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Administrative Thinkers

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This book discusses the works of thinkers who have had seminal influence on the discipline of public administration. Works of Kautilya, Gandhi, Rajagopalachari, Sardar Patel and Jawaharlala Nehru which are of particular relevance to the Indian scenario, have been dwelt upon at some length. Since India is a former colony of Great Britain, British thinkers evoke compelling interest here. However, most thinkers discussed here are American since the discipline of public administration, as it is taught in India, is primarily and largely American in its origin, growth and development.

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Biographical Sketch

Kautilya was one of the leading thinkers of ancient India. His seminal work,

Arthashastra, is rated as a treatise on political science and statecraft. Historians, however, still continue to debate who Kautilya was, where was he born and whether the Arthashastra was actually written by him or someone else.1 This is precisely because of scattered and littered oral account of references, both of converging and diverging kinds. Thus, people still debate whether Vishnu

Gupta or Chanakya are the same.2 Similarly, some historians do not accept his birth in Magadh. They trace it in South India. So one account suggests that he was a Nambudiri Brahmin, to the same section from which Adi Shankar belonged to, from Kerala. Some argue that Chanakya was a Tamil Brahmin, he was actually Dramila, i.e. Dravid. Several mouths, several stories and legends.

So is the case about his death. The Jain account is that he was deceitfully burnt to death by one of the close courtier of Bindusara, named Subandhu, who did not like Chanakya. Yet another account is that, in the last leg of his life when





Woodrow Wilson


Biographical Sketch

Woodrow Wilson is rated among one of the finest presidents the United States of America has ever produced. Wilson was born in Virginia, in December

1856, in a wealthy and politically active family and spent his early childhood in Georgia and South Carolina. Since his father was very active politically and supported the ‘South Secession from the Union’, Wilson was exposed to a virulent political atmosphere of civil war in America since childhood. This also affected his childhood education which happened primarily at home. Wilson joined Princeton in 1875 and graduated in 1879. Subsequently, he joined the law school at University of Virginia. But the profession did not attract him much and he left it to join Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a PhD in history and political science in 1886. Wilson worked as a professor at Bryn

Mawr, Wesleyan and Princeton. He was elected as the President of Princeton in 1902. He brought in significant reforms in the college. This elevated his public image and he was invited by the Democrats of New Jersey in 1910 to be their candidate for the governor’s post. He earned a lot of repute during his tenure as a governor due to his pro-reforms policies. In 1912, he became the candidate of the Democratic Party for the president’s post of USA and won the election. The split within the Conservative Party helped him win the elections.





Frederick W. Taylor


Biographical sketch

Frederick W. Taylor, popularly known as the father of scientific management, was born at Germantown in Philadelphia, in a relatively rich family, on

March 20, 1856. His mother was a feminist activist while his father was a lawyer. He grew up in a disciplined family background. It is learnt that he was a good student but could not pursue higher studies, probably due to an eyesight problem which he had since childhood. In 1874, he started his career as an apprentice in a company. However, the zeal for the knowledge could not completely keep him cut off from higher academics. He joined Steven

Institute of Technology and graduated from the same in 1883 in Mechanical

Engineering through correspondence course.

Though he started his career as an apprentice, he reached the top echelons of management with his hard work and an innovative mind. As a Chief Engineer and Consultant, he served several famous firms and companies of his time.

Some of his big clients were Midvale Steel Company, Cramp’s Shipbuilding





Henri Fayol


Biographical sketch

Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer. Though his achievements as an engineer were no less commendable,1 he is known more as a management theorist. He is rated as one of the three most important contributors to the classical theory of management and organization, along with Weber and

Taylor. While Taylor is regarded as the father of scientific management,

Fayol is considered as the father of modern management.2 Some historians in Europe consider Fayol giving the theory of scientific management prior to

Taylor. They argue so, primarily on the ground that Fayol argued for scientific management principles few years before Taylor, when he presented a paper titled ‘Discourses on General Principles of Administration’ way back in 1908 at the Silver Jubilee Congress of the Societe de I’Industrie Minerale. That, for them was the first work towards a new foundation of management science.

But the actual fame came to him with the publication of General and Industrial





George Elton Mayo


Biographical sketch

George Elton Mayo was an Australian, born in 1880 at Adelaide. He was trained in several subjects like Logic, Philosophy, Medicine, and Psychology.

After completing his MA in Philosophy from the University of Adelaide in

1899 he went to Scotland, where he studied medicine and psychopathology, which later on established him as a world-renowned industrial psychologist and a pioneer of a new school of thought in the field of administration and management science. Mayo also taught philosophy at Queensland University for a brief time. However, his real professional career started with coming to

United States of America on a research grant from Rockefeller Foundation.

First, he joined the famous Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania and later on he was appointed as professor and head of the Department of Industrial Research at Harvard in 1926 where he worked in this capacity till retirement in 1947. After retirement he went to





Max Weber


Biographical sketch

Max Weber was one of the finest minds of his time. His writings indeed have enriched a wide range of disciplines of knowledge and made a timeless impact on academic discourses all over the world. Born in an academically vibrant and economically affluent family in Charlottenburg on April 21, 1864 Weber was exceptionally inquisitive and a seeker of wisdom. Weber started his academic journey as a jurist. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Heidelberg and then to Strassburg, Berlin and Gottingen Universities. He completed his doctoral degree from the University of Berlin in 1888 and joined the Prussian judicial service as an assessor. He left this service in 1892 and joined the

University of Berlin in capacity of lecturer of Roman and Commercial law.

