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1.2 Administration in developing countries

The Scope of Management and Administration Problems in Development

Kenneth J. Rothwell

Administration and Management in Developing Countries

The Nature of Administrative Change and Its Obstacles

Historical legacies and forces creating static economic conditions have produced in most developing countries inadequate institutions and personnel to deal with the administrative and managerial tasks in the new drives for accelerated change. Both political and administrative institutions have to be evolved which are capable of assuring and sustaining more egalitarian values and nationally accepted political norms. The functions and responsibilities entailed in these changes are of recent origin and the traditional values and institutions face irresistible pressures for modernization, which in the simplest terms implies restructuring or replacement.

The administrative organs of society reflect the political environment and derive their legitimacy, formal substance, and methods of operation from the constitutional, legal, institutional, and prevailing sources of power in society. Administrative change is hardly possible without political change of some kind although the pace of modernization may vary as between the administrative and the political.

There is no end to the weaknesses which have been attributed to economic management and public administration in developing countries. Criticisms generally related, until recently, to organizational structural aspects, to constitutional competence, to integrity and adequacy of personnel systems, and to administrative processes. More recently, however, problems of implementation and assessment of capability, of integrating planning, bud getary and operational processes, and management of public enterprises have also come to the fore.

A summary listing of administrative obstacles in developing countries is bound to include in varying proportions some of the following:

  1. Organizational and structural obstacles-these range from problems in the creation of new organizations for performing emerging functions, to rationalization of existing structures for achieving better results;
  2. Administrative systems suffer from confusion over functions and responsibilities of different units, duplication of work, lack of coordination, excessive centralization, and generally inadequate organizational arrangements for administration of various functions. Centralist tendencies in administrations are particularly great and hinder performance;
  3. Shortcomings in personnel systems; career services based on merit have been the objective of many administrative improvement efforts;
  4. Public service personnel lack knowledge and skills required for carrying out programs of economic and social development. Many continued to be governed by attitudes developed in colonial or feudal eras when development was hardly a major concern of public administration;
  5. Corruption is widespread, along with favoritism, nepotism, and jobbery. Many public services are used as welfare agencies to provide employment for educated members of society, who otherwise might become a source of political trouble. These services are overstaffed with the wrong kind of functionary and hence administrative reform measures are frequently stalemated by political decisions;
  6. Members of the public service suffer from lack of motivation and low morale. Administrative leadership and supervision are of poor quality, since the discipline is lacking. In many countries the concept of full-time government employment is unknown in practice. There are special problems associated with use of scientific and technical personnel in the public services;
  7. Legalistic, dilatory, and complex processes and procedures are major shortcomings. Before the advent of development, the norm was a legalistic and control-minded management, whose procedures were based on limited functions of administration, and were inadequate for the new expansions. Current procedures still suffer from ambiguities, and encourage the status quo ante rather than attending to future arrangements which is the essence of management;
  8. Budgetary processes and procedures such as procurement of supplies and logistics are without a sound technical foundation. As an example, the lengthy procedures involved in land acquisition for development projects can be cited as a major factor in the slow progress of such projects;
  9. Interdepartmental rivalries and cumbersome committees complicate operating procedures and dilute responsibility for results.

Paramount to the administrative problem in the public sector is the realization that planning, budgeting, and operating processes must be integrated to insure the contribution of development planning to national growth. Development planning is a joint process in which every part of administration must participate effectively. There are needs for contributions from the political scientist and sociologist as well as the economist in formulating development plans. The notions that planning and implementation are separated aspects of administration and that the private sector is sharply separated from the public sector must give way to notions of participative management and administration.

Dimensions of Management in Development

The persistent gap in managerial expertise is widely claimed as a major cause for poor performance in socioeconomic development. But it must be recognized that management operates with human elements as well as with machines. Management is a significant element in business and industrial enterprise, project development, public utility concerns, and public administration of general services. Modern management techniques require special training skills, particularly under conditions of rapidly changing technology and through the reduction of isolation in administrative systems. The identification of the managerial function helps focus on the training program as well as aiding in the selection of managers and administrators for training participation.

