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MPA-012: Administrative Theory

MPA-012: Administrative Theory

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for MPA-012 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Administrative Theory, you have come to the right place. MPA-012 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in MPA courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MPA-12/Asst/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: MPA-012

Assignment Name: Administrative Theory

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

This assignment consists of Sections I and II. There are five questions in each section. You have to answer a total of five questions in about 500 words each. It is necessary to attempt at least two questions from each section. Each question carries 20 marks.


Q1) Explain the general principles of administration.

Ans) The study of public administration holds immense importance as a specialized subject and plays a vital role in modern society. To understand its significance, need to explore its importance both as a specialized field of study and as a critical activity in contemporary society.

Importance of Public Administration as a Specialized Subject

  1. Efficiency and Pragmatism: Public administration addresses the practical concerns of government operations. It aims to enhance the efficiency of public services. As Woodrow Wilson emphasized, the focus is on finding ways for the government to deliver services effectively and at the least possible cost. This practical orientation ensures that government functions meet the needs of the public efficiently.

  2. Reform and Adaptation: As societies become more complex and governments grow and scope, the need for effective administration becomes paramount. Various countries have recognized the necessity of reforming administrative machinery to respond to diverse public needs. Committees and reports, such as the Haldane Committee Report in Britain and the President's Committee on Administrative Management in the United States, have played a significant role in shaping administrative reforms.

  3. Academic Inquiry: Public administration is viewed as a cooperative and social activity within the realm of social sciences. Academic inquiry in this field seeks to understand the social impact of administrative decisions and actions. It delves into how public administration affects society and its various stakeholders.

  4. Development Administration: In developing countries, public administration takes on a special role. These nations rely on government intervention to accelerate socio-economic development. The establishment of development administration as a sub-discipline reflects the need for knowledge on how to effectively govern and promote rapid development.

  5. Education and Citizenship: Since public administration significantly impacts the lives of citizens, it is essential for people to understand how government functions. Education in public administration helps individuals comprehend government structures, activities, and the execution of public policies. This knowledge contributes to the realization of the values of citizenship and civic participation.

  6. Adaptation to Changing Needs: Public administration continually evolves to meet the changing needs of society. Reports and studies, such as the Administrative Reforms Commission in India and "Reinventing Government" in the United States, have reshaped the discipline to align with contemporary challenges and demands.

Importance of Public Administration as an Activity in Modern Society

  1. The Administrative State: In the contemporary age, the concept of the "Administrative State" has emerged. Public administration has become an integral part of society and plays a dominant role. Its functions have expanded both in scope and nature, encompassing various positive actions related to human welfare. These include healthcare, education, social security, sanitation, and more. Public administration is not merely a regulatory entity, but a creative force dedicated to promoting human well-being.

  2. Government in Action: As noted by Woodrow Wilson, public administration represents the most visible and action-oriented facet of government. It is the executive arm responsible for implementing policies and delivering services to the public. It embodies government in action, directly impacting citizens' lives.

  3. Facilitating Social Change: Public administration serves as a facilitator of social change and progress. It cushions the shocks of social revolutions and helps societies transition through transformative periods. This role is crucial in maintaining stability and promoting positive societal developments.

  4. Essential Services: Public administration is responsible for delivering essential services that ensure the quality of life for citizens. These services include healthcare, education, sanitation, and social security. Without effective public administration, these critical aspects of human well-being would be compromised.

  5. Basis of Government: Paul H. Appleby highlights that public administration forms the foundation of government itself. No government can exist without administration. It is the mechanism through which governments function and fulfil their responsibilities. Without efficient administration, governance would be reduced to a mere discussion club.

Q2) Briefly describe Weber’s contribution to the theory of bureaucracy.

Ans) Max Weber, a prominent German sociologist, made significant contributions to the theory of bureaucracy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work laid the foundation for the understanding of bureaucracy as a form of organization and administration. Weber's ideas on bureaucracy continue to be influential in the fields of sociology, political science, and management.

