Herbert Simon on Administrative Behaviour

Herbert Simon on Administrative Behaviour

While dilating on the process of decision – making, Simon rejected rational, economic man & replaced him by a more realistic, administrative man. He proposed an idea of administrative man.
The behaviour of the administrative man, in the organisation, is conditioned by organisational culture. The administrator, is conditioned by organisational culture. The administrator has to comply with establised rules & regulations & follow prescribed course of action. Such a man is called ‘organisational man’ Herbert Simon’s administrative man tries to rationalise man.
The behaviour of organisational man is subject to two types of influences – internal & external. Internal influence involves attitudes, habits & temperaments, which leads him to reach the desired decisions. Internal factors also include loyalty, concern with efficiency & training. External factors involve authority, advisory &
informational services.
Programmed & non-programmed activities in an organisation Simon is fascinated by the advent of electronic computers. He makes a distinction between programmed & non-programmed decisions. The electronic computer is making available to mankind new decision – making techniques which bring changes in white collar, executive & professional work making them ‘as monotonous as those, the introduction of machinery has brought to manual jobs.’
Simon feels that the computer has the potential of revolutionising organisational decision making. According to him repetitive & routine type of decisions can be programmed to the computers.
Operations research, system analysis, quantitative data processing etc. can be given to the computers.
The non-programmed decisions help the higher level authorities to devote their time for taking more efficient decisions, innovative ability, acquiring higher skills. The use of computers may increase rationality. In fact, Simon believes in the unlimited confidence in computer & management information systems. Computers command revolutionary capacity in the process of gathering & organising information public administration enables, to cope with the ever- increasing complexity of public policies & programmes.

Simon thus suggests maximum use of computers for rational decisions.

Principles of Administration by Herbert Simon

Logically, Simon cites some of the administrative principles :
a) administrative efficiency is increased by a specialisation of the task among the group.
b) administrative efficiency is increased by arranging the members of the group in a determinate hierarchy, of authority

c) administrative efficiency is increased by limiting the span of control at any point in the hierarchy to a small number.
d) Administrative efficiency is increased by grouping the workers, for purposes of control, according to (a) purpose (b) process (c) clientel (d) place.

Appraisal & Criticism on Herbert Simon

Appraisal :
Simon focusses attention on the dynamics of decision-making processes & its role in organisations. His study provides a deep insight into administrative behaviour & the interaction between decision making processes & administrative behaviour found in organisation. He Viewed organisational decisions, into three
phases. Rationality in decision making is a combination of facts & value is a unique contribution of Simon. His administrative man & administrative behaviour focus upon administrative system.
Criticium :
Simon’s idea of decision making mainly concerns with business administration rather than public administration. His decision making theory is also criticised on the ground that though decision making process is an important variable in the organisation, it is not the only factor. Decision making process involves many other factors, especially emotional, which Simon ignores. Simon’s decision making theory is too general.
Simon is also Criticised on his idea of administrative man and administrative behaviour. These dimesions differ from person to person & situation to situation. From this viewpoint, Administration cannot totally be regarded as value free science. Similarly, administrative systems do not bring similar role & similar consequences.
Rationality in decision making is also subject to criticism. Rationality, to Simon, meant a decision of ‘Status quo’, it is not dynamic

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