Managerial content differs in quality and scope according to the organizational objectives. The range of its operation depends upon the framework within which the function is exercised, within which decisions are taken, and within the extent of the environmental impact. Training for management is complicated by the nature of modern organizations, especially industrial enterprises, which function in an economic, a regulatory, and a social sphere. The enterprises control workers' access to production, yet integrate the worker into a human organization upon which the productivity of the enterprise and contributions to the economy rest. The organizational and human factors in management require delicate balance; control over workers' livelihood results in a fair measure of social control so that the organization has considerable power in regulating the behavior of individuals as well as of groups.

An organization has been described as "a group of people operating in a discrete system of physical, functional, and human relationships, differentiated from the surroundings by the boundaries of explicit tasks to be performed."28 In contrast, Seiznik has described organizations as "technical instruments, designed as means to definite goals. They are judged on engineering premises; they are expendable."29 In the long run, nevertheless, national development depends greatly on the capacity to organize human activity, the essence of organization being the coordinated efforts of many persons toward common objectives.30 All organizations require management: government organizations aim at contributing to the management of the economy; business organizations require overall managerial guidance as well as derailed management of financial, commercial, and industrial operations.

Management is normally regarded as consisting of a hierarchy of individuals anti a set of critical functions relevant to the organization. It has also been viewed from three distinctive perspectives:31

  1. management as an economic resource;
  2. management as a system of authority;
  3. management as a class or an elite.

A still broader view of management has been summarized by Chandraknant to consist of six approaches not necessarily exclusive:32

  1. Management as a method of achieving objectives by organizing human resources. The management process school sees a management element in every function embracing planning, organization, coordination, and control.
  2. The behavioral science approach to management, which focuses on the interpersonal relations within organizational connections.
  3. The sociological approach to management, which seeks to identify cultural relations among social groups with the aim of systematic equation.
  4. Management as a study of experience, which forms the basis for generalizing on organizational activities, and constructing principles which underlie effective management.
  5. The decision theory of management which focuses on rationalizing the decision-making process to embrace the selection of a particular course of action from a number of alternatives.
  6. The mathematical approach to management is based on the notion of the widespread quantification of managerial factors, which can be formed into a model that can be manipulated to demonstrate optimum solutions.

Likert in dealing with styles of management in business organizations makes a simple, fourfold classification:33

  1. Exploitative-Authoritative,
  2. Benevolent-Authoritative,
  3. Consultative,
  4. Participative -(group management).

He considers the participative style likely to be more efficent in the long run.

A highly important management function in development is planning which aims to rationalize the management of societies. Ponsioen has suggested four basic models of management comparable to those of Likert, but of more relevance to developing economies:34

1. The imposition model: the manager formulates an order, or a guideline which his administrators have to translate into orders. The expectation is that these orders are obeyed and carefully executed. In the course of its transmission, however, the order is sometimes changed in content by reinterpretation, partly through the interests of the receivers. The function of planning here is to advise the manager, to propose orders or guidelines for intermediate administrators, and to collect the feedback information to reformulate the orders.

2. The convincing model: the manager produces orders or guidelines accompanied with supporting arguments. The disadvantage is that arguments provoke counter arguments and execution is delayed as long as the debate continues. The function of planning then is to produce convincing arguments for the manager and replies to the counter arguments.
A more practical way of convincing people to follow policy guidelines is through distributing rewards (financial ones, prestige and power) to those who follow them in an exemplary way. In this case incentives and rewards have to be planned also.

3. The participation model: managers formulate proposals, rather than orders. Public and private reactions are solicited and taken into account when the decision is made. An advantage of this model is that future subjects of the orders are informed in advance, their knowledge and wisdom is used, future resistance's can be identified, and, if their suggestions are accepted, they are committed. It also provides a corrective to the value orientation of the planners. Planning in this model becomes largely an instrument to a societal decision-making process. The plan in the first instance is a proposal, in the second instance a piece for negotiations, in the third instance a compromise. The need to execute the plan becomes a major issue in formulating the plan itself.

4. The interaction model: the function of management is

  1. to identify the creative individuals on all levels of the organization;
  2. to make these individuals communicate among themselves;
  3. to pour new ideas continuously into this communication process;
  4. to have decisions taken within the frame of this communication.

Basic tacit assumptions are:

  1. that the whole organization adheres firmly to its goals,
  2. that on all levels individuals can be found, which are creative for these goals.

The function of the planning unit is that of a switchboard of communication within the organization; it channels all information relevant to the goals, received from outside or from inside a system, to the appropriate levels of the organization and through them into the decision-making process.

The process of modernization embraces all sections of society and has different implications and dimensions for each stratum. The introduction of scientific principles into management operations is a significant component of the process of change. Considerable problems are created by the introduction of new forms of managerial skills relevant to a particular developing country where a tradition-bound environment prevails. For the development of management much depends on the building of organizations and a body of human resources geared to dynamic modernization processes.35

As in the case of planning, perhaps the most significant advances in the application of management and administration have been in India. The government has strongly recognized the importance of sound administration and management as determinants of economic performance. When India achieved independence, the problem of national economic planning and development was given such attention. Numerous organizations, some concerned with industrial promotion and training, were established; included were the National Productivity Council, the All-lndia Management Association, the Institutes of Management, and the National Institute for Training in Industrial Engineering. The industrial policy statement of 1948 enunciated the respective roles of the public and private sectors.

The pattern of ownership in industry affects the nature of managerial and administrative growth. Because of strong foreign competition, Indian entrepreneurs were deterred from venturing into industry at the beginning of the century. The commercial class which had developed in India in the latter part of the nineteenth century were chiefly interested in banking, and money-lending activities; it was later strengthened by the commercialization of agriculture. The ability to make wise investment decisions became more ingrained and intuitive rather than being based on general administrative talent and managerial concern with planning, coordination and control. The influence of trade and business prevented a clear distinction being made between entrepreneurial functions of an enterprise and operational characteristics of management. Government intervention in industrial development was made necessary because of the absence of autonomous institutions fostering economic development. Historically, the development of education in India was geared to the supply of capable civil servants. Furthermore, Indian society is dominated by multiple loyalties, while the societal class distinctions in which the distaste for certain types of work were common in an educational system not wholly relevant to the needs of modern development, were not conducive to sound economic growth. Technological training, which systematizes and telescopes experience, is still a low priority in higher education. High prestige in the bureaucratic system acquired by long experience is frequently the basis for selection for a top managerial position in industry.


28. See L.S. Chandraknant, Management Education and Training in India (Bombay: National Institute for Training in Industrial Engineering, 1969)

29. Philip Seiznik, Leadership in Administration: A Sociological Interpretation (Evanston, Ill.: Row Peterson, 1957), p. 21, 22.

30. Herbert A. Simon, Administrative Behavior (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1945), p.17.

31. Frederick Harbison and Charles A. Myers, Management in the Industrial World (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1959).

32. Chandraknant, op. cit.

33. R. Likert, The Human Organization (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., 1967). Ct. W.J. Reddin, Managerial Effectiveness (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., 1970).

34. Jan A. Ponsioen, National Development: A Sociological Contribution (The Hague: Mounton & Co., 1968), pp. 163-179.

35. Included under human resources are organization builders, top administrators, middle and supervising management and trained technical and professional personnel. Harbison and Myers, op. cit., p. 117.

1.3 Management and the information service

Organization: in general and in principle
Management Training and Background
On library management (I)
On library management (II)
The library manager

Organization: in general and in principle



The term 'organization' can mean many different things. m us there is formal and informal organization, functional organization and military organization. Sometimes it means an undertaking, sometimes again it refers to organizations of interests. In what follows, the meaning of the concept of organization is restricted to its administrative sense. From this point of view, what is generally meant by organization is a system whereby work and the right of decisions are divided up among the employees and whereby they communicate with one another, as well as the work required to establish and maintain that system. In every organization, people work towards a common goal, using for this purpose the organization's three components: personnel, instructions and equipment.

Technically, the term 'organization' has two meanings. m e first sees an organization as a network of precisely defined relationships between certain individuals. This is the static definition of organization. m e second sees an organization as a process or an administrative function in which change and growth as well as the dynamics of the organization are central features. Both meanings are important in the study of administration.

It should perhaps be emphasized here that the need for organizational go-operation is not something that arises only in large undertakings but is equally important for small organizations, in fact as soon as an undertaking has more than one employee.

Types of organization

In the classical theory of organization, as represented by Henri Fayol and Frederick W. Taylor, there are three different types of organization: line organization, functional organization and line-staff organization. In practice, however, pure examples of these types are rarely encountered. In addition, the principles associated with these types have naturally been criticized by modern experts on the theory of organization. m e three types can, however, be defended from various points of view. They can be helpful in simplifying complicated organizational problems, thus bringing out certain fundamental connections.

Line organization

Essentially, line organization is based in part on the principle of the horizontal division of labour, and in part on that of the vertical division of responsibility and authority. In line organization, each employee always has only one supervisor. In a given work unit, the work is directed by a single person. In this way, the responsibilities are clear and unambiguous.

Line organization

Functional organization

In functional organization, an attempt is made to exploit the advantages of specialization more effectively than in line organization. Every employee, in this type of organization, can have a number of supervisors. It could almost be said that, in functional organization, the employees can have as many immediate superiors as there are specialists. This has been seen as a weakness, leading to uncertainty and confusion as to authority and the division of responsibility. It can be a source of conflict and clashes of interest. This type of organization has seldom been used in practice.

Functional organization

Line-staff organization

Finally, line-staff organization is a compromise between the two previous types. As in line organization, it is based on the principle that each employee should have only one supervisor while at the same time applying the principle of functional organization with regard to specialists. m e latter, who might almost be called consultants, nevertheless have no direct right to give orders but only advice and service. Line-staff organization is the most commonly used type of organization.

Line-staff organization can, if necessary, be divided horizontally in either a goal-oriented or method-oriented direction. m e first implies that tasks related to an independent, clearly defined goal are brought together. In turn, method-oriented division implies that tasks requiring the same approach, methods, etc., are brought together.

According to the original definition, 'organization' means that work and the power of decision are divided up among the employees, generally in terms of related functions, in accordance with the nature and content of the work. The groupings may include individuals, working groups or departments within the organization. Work may be dividied up in terms of area (horiziontally) or of levels (vertically).

Line-staff organization

Horizontal division of work

When a library reaches a certain size, some degree of specialization among the staff becomes inevitable. m e commonest type of specialization relates to work in the purchasing and cataloguing departments, which may be entrusted to certain staff special!:, qualified in those fields, who are also given an opportunity to further develop their special skills. Specialization, however, has not only advantages but also certain obvious disadvantages, and particularly psychological ones. When work is felt simply to be monotonous, this can easily lead to a poorer adaptation to work and therefore also to poorer results. Specialization or organizational subdivision in accordance with a particular system must therefore not be an end in itself.

Vertical division of work

As already pointed out, the various tasks in a library can also be divided up vertically, i.e. between employees at higher and lower levels. In principle, the chief librarian may be said to be responsible for the entire library. To be able to perform this task in practice, the work is divided up between groups, each of which has its own supervisor. The number of such groups will depend on the size of the library. It is important that the supervisors operate at the correct level and that the work is divided up in accordance with their guidelines. The work can also be divided up on a purely individual basis, depending either on the library's size or the nature of the task.