Formal Rationality

Weber believed that modern society was characterized by a shift toward formal rationality. This meant that decision-making and action within organizations, including government and large corporations, were increasingly guided by rules, procedures, and calculability. Bureaucracy, in Weber's view, epitomized this formal rationality by emphasizing the systematic and rational pursuit of organizational goals.

Ideal Types

Weber developed the concept of the "ideal type" to create a conceptual framework for understanding social phenomena, including bureaucracy. The ideal type is an abstract and simplified representation of reality used for analytical purposes. Weber constructed the ideal type of bureaucracy as a model to study and compare real-world bureaucracies.

Characteristics of Bureaucracy

Weber outlined several essential characteristics of bureaucracy, which he believed represented an ideal-typical bureaucracy:

  1. Hierarchy: Bureaucracy is organized in a hierarchical structure with clear lines of authority and a chain of command. Each level of the hierarchy has specific responsibilities and authority.

  2. Specialization: Bureaucratic organizations are characterized by specialized roles and tasks. Individuals are trained and assigned to specific positions based on their expertise and qualifications.

  3. Formal Rules and Procedures: Bureaucracies operate based on formal rules and procedures. These rules are impersonal and applied uniformly to ensure consistency and predictability in decision-making.

  4. Impersonal Relationships: Bureaucracy relies on impersonal and objective criteria for evaluating performance and making decisions. Personal favouritism or biases should not influence administrative decisions.

  5. Merit-Based Employment: Bureaucracies ideally employ individuals based on their qualifications, skills, and competence rather than personal connections or nepotism.

  6. Efficiency and Productivity: The primary goal of bureaucracy is to achieve efficiency and productivity in the pursuit of organizational objectives. Rational calculation guides decision-making to optimize outcomes.

  7. Record-Keeping: Bureaucratic organizations maintain detailed records and documentation of activities, transactions, and decisions. This serves as a means of accountability and transparency.

Iron Cage of Bureaucracy

Weber famously referred to bureaucracy as the "iron cage" of modernity. While he recognized the rational and efficient qualities of bureaucracy, he also noted its potential for dehumanization and alienation. The rigid adherence to rules and procedures, combined with the formal and impersonal nature of bureaucracies, could lead to individuals feeling trapped and disconnected from the human aspects of their work.

Authority Types

Weber classified authority within bureaucracies into three types: traditional authority (based on customs and traditions), charismatic authority (based on personal charisma and leadership), and rational-legal authority (based on rules and laws). In modern bureaucratic settings, rational-legal authority is the most prevalent, emphasizing adherence to established rules and regulations.

Bureaucracy's Role in Modern Society

Weber believed that bureaucracy played a crucial role in modern society, as it provided a rational and efficient means of organizing and administering complex institutions. He saw it as a necessary form of organization in both the public and private sectors.

Critiques and Limitations

Weber's theory of bureaucracy has faced criticism over the years. Critics have pointed out that bureaucracies can become overly rigid, stifling innovation and adaptability. Additionally, the potential for bureaucracies to create red tape and inefficiencies has been a subject of concern.


Q3) Examine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory.

Ans) Abraham Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs is a fundamental framework in the field of psychology and management, outlining the various human needs in an ascending order of importance. According to Maslow, these needs are arranged hierarchically, with lower-level needs taking precedence over higher-level ones. As individuals satisfy their lower-level needs, they are motivated to pursue higher-level needs. Maslow's theory has been widely influential in understanding human motivation and behaviour.

Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's theory consists of a pyramid representing a hierarchy of five categories of needs, with the most basic needs at the bottom and the highest-level needs at the top. The hierarchy is often depicted as follows (from bottom to top):

  1. Physiological Needs

    These are the most fundamental needs necessary for survival, including food, water, shelter, clothing, sleep, and basic bodily functions. Without the satisfaction of these needs, individuals cannot function effectively.

