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BPAC-102: Administrative Thinkers

BPAC-102: Administrative Thinkers

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: BPAC-102/ASST/TMA/July 2023 & January 2024

Course Code: BPAC-102

Assignment Name: Administrative Thinkers

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment A


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1) Discuss Kautilya’s ideas on principles of administration.

Ans) Kautilya, in his Arthashastra, did not explicitly articulate principles of administration. Nevertheless, principles can be inferred from his work, and understanding them is crucial. Classical thinkers, like Luther Gulick and Lyndall Urwick, argued that economy and efficiency depend on adhering to prescribed norms. Kautilya's principles, inferred from his work, include:

a)     Division of Work: Kautilya emphasized the importance of dividing work into specialized departments. In his administration, he structured 34 departments, each headed by a designated officer. This highlighted the efficiency gained by assigning specific roles based on specialization.

b)     Hierarchy: The administrative structure in Arthashastra depicted a hierarchical bureaucracy. The king, at the apex, held all authority. Subordinate levels, led by officers like Mahamatya and Amatyas, formed the organizational pyramid. While the hierarchy among subordinates isn't explicitly detailed, promotion was based on merit.

c)     Unity of Command: Kautilya's administration had a clear chain of command. All employees were to receive orders solely from the king. This ensured a centralized decision-making process and prevented confusion within the government.

d)     Centralization: Centralization was a cornerstone of Kautilya's administration. All powers — legislative, executive, and judicial — were vested in the king. This centralization extended to provincial, district, and municipal levels, ensuring smooth execution of policies with close supervision.

e)     Participatory Decision-Making: Kautilya advocated participatory rulemaking. The king was required to consult officials, including a council of ministers, before making decisions. Information from lower levels was considered, fostering realistic understanding of issues.

f)      Authority and Accountability: Kautilya stressed the link between authority and responsibility. The king held ultimate authority but was also accountable for the progress and happiness of subjects. Punishments were prescribed for offenses, aligning accountability with legal, moral, and ethical dimensions.

g)     Precedence of Organizational Interests over Individual: Kautilya believed that organizational interests, represented by the king, superseded individual interests. Loyalty to the kingdom was a condition for service, emphasizing the importance of upholding the state's interests.

h)     Discipline: Strict observance and compliance with orders and rules were crucial. Any laxity invited punishment, highlighting the prerequisite of discipline for successful organizational functioning.

i)       Coordination: While not explicitly detailed, the emphasis on coordination is evident. Kautilya used the metaphor of a chariot with two wheels, emphasizing the need for harmonious working within the government.

j)       Direction and Leadership: Effective leadership was crucial for execution. Direction involved leadership qualities, and Kautilya ascribed traits of a good leader: one who prioritizes the interests of the people and the kingdom above personal gains.

k)     Supervision and Control: Kautilya recognized the importance of supervision and control within an organization. These principles were essential for maintaining order and ensuring efficient functioning.

l)       Value-based Administration: Kautilya introduced the concept of value-based administration, emphasizing virtues like truthfulness, reliability, and gratitude in leaders. A leader's adherence to values was seen as crucial for achieving the primary goals of the organization.


Q2) Describe the major contributions of Peter Drucker.

Ans) Peter Drucker, a renowned management theorist, made significant contributions that shaped modern management practices. His ideas and insights have had a profound impact on various aspects of management.

Some of his major contributions include:

a)     Nature of Management: Drucker rejected the concept of 'bureaucratic management' and envisioned management as a creative and innovative discipline. He believed that the fundamental objective of management is to lead towards innovation. In his view, innovation encompasses the development of new ideas, combining old and new ideas, and adapting ideas from other fields.

b)     Management Functions: According to Drucker, management is the organ of its institution and has no existence or functions. He identified three basic functions of a manager:

1)      Fulfilling the specific purpose and mission of the institution.

2)     Making work productive and workers achievement oriented.

3)     Managing social impacts and social responsibilities.