In the vertical division of work, the division between the various levels is governed by the power of decision. It must also be emphasized that there are different degrees of power of decision. The employee must be able to exercise the power of decision delegated to him which, in turn, presupposes a certain degree of independence. Training and education will, of course, increase the possibility of such subdivision of the power of decision.


Decision-making or decision is here taken to mean all taking of decisions in the library, from those on obviously important matters to routine decisions in daily administration. It is clear, therefore, why decisions have to be taken at different levels and in principle at the lowest possible level. The decision-making process is initiated, as a rule, when a particular problem arises. The final decision, which involves a choice between the proposed alternatives, constitutes an attitude in favour of one of them.

While line-staff organization, with its division into decision levels and areas of responsibility is increasingly taking the form of a pyramidal structure, the chief librarian being ultimately responsible for the activities as a whole, modern management has nevertheless been influenced to a very high degree by the concept of decentralization. This finds its strongest expression in the ever-increasing demand and need for decisions to be taken at lower levels. Delegation of the power of decision is therefore equally important in both large and small libraries.

Delegation of the power of decision

Delegation under these conditions means a transfer of both the power of decision and of responsibility wholly or partially to the employees. There may be many reasons for such a greater or lesser degree of delegation. It may be a flexible way of subdividing the power of decision so that decisions are taken at the correct level, i.e., as close as possible to those who will be directly affected by them. It may also be a conscious attempt to take advantage of the employees' useful skills in a particular area and thereby ensure that the correct decisions are taken. In both cases, delegation, correctly carried out, can increase job satisfaction.

Delegation can be limited in time or by the nature and scope of the task. It can also be withdrawn at any time by the supervisor, if he finds it necessary to do so. One of the many pre-conditions for successful delegation is that the boundaries must be clearly defined in so-called authorization.

It must also be emphasized that the supervisor can never escape from his responsibility for the final result of the delegation of decision-making.

While it is clear that delegation as an organizational principle has many advantages, many factors nevertheless impede this attempt to achieve such an ideal division of tasks, the power of decision, etc. The most serious obstacle to delegation is usually the library management, which may be inclined to delegate responsibility only sparingly as far as the most important tasks of the chief librarian are concerned, so that responsibility is delegated only in respect of the more routine ones. In addition, the chief librarian may take far too negative a view of the employees' competence, which will stand in the way of any delegation of responsibility. Finally, it is possible that the library management may well consider that a greater degree of delegation is desirable, but it is not put into effect because of the limited possibilities of providing the necessary supervision.

As far as so-called further delegation is concerned, the Swedish Local Government Act is increasingly placing certain formal obstacles in its way. In practice, however, further delegation can be arranged in such a way that the decision takes the form of an implementation decision.

The need to delegate both the power of decision and responsibility arises, as previously pointed out, even in comparatively small units. Delegation of the power of decision and of responsibility is therefore a functional assessment which, in the long term, can be of great importance to the successful future operation of library systems and at the same time a major factor in job satisfaction. Even if it is possible, in a library, to establish, once and for all, guidelines as to how tasks, the power of decision, and responsibility shall in principle be divided up, and how supervision shall be effected, daily contact at the workplace nevertheless provides the best conditions for ensuring that this is done in the most satisfactory way possible.

The most important conditions for successful delegation can therefore be summarized as follows:

Continuous guidance i.e., inter alia, frequent co-ordinating, creative and forward-looking conferences;

On-the-job training in the daily contacts with the employees;

Confidence in the employees' ability to manage increasingly difficult tasks;

Possibilities of checking the results of delegation, whether more or less successful or unsuccessful;

Truthful information on problems and conditions at the workplace;

Concrete goals communicated to all staff members, clear organization, budgeting and good planning are other measures that facilitate successful delegation.

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