In 1893, he was appointed as professor of Commercial and German Law. In

1894, he left the University of Berlin to join University of Freiburg as professor of economics. Nearly after three years, he joined the University of Heidelberg, in 1897, as professor of economics where he served till 1913. In 1913, due to bad health he left teaching. He devoted his time thereafter more to travelling and writing books. He however, again started the profession of teaching with joining of the University of Vienna and then the University of Munich.





Fred W. Riggs


Biographical sketch

The homepage of Riggs’ website carries the logo of a prism encircled by a snake. This is a carefully crafted combination of symbols. Riggs was born in a year which is considered to be a snake year in the Chinese mythology. And prism marks the confession of his intellectual journey. Fred W. Riggs, a social scientist of world repute who wrote extensively in the field of political science and public administration is known actually for his Prismatic Model. He himself acknowledges in his intellectual autobiography that this has been his most important contribution to the world of social science and specially the discipline of public administration. Prismatic model and Riggs have become synonymous to each other.

Riggs was born in Kuling, a beautiful mountain resort in China on the Yangtze river, on July 3, 1917. His parents were American missionaries who had come to China in 1916 to help the local peasants improve their agricultural productivity by using American methods.1 In the absence of any English speaking missionary school in the near vicinity, he had to rely upon home tuition and study material mailed from Baltimore by the Calvert School.





Abraham Maslow


Biographical sketch

Abraham Harold Maslow popular for propounding the need-hierarchy theory of motivation was an American psychologist. Born in a poor Jewish family in

Brooklyn, New York where his parents had settled after flying from Russia to escape Czarist persecution, Maslow’s childhood was not a very pleasant sailing. Apart from the monetary hardships he also faced anti-Semitic taunts in school and from the people of his neighborhood. This really convulsed his childhood mind and had a great impact on his personality and commitment.

At home, too, he had no good times due to his mother who was a Negro and with whom he never enjoyed good relations. He was one of the seven children of his parents and thus economic hardships were always there but his father always encouraged his education, rather forced it upon him as he was always reluctant. He did not have too many friends and relatives and he, in the real sense, grew up in libraries amidst books.

He completed his schooling from Boys High School, which was one of the most prestigious schools in Brooklyn, remained attached to several academic activities and had the privilege of editing a Latin magazine. His subsequently joined the City College of New York from where he graduated in1930.





Frederick Herzberg


Biographical Sketch

Frederick Herzberg was a clinical psychologist born in Massachusetts, USA, on April 18, 1923. His initial education took place at the City College of New

York. He graduated from here in 1946. Thereafter, he went to the University of

Pittsburgh to undertake a postgraduate course in science and public health. He did his PhD in psychology on the topic ‘Prognostic Variables for Electroshock

Therapy’. He later undertook a teaching job at Case Western Reserve

University as a professor of psychology. Here, he established the Department of Industrial and Mental Health. Thereafter, he joined the University of

Utah in 1972 where he held the position of professor of management in the

College of Business.

Herzberg’s writings deal primarily with employee’s motivation at the work place. His first book The Motivation to Work came out in 1959. This was written with the research assistance coming from his two colleagues, Bernard

Mausner and Barbara Bloch Snyderman. It was in this book that he developed the famous two-factor motivation theory. In his subsequent works, such as,





Chester Irving

Barnard (1886–1961)

Biographical Sketch

Chester Irving Barnard was born on November 7, 1886 in Malden,

Massachusetts in America in a poor family. When he was barely five years old, he lost his mother and he was taken care of primarily by his father and grandfather. Though he was educated at Harvard but he was not the one who was born with a silver spoon. His father was a blacksmith. The family earning thus was not very high, yet he was intellectually very vibrant. Barnard himself recalls that there were always intellectual discussions on philosophical writings of people like Herbert Spencer, in his family. That certainly shaped his intellectual mind. Philosophy became a lifelong hobby for him. He also served as the member of the American Philosophical Society. Besides philosophy, what attracted him as a hobby was music. He learnt it while he joined a piano factory at the age of fifteen. He earned money from work and used it to get formal school education by enrolling himself at Mount Herman




Chris Argyris (1923–2013)  245

effectiveness. Chris studied the behaviour of the senior executives in order to know how they influence the effectiveness of the organization. A book came out to this effect in 1962 with the title Interpersonal Competence and Organizational

Effectiveness. But the most significant works of him came out in a joint exercise with scholars like Robert Putman, D.M. Smith and Donald Schon. He laid the idea of action science and the famous concepts like organizations by learning, single-loop and double-loop learning. Some of the famous works of Argyris, other than those mentioned above, are: Organization and Innovation (1965),

Theory in Practice (1974) and Organizational Learning: A theory of Action

Perspective I (1978) and Organizational Learning II (1996) with Donald Schon,

Action Science, Concepts, Methