Features of Public Administration in developing countries

Features of Public Administration in developing countries

In view of the economic and political change, administrative systems, in developing countries must adopt themselves, to meet the changing requirements. Public Administration is confronted with heavy burden. Growth and development with social justice that too in the quickest possible time, the challenge faced by public administration in these countries. The distinguishing features of public administration in developing societies are discussed here.

First, personnel management practices in the fields of recruitment and promotion are outdated. Merit is not given adequate recognition and encouragement. Secondly, public administration is not sufficient to meet the growing requirements of the state. A huge burden is placed on the administration machinery, hence, it is unable to bear it.

Thirdly, the growing centralization in decision making despite the attempt towards greater delegation and decentralization.

Fourthly, there is the dominance of the generalist administration in the administrative system.

Fifthly, the relationship between the power wielding politician –minister and the decision-implementing public officials is often not as harmonious as it ought to be.

Sixthly, corruption in public administration in most developing countries has  been increased enormously.

Increased State activity:

Public administration assumes much importance in modern times in the developed and the developing societies as well, it’s importance in the developing societies needs elaboration and emphasis. The developing societies are engaged in the gigantic task of development to eradicate the illiteracy, poverty and hunger. The strategy adopted in most of these countries for accelerated development in planning. In the formulation and successful implementation of plans and in the timely completion of schemes and projects, administration plays a significant role. Administration’s operational focus should be on proper policies and programs and their effective implementation.

The civil servants, in particular, have to be accommodative and sensitive to the needs of people. Public Administration, by virtue of its national character, consisting of personnel belonging to different communities, castes and tribes has a vital role in bringing about national integration. The importance of public administration in modern times needs no special emphasis. The well being of the people is increasingly dependent on the performance levels of the machinery of public administration.

Welfare State Concept:

The range and volume of activities of the administration have increased in modern days. Scientific and technological advancement, industrial revolution, the acceptance of democratic and welfare state ideals and socialist principles and the requirements of development administration are the most important causative factors for the development. Public Administration’s activities with which people come into contact in their daily lives, it is no exaggeration that there is no field of human activity by which the administration is not concerned with either directly or indirectly. Public administration is an essential part of civilized society in view of its dominant roles in regulation of welfare and developme

Democratic Setup:

Public Administration’s role is vital in the holding of elections and implementation of the policies   and programmes of the elected executives in a democratic country. It also assists the legislatures and the ministers in the formulation of policy. It is considered by some scholars that the public bureaucracy in the twentieth century is at the centre of public policy formulation.

Stabilizing Force:

According to Pual Pigors, “Administration insures the continuance of the existing order with a minimum of effort and risk. Its fundamental is to ‘carryon’ rather than to venture along new and untried path. Administrators are essentially the guardians of traditions. Public administration is a great stabilizing force in the society. After independence of India, it faced the serious problems of rehabilitation, integration of native states, severe food shortages and the post-war reconstruction. These were solved, to a large extent, through effective administrative interventions in Indian Society.

Instrument of Social Change:

Public Administration is an instrument of social change. Public administration played a substantial role in eradicating untouchability and lessening social tensions and conflicts. The administrative machinery itself consists of people belonging to different faiths, castes and groups who work untidily in discharging their responsibility.

Evolution of the Discipline:

Public Administration, as a subject of study is of recent origin.  It can be stated that a serious study of public administration started with the publication of Woodrow Wilson’s essay on ‘The Study of Public Administration in 1887 in the American political science quarterly. He was indeed a pioneer who has set the tone for its systematic study. The earlier writers stressed the dichotomy of politics and public administration. L.D.White, Willoughby, F.M. Marx almost buried ‘dichotomy’ between politics and public administration with their writings. Today public administration has come to its own with a more balanced emergence of the discipline.

The study of public administration is very important for practitioners. Through its systematic study, one gets an acquaintance with the knowledge of the administrative machinery and its numerous activities. In developing societies, vast sections of these people are not aware of the array of programmes undertaken for their upliftment. Study of public administration, a certain extent, fills the gap. According to Woodrow Wilson, the object of administrative study is to rescue executive method from the confusion and costliness of empirical experiment and set them upon foundations laid deep on stable principles. According to Charles Beard, Public Administration is the key science of contemporary civilization. There is no subject more important than the subject of public administration.

 Changing Context:

There is a change in the perceptions on the role of state and public administration. In the changing context in India, popularly known as structural adjustment policies resulted in emphasis on privatization, liberalization and globalization. The good governance and E-Governance are the two important developments of this new context

 Good Governance:

The good governance is considered as an important requirement for nation’s development. Good governance is an important function of public administration, governance is a broader concept, which is defined as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s social and economic resources for development”. There are some of the features of good governance mentioned below:

  1. Freedom of participation and association by various social, economic, religious, cultural and professional groups in the process of governance.
  2. Political accountability of political system by the people and regular elections to legitimize the exercise of political power.
  3. Bureaucratic accountability ensuring a system to monitor and control the performance of government officials and offices in relation to quality of service, inefficiency and abuse of discretionary power.
  4. Cooperation between civil society organizations and government.
  5. A good administrative system lead to efficiency and effectiveness. The effectiveness includes the degree of global achievement as per the stated objectives.
  6. Freedom of expression and information needed for formulation of public policies, monitoring, decision-making and evaluation of government performance.


E-Governance is sometimes called digital government as the new system uses Internet as the gateway or the means by which people and government get connected to each other. E-Governance is considered as an important tool of good governance. The new technologies facilitate the government’s capacity to respond more effectively to the needs of people. The government of India and many state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, have taken many commendable initiatives in the upgradation of the systems, management of partnership arrangements with technology provider, building the trust among the public on the reliability of the systems.