These functions are performed simultaneously within the same managerial action.

c)     Restructuring Government: Drucker advocated against bureaucratic structures due to their dysfunctional effects. He emphasized three basic characteristics of an effective organizational structure: organizing for performance, containing the least possible number of managerial levels, and enabling the training and testing of tomorrow’s top managers.

d)     Federalism: Drucker supported the concept of Federalism in organizations, which involves centralized control in a decentralized structure. Federalism goes beyond delegation of authority; it creates a new constitution and ordering principle. Drucker highlighted the positive values of federalism, such as setting top management free to focus on proper functions and defining the functions and responsibilities of operating units.

e)     Management by Objectives (MBO): Management by Objectives, introduced by Drucker in 1954, is considered one of his significant contributions. MBO involves methods of planning, setting standards, performance appraisal, and motivation. It is not just a technique but a philosophy of managing, transforming basic assumptions from exercising control to self-control. MBO works both bottom-up and top-down, linking objectives at various organizational levels.

f)      Organizational Changes: Drucker emphasized the need for dynamic organizations that can absorb changes faster than static ones. He rejected the concept of downsizing and proposed rethinking. Rethinking involves identifying productive activities that need strengthening, promotion, and expansion. Drucker's insights have influenced modern production management, encouraging industrialists to consider limited worker participation in the management process.

g)     Rethinking and Abandonment: Drucker rejected the idea of downsizing and advocated for rethinking organizational activities. He encouraged identifying and strengthening productive activities rather than reducing workforce. Drucker believed in a more flexible and collaborative workplace, promoting the delegation of power across the organization.

h)     Leadership: Drucker introduced key leadership terms and strategies that are still relevant today. He emphasized the difference between management and leadership, stating that "Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things." Drucker's ideas supported a workplace where subordinates have the opportunity to take risks, learn, and grow.


Assignment B


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q3) Write a short note on Gandhi’s idea of Swaraj.

Ans) Gandhi's vision of Swaraj, or self-rule, and his conception of a democratic republic differ from Western thinkers, reflecting a unique perspective deeply rooted in Indian values. While Gandhi's writings contribute to this philosophy, post-independence Gandhian activists and scholars have further shaped and elucidated his vision.


Gandhi envisioned Swaraj as a reality where the rural masses, representing the soul of India, actively participate in self-rule. He emphasized that true democracy cannot be orchestrated by a centralized authority but must emerge from the grassroots. Gandhi's dream included the establishment of 'village republics' in free India, and he regarded Panchayat Raj as a realization of true democracy.


The term Gram Swaraj encapsulates Gandhi's vision of a complete republic at the village level, independent for vital needs yet interdependent for various necessities. This human-centered, non-exploitative, and decentralized village economy aims to provide full employment and self-sufficiency in basic requirements like food and clothing.


Gandhi's ideal village is based on non-violent social and economic principles, where small-scale and cottage industries support self-reliance. Political power is distributed among villages, and Gandhi advocated for decentralized economic and political structures through the organization of Village Panchayats. Independence, in his view, must begin at the bottom, making every village a republic or Panchayat with full powers.


Gandhi's Gram Swaraj is not a revival of old village panchayats but the formation of independent village units in the context of the contemporary world. It envisions self-sustained villages capable of managing their affairs and even defending themselves. Gandhi believed in the principle of 'ordered anarchy,' where citizens enjoy maximum freedom with minimum necessary order.


Q4) Examine M.P.Follett’s concept of Planning and Coordination.

Ans) Mary Parker Follett, a trailblazing management theorist, characterized coordination as the "harmonious ordering of parts." According to Follett, planning serves as a scheme for self-adjustment and self-coordination of diverse interests within an organization, emphasizing the integral role of coordination in this process.


Follett outlined several principles of coordination that showcase her innovative perspective:

a)     Coordination in the Early Stages: Follett asserted that coordination should commence from the early stages of workflow. It should extend beyond policy implementation, incorporating the lower levels of the organization even during policy formulation. This approach, starting coordination early, is seen as instrumental in fostering increased motivation and morale within the organization. This principle challenges the traditional notion of central planning.

b)     Coordination by Direct Control: According to this principle, responsible individuals within the organization should establish direct communication with subordinates, irrespective of their hierarchical positions. Follett highlighted the significance of horizontal communication, considering it as vital as the vertical chain of command. This emphasizes the importance of open and direct channels of communication to enhance coordination.

c)     Coordination as the Reciprocal Relating of all Factors in a Situation: Follett stressed the major aim of coordination as integrating diverse activities, skills, attitudes, and efforts of organizational members into a harmonious whole. She viewed an organization as a system of interrelated parts where actions and processes are interconnected. This perspective underscores the holistic nature of coordination in creating unity within the organization.

d)     Coordination as a Continuing Process: Rejecting the idea of coordination as a one-time activity, Follett emphasized its role as a continuous and ongoing process. Coordination, in her view, involves continuous planning and self-adjustment, with each round of activities informing further planning. To address challenges in a rational manner, Follett advocated for a permanent machinery dedicated to coordination.


Q5) Describe Dwight Waldo’s contribution to New Public Administration.