  2. Safety Needs

    Once physiological needs are met, individuals seek safety and security. This includes protection from physical harm, job security, financial stability, and a stable living environment. Safety needs provide stability and reduce anxiety.

  3. Belongingness and Love Needs

    After fulfilling safety needs, people have a desire for social interaction, affection, and a sense of belonging. This involves forming meaningful relationships, friendships, and seeking acceptance within a social group or community.

  4. Esteem Needs: Esteem needs are divided into two categories

    Self-Esteem: This includes self-respect, self-confidence, and a sense of achievement. People seek recognition and respect from others and desire to feel valuable and competent.

  5. Esteem from Others: This involves gaining recognition, admiration, and respect from peers, colleagues, and society at large.

  6. Self-Actualization Needs: At the pinnacle of the hierarchy are self-actualization needs. These represent an individual's quest for self-fulfilment, personal growth, and the realization of their full potential. It includes pursuing creativity, problem-solving, personal development, and meaningful life experiences.

  7. Prepotency of Needs

    Maslow's theory suggests that lower-level needs are prepotent, meaning that they must be satisfied before higher-level needs become motivating. In other words, if an individual is hungry or lacks safety, they will prioritize those needs over social belonging or self-esteem.

  8. Fluidity and Individual Variation

    Maslow acknowledged that the hierarchy of needs is not rigid, and that individual variation exists. People may have different motivations and prioritize needs differently based on their unique circumstances, experiences, and personality traits.

  9. Satisfied Needs

    Once a need is satisfied, it no longer serves as a motivator. For example, when an individual's physiological and safety needs are met, they will focus on fulfilling their belongingness and esteem needs. As each level of need is satisfied, individuals progress toward self-actualization.

Critiques and Contemporary Relevance

While Maslow's hierarchy of needs has been influential, it has also faced criticism for its limited empirical evidence and cultural bias. Additionally, contemporary psychologists and scholars have expanded on Maslow's work, emphasizing that motivation is a complex interplay of multiple needs and factors, including intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Q4) Discuss the concept and components of Organisational culture.

Ans)Organizational culture is a complex concept that shapes the identity, values, and behaviours of an organization. It can manifest in many ways, both consciously and subconsciously, influencing how employees interact, make decisions, and perceive their workplace. Understanding these different expressions of organizational culture is essential for managing cultural change and ensuring alignment with the organization's goals and values.

Physical Artefacts

These are tangible and visible expressions of culture, including the physical layout of the workplace, decor, and the availability and use of facilities. For example, an open-plan office design may signify a culture of collaboration and transparency, while a traditional hierarchical layout may imply a more formal and structured environment.

Cultural Artefacts

Cultural artefacts are recurring themes in the behaviour of organization members, reflecting shared values and beliefs. Examples include daily yoga sessions at Maruti Udyog, which promote a culture of employee well-being and health, or TISCO's encouragement of group mountain trekking, fostering teamwork and adventure.

  1. Language, Jargon, and Metaphors

    Many organizations develop unique terminologies, phrases, and acronyms that serve as a form of universal communication among members. These linguistic symbols distinguish insiders from outsiders and reinforce cultural identity. For instance, using the term "nawabs" for corporate office members in one organization can create a sense of camaraderie among employees.

  2. Stories, Myths, and Legends

    Important cultural assumptions, beliefs, and values are often conveyed through stories, myths, and legends. These narratives are memorable, believed, and followed by employees, shaping their understanding of the organization's identity and history.

  3. Ceremonies and Celebrations

    Organizations hold collective events and celebrations that consciously reinforce cultural values and principles. For example, the Indian Institute of Public Administration's Founder's Day celebration reaffirms its commitment to its founding principles, while arranging brainstorming sessions at holiday resorts for senior managers and their families reinforces a sense of belonging and collective identity.

  4. Routines, Rites, and Rituals

    Repetitive activities and rituals, such as staff meetings, training programs, or annual performance appraisals, become embedded in an organization's culture. These rituals offer a sense of security, personal identity, and meaning to employees' actions while serving as mechanisms of control.

  5. Behavioural Norms

    Behavioural norms describe the expectations that influence how members behave within the organization. These norms evolve over time and guide employees' actions, becoming strong stabilizers of organizational behaviour and shaping newcomers' behaviour through socialization.

  6. Shared Beliefs and Values

    Beliefs and values that are held in common serve to justify actions as either appropriate or inappropriate and serve as mental pictures of the reality of the organisation. For instance, if a corporation places a high priority on the satisfaction of its customers, then its personnel may put the requirements of those customers first, even if doing so requires going around predetermined protocols and policies.

  7. Basic Assumptions

    The members of the group unconsciously uphold certain ideals and ideas, which are then manifested in the same kinds of circumstances, events, and behaviours over and over again. For instance, if competent workers regularly leave an organisation, it may be an indication that competence is not highly regarded, even if this assumption is not clearly expressed. This is the case even if the organisation does not openly state this assumption.

Q5) Write a note on Methodological Individualism, Rationality and Economic Analysis of Politics.

Ans) Public Choice theory represents a distinctive approach to understanding political and economic phenomena, rooted in the principles of methodological individualism and rational choice. These foundational concepts have far-reaching implications for the study of government, politics, and public policy.

Methodological individualism, a cornerstone of Public Choice theory, emphasizes that individuals are the fundamental units of analysis when examining collective entities and groups, including societies and governments. It rejects the idea of viewing society as an organism and contends that all group-level phenomena can be explained by the actions and interactions of individuals. This approach underscores that individuals are not only the decision-makers but also the ultimate beneficiaries of those decisions. Thus, Public Choice theory challenges the legitimacy of group-level decision-making and emphasizes that understanding individual behaviour is essential for comprehending collective outcomes.

Rational choice, closely related to methodological individualism, builds on the idea that individuals act purposefully to maximize their own well-being, given the constraints they face. It assumes that individuals can rank alternatives, make consistent choices, and seek to achieve their preferences.

This concept applies to all aspects of human behaviour, including economic, political, and social domains. In the context of politics, Public Choice theory posits that politicians, bureaucrats, voters, and stakeholders act with the primary goal of maximizing their individual gains, rather than altruistically pursuing the so-called "public interest." This perspective challenges traditional notions of politics driven by benevolence and highlights the importance of self-interest in political decision-making.

Public Choice theory serves as the application of economic methodology and tools to the study of political processes and institutions. It seeks to analyse how people express their preferences and make choices within the political sphere. This approach rejects the notion that politicians and bureaucrats act solely out of public-spirited motives and underscores the importance of recognizing their self-interest in shaping political outcomes. For instance, politicians may prioritize actions that enhance their chances of re-election or securing an election ticket, while bureaucrats may seek career advancement or increased status and power through their actions.

Public Choice theorists advocate for a contractarian paradigm when examining the role of the state. They view government as an economic institution with dual functions: serving as a means for individuals to achieve specific ends and emerging from the bargaining and exchange among individuals. In this view, governments result from collective choices and contractual agreements among citizens.

This approach blurs the boundaries between the "economy" and the "polity," as both can be analysed using the same exchange paradigm. While power and coercion are recognized as existing in society, they are considered within the realm of Political Science rather than within the scope of Public Choice.

Public Choice theory, far from promoting economic imperialism, asserts that human tendencies for voluntary exchange, as described by Adam Smith, extend beyond economic transactions to various aspects of human interaction, including politics. It suggests that politics can be understood as a realm of voluntary exchanges and agreements among consenting individuals.

A normative principle arising from this exchange paradigm is the preference for policies that promote voluntary exchanges, as they align with the values of consent and liberty. Public Choice theorists often advocate for market-oriented solutions, highlighting the efficiency and liberty-enhancing aspects of voluntary exchange.

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