simplification are acceleration of procedures. According to Milward ‘the usual functions of O & M are: the examination of the structure of the organization under review and the studying of administrative and clerical methods, official mechanization and equipment, office layout and working conditions.'

This is the meaning that is usually assigned to O & M in the U.K and India. In the American phraseology, however, ‘O & M’ has broader connotation sometimes and stands for ‘Organization and Management. It is obvious that management includes many things more than organizational structure and procedures. When Appleby recommended the establishment of O & M agency in the Government of India, he gave this broader meaning to the term O & M. He contemplated the O & work to be done at two levels-the technical and scientific level, and higher management level. At the technical and scientific level the O & M unit would ‘give attention to work measurement, work flow, office management, filing systems space arrangements and the like. It would be wrong to dogmatize as to the correctness of the narrow or wider view of the 0 & M work. All that can be said is that the narrower view of the O & M concept is the one that ,generally prevails both in the U.K. and India.

Scope of O & M

1. Common office procedures.
2. Clearance procedures in what stages, in what items and at what levels and whether all required.
3. existing internal information system for improving the methods of collection of data, storage of information and maintenance of records appropriate to the needs of the organisation.
4. Budgeting and financial controls.
5. Movement of papers and their processing.
6. Quicker actions, elimination of delays an internal control system.
7. Existing checks and counter-checks and to see how long it is proper to operate on a rule to take costly safeguards for imaginary acts.
8. Defining levels of discretion.
9. Analytical work studies by setting up and strengthening the internal work-study units, etc.

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Principles of O & M

1. Principle of essentiality: Only essential work should be done in the office. Unnecessary and unproductive activities should be eliminated.
2. Principle of minimum distance: The papers should follow the shortest route to complete a process.
3. Principle of Smooth flow of work: This means that the employees should have uniform amount of work throughout.
4. Principle of standardization of machines, forms and records: It is essential that standards should be determined about equipments, forms and records before planning an improvement in the activities of office.
5. Principle of cooperation: It should be remembered that no improvement suggested by O & M team is likely to succeed unless the persons who are to use and operate the new system do not offer willing cooperation.

History of the Evolution: O & M Techniques— It beginnings to back to early 18th century. The first in the field were the cameralist – a group of economists and administrators mainly from Germany and Austria. The nineteenth century produced a number of remarkable men in this field of work probably the best known among whom is F. W. Taylor. Father of Scientific Management movement.

The stress and strain of the two world wars on the processes of government and administration, the increasing entry of the government into business, and the example of the comparatively greater efficiency of private business and industry, induced the governments also to import organisation-and-methods idea and units into their administrative system. Britain created an ‘organization and methods Division’ in the Treasury and also O and M units in most of the larger departments. In the U.S.A. a ‘Division of Administrative Management’ was established and many other countries followed suit.

The O & M idea was tentatively tried in Bengal and perhaps one or two other provinces even in the –independence days, it did not take firm root until 1954 when in the wake of recommendation of the Appleby Report (1953) an Organization & Methods Divisions was created in the Cabinet Secretariat. This was followed by the setting up of an O & M cell in each ministry under a selected officer of the grade of a deputy secretary. The states also followed suit.

Organization: O & M Work— In connection with the organisation of eh O & M, work two fundamental issues arise. The first of these is, where should the central O & M agency be located, and the second is what should be staffing pattern for the O & M.

As regards the location of the principal O & M agency, the ruling consideration is that it should be placed in some Ministry or other organization which can readily command influence and respect with the various departments and officers so that the findings and recommendation of the O & M agency may receive due attention. In certain countries the O & M works has been located in high administrative or staff agency close placed in the Cabinet Secretariat provides an example of this kind.

The staffing problem is of what qualification the O & M personnel should be and form where it shall be drafted to service. Attempts have been made to lay down educational and other qualifications for the O & M personnel but there is no general agreement on the point. Any particular educational background cannot be said to be decisively useful. Of course certain personal qualities and accomplishments for the O & M office have been stressed e.g., general ability and intelligence, ability to get on with departmental personnel of various ranks. Familiarity with problems, organizational structure and procedure, inventiveness etc., but these qualities can only be tested in actual work and offer on a priori policy for the selection of the O & M personnel.

It is recognized that training is the principal means of preparing suitable O & M personnel and it is one of the duties of the O & M organizations to arrange for such training.

Working: O & M

The first step for the O & M officer is to make a survey of the existing arrangements in the department, agency or office concerned. This survey includes among other things an analysis of the existing organizational structure, the staff, procedures, space, furniture, office equipment, machines and similar other facilities available. He has also to list the duties each employee performs, and the various forms etc. which are in use. The data collected through survey will enable him to detect the defects and their causes such as duplication, undue delay, waste etc. The third step is to find out and suggest remedies such as reorganization, simplification of procedures, use of more mechanical devices, greater delegation, simplification of forms used, more expeditious movement and disposal of files, better records keeping and management etc. Finally he compiles his report embodying his remedies and suggestions as recommendations. The agency concerned may or may not accept all or some of the recommendations which means that the O & M function is in the nature of a staff i.e., advisory function only.

O & M Organisation in India

The central O & M Division was created in India in 1954 and it was located in the Cabinet Secretariat. Also each ministry /Department had set-up their our internal O & M cells. But for various reasons it could not achieve much during its existence for about a decade.

In 1964, a Department of Administrative Reforms in the Ministry of Home Affairs was set up and the O & M Division was transferred to it. On the recommendation of the Administrative Reforms Commission, the government of India created a Department of Personnel in 1970.

The Department of Personnel and the Department of Administrative Reforms were merged in 1973 to create the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms which remained under the Prime Minister till 1977 when it was shifted to the ministry of Home Affairs.

Presently the Department of Administrative Reforms and public grievances is the nodal agency of the Government of India for administrative reforms, organisation & methods. It is one of the three Departments in the Ministry of Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions. The other two Departments under this Ministry are—Department of Personnel & Training: and the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare.

The main functions of the department of Administrative Reforms and Pubic Grievances relate to conduct of management studies, organisation & methods, implementation of Plan Scheme for modernization of government offices and laying down policy guidelines and procedures, and coordination of measures, regarding redressal of public grievances pertaining to the Central Government agencies in particular and the state/union territories in general.

Functions of the O & M

(i) To study office procedures and suggested ways and means of their simplification.
(ii) To suggests ways of elimination of delay.
(iii) To study the movements of files and recommend methods of expediting such movement.
(iv) To recommend better methods of maintaining and preserving records.
(v) To suggest ways and means of increasing delegation of authority and responsibility at appropriate levels.

Besides the above, it is also the function of the O & M everywhere:

(a) To undertake research into organisation and procedural problems with a view to discover better patterns of both.
(b) To train personnel for the O & M work.
(c) To collect and disseminate information relating to the O & M, and
(d) To undertake publication of O & M journals, books and other literature.

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