Ans) The inaugural Minnowbrook Conference in 1968, led by Dwight Waldo, marked a pivotal moment in public administration, introducing the concept of 'New Public Administration' (NPA). Organized to address the deficiencies in public administration, NPA emerged as a reaction against the perceived lack of consistent concepts, ideological frameworks, and efficient practices in contemporary administration.

NPA's genesis can be linked to both external and internal factors shaping the public administration environment. Issues like urban riots, racial prejudice, and America's involvement in the Vietnam War contributed to the political turbulence that fuelled the need for a new approach. NPA called for public organizations to better represent constituent aspirations, study the external consequences of administrative actions, and reflect on inter- and intra-organizational relationships.


George Frederickson distinguished NPA from traditional public administration based on six parameters. NPA emphasized the concept of change, focusing on reforming bureaucracy, adapting to rapid social change, and adjusting organizational machinery to uncertainties. It rejected technocentrism, arguing that technology could be a source of organizational and policy problems.


Relevance, responsiveness, and empowerment were central themes for NPA. It addressed ethical issues related to social equity in public service provision and emphasized public service responsibility. In terms of rationality, NPA aimed for "buffered rationality" devoid of undesirable consequences. NPA advocated for alternative organizational structures, including public-private partnerships, decentralization, and project sponsorship.


Theories of management and leadership within NPA emphasized democratic and participatory practices, aiming to shift the focus from internal management to effective public relations. Values such as better performance, innovation, and customer orientation were paramount. NPA accorded significant importance to political principles, democratic governance, majority rule, minority rights, and customer-oriented practices, forming a comprehensive approach to reforming public administration.


Assignment C


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.


Q6) What do you mean by Shop Floor Management?

Ans) The "shop floor" denotes the lowest level in a factory, a term highlighted by Frederick Taylor as the often-neglected area. Taylor emphasized the need for scientific work methods and motivating workers for overall improvement.


In his work, 'Art of Cutting Metals,' he proposed tools like instruction cards and machine improvements to distinguish between high and low-performance workers. Taylor believed that a standardized system could function autonomously at the shop level, requiring less managerial intervention.


He introduced the 'exceptional principle,' allowing managers to recognize and reward high-performing workers, fostering a "mental revolution" where both workers and managers benefit from increased production and profits.


Q7) Write a note on Charismatic Authority.

Ans) Weber coined the term 'charisma,' defining it as an individual's exceptional qualities that set them apart, endowing them with almost supernatural or superhuman powers. In charismatic authority, followers implicitly adhere to the leader's orders based on the leader's perceived extraordinary qualities.


Sahni and Vayunandan note the absence of formal procedures in appointments, promotions, or remuneration under charismatic authority. This lack of formal governance raises concerns about administrative instability and laxity, prompting Weber to caution against potential issues in such unregulated leadership structures.


Q8) Discuss ‘the Illumination Experiments’.

Ans) In the Illumination Experiments, the impact of lighting intensity on worker productivity was investigated by dividing workers into experimental and control groups. Surprisingly, the results were inconclusive as the experimental group's production varied without a clear relationship to lighting levels, and it increased when conditions worsened.


In the control group, where lighting remained unchanged, production still increased. The findings suggested that factors beyond alterations in physical work conditions significantly influenced production levels. Consequently, no conclusive connection could be established between illumination levels, incentive schemes, and productivity levels.


Q9) Explain ‘Participative Management’.

Ans) Participative Management, as advocated by Likert, is characterized by trust, group involvement, and a shared responsibility for organizational goals among employees. It emphasizes collaborative decision-making, economic rewards, teamwork, improved work methods, and open communication. Likert's key concept is that modern organizations must view themselves as interconnected groups with supportive relationships.


To be effective, managers should focus on building effective teams, addressing human aspects of subordinates' issues, and creating an environment that encourages compatibility with organizational values. Likert underscores the importance of managers being sensitive to organizational values, fostering teamwork, and creating conditions that promote harmonious interactions.


Q10) What is T-Group technique?

Ans) T-Group, or Training Group, is a technique used in organizational development and leadership training. It involves a small group of individuals who come together to discuss and analyse their interpersonal dynamics and behaviour.


Participants engage in open communication, sharing thoughts and feelings, and providing feedback to one another. The process aims to enhance self-awareness, improve communication skills, and promote understanding of group dynamics. T-Group techniques often include unstructured discussions, role-playing, and reflective exercises.


The approach is experiential, emphasizing learning through direct interaction, and it is designed to foster personal and group growth in areas such as communication, leadership, and conflict resolution.

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