(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Chapter: 2 Administrative Thought – Criticism of Thinkers (Paper -1)

Paper – 1
Chapter: 2 (Administrative Thought)

Criticism of Thinkers


Classical theories in general: But more particular to Fayol.

1. Peter Drucker

Says that an idealistic or an universal organisation has been superimposed over
as living organization. Classical theories has treated the organisation as a
machine, there is no dynamic perspective within the organisation. Organisation
is an assemblage of socially interacting individuals.
Classical theories of administration believe in principle of administration by
treating organisation as a machine & treating human being as merely a cog is the
wheel fayol has come out with universal principles of concerning functional
aspects totally neglecting the human element.
These views have been contrasted by the humanist theorists Elton Mayo human
Individual within the organisation has Irrespective of the fact that classical
theorist has been rejected by the humanists they have provided a basis for the
science of administration.

2. Gulik & Urwick

When the principle of hierarchy is strengthened through principle of unity of
command chief executive is overwhelmed with the problem of co-ordination.

  1. For any conflict common superior is there. For any conflict the top-executive
    is required to resolve.

  2. Unity of command more number of supervisor thus more number of different of
    opinions thus lack of units thus again top executive is over whelmed

  3. Fayols principle of Administration are full of overlapping

Equity & remuneration

Instead of going for two principle could be included in equity. Sub ordination
of individual interest to general interest & centralization. Scalar chain
relating to two principle

  1. Unity of command.

  2. Responsibility & authority.

But that does not undermine the importance of these principles as these deal
with 14 distinct principles

4. Criticism relating to max Weber.

They are known as displacement or dysfunctional theorist in terms of their
analysis they find webcrian theory as dysfunctional Weber has taken functional
view of bureaucracy.

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R.K. Merton, Alvin Gouldner, Phillip Sclznick

Merton says, Weberian bureaucracy is typically a victim of formalism and
ritualism and this flows from the displacement of the goal.
A study relating to bureaucracy mentioned in “Reader in Bureaucracy”. By merton.
Bureaucracy of Weber gives preference to the law and not towards achieving the
goal. The law becomes the end in itself rather than being the means to achieve
the goal. Thus goal has been displaced as the final objective by the rule and
laws which become the end in itself.
Follow the letter of law rather then the spirit of law. Their primary goal
becomes following the rule rather then achieving the goal. Ritualism – following
some pre-established ways formalism. Same idea is referred by peter Drucker-Red
Alvin Gouldner: He in his book “Patterns of industrial bureaucracy” has
undertaken empirical study & come out with specific term to describe Weberian
Bureaucracy as “punishment – centered bureaucracy”.
With in the organisation superior in order to ensure higher productivity on part
of subordiante Go on regulating the behavior of the subordinate by framing more
and more rules and laws. Since it is classical it is mechanistic thus superior
defines everything outing more & more rule.
Sub-ordinate always find the ways to escape andad here to only minimum
acceptable performance. To again enhance productivity superior goes on making
more rules & regulation.
Highly restrictive, directive since subordinates produce with restriction rather
than with freedom and thus it restricts & reduces the productivity.
This type of bureaucracy instead of enhancing the productivity it restricts &
reduces productivity to minimum acceptable production and thus makes the
organisation inefficient.
These are not abstract ideas but done through empirical method.
Phillip Selznick
Also undertook empirical study at Tennessee valley corporation. In Weberian
Bureaucracy there is general tendency toward centralization and general dislike
towards decentralization but due to increasing complexities & size of operation,
some functions to be transferred towards various other hierarchies.
Every sub-goal should be linked to the higher goal. Assumed in bureaucracy. He
found, individual Working in sub-units have loyalty towards their sub-goal even
if sub-goals at times goes contrary to the final goal.
In order reutilization of charisma to happen the non-economic characteristics of
the charismatic authority is to be replaced.
Reutilization: efforts that have been taken to convert charismatic authority
into legal rational authority.
Economic characters: Rationality, Standardization, Means-end correlation.

Non-economic characters: Something which lacks means-end correlation rationality
& standardization lack of expertise and scienticism.
Charismatic authority functions through whims and fancies, and emotions and not
on rationality standardization and scienticism.

Lawrence J. Peter & Raymond Hall: They have provided a principle “Peter
Principle” They say, individual within bureaucracy rise to the level of incompetency. Weberian bureaucracy monocratic, meritocratic, within organiation
many personnel aspects are organized according to the skill and expertise. Not
necessarily within the organisation, The individual is not promoted merely based
on expertise rather by group of individual in hierarchy.
Rises to his level of incompetency rather than occupying his position of
competence. An individual is promoted because he is found most competent within
his own hierarchy at his previous position and not for his competency for the
position in the higher hierarchy.

C. North cote Parkinson: “law of Rising Pyramid” also known as “parkinson’s

This is an individual Who has studied department in government of Britain
dealing with the colonies of Britain. Study in (1936 – 1954) Affairs of colonies
that is a period of decolonization. Administration dealing with colonies instead
of decreasing in size was increased. This law explained the increase
(bureaucracy) in size of administration in colonies.
He came out with conclusion “size of organisation increases according to the
time available for the completion of the job”
Bureaucracy has a natural tendency towards empire building. Bureaucracy instead
of simplifying the complex things, complicates the simple things. Technisizing
the affairs.
There is a tendency of self importance. Superior has tendency to extend his
jurisdiction and also does not want to take responsibility, within the
organisation in size to ensure completion of job in time.
Weber’s bureaucracy is referred to as “Bentham’s Dog law”, State is expected to
be proactive not reactive.”
Rather than making the people aware of the laws that is to say proactive
measures bureaucracy relies on punishment to maintain the law.

About Elton Mayo, Carey Says: Hawthorne studies lack in experimental/scientific

  1. Studies were taken with those who knew that they are being observed.

  2. Number of people being observed (sample) was very small.

  3. To conduct an experiment certain steps: required

    • Preliminary experiment
    • Hypothesis
    • Verification
    These are merely based on observation

    • Many times conclusion was not matching with the finding
    • Focus only on psychological aspect ignoring all other mechanical aspects.
    • They have studied limited aspects of human behavior.

    That is why: United Auto Association of U.S regarded Elton Mayo as being a cow
    sociologist. Detailed aspects of social psychological basis of behavior has not
    been dealt.
    • Social psychological aspect was very shallow.
    • Only considered impact of group hence referred to as “herd psychology”.
    • Many factors can be there family self but not been discussed.
    Elton Mayo – human ration theorist.

    Behavioral theory : more detailed theory descriptive, more empirical,
    experimental more scientific. Preliminary conclusion erified so, more empirical.
    Not different in terms of type but in terms of degree

General criticism

Dwight waldo

  • He criticized classical theory as being unscientific.
  • Classical principle of administration are not universally applicable more over
    in non-western system bureaucracy does not come out with same consequences as
    that in western countries.
  • Simon has criticized the classical principle of administration As being
  • Another view point taken by Chris Argyris.

Organisation has two dimensions

  1. Formal dimension
  2. Informal dimension which was avoided by classical theorist.

Principles of administration have to be scientifically established. Conclusion
should have higher amount of accuracy.

Deceive cause effect relationship with high amount of accuracy only when we have
more amount of information a maximum information More & more information leads
to scienticism.
Classical theory is order to establish principle of administration Have
considered only formal aspect, thus they have limited the amount of information
(more could be derived form informal aspect)

Not only rational factor but also based on some irrational factor which were not
taken up by the classical theorist that is the reason classical theory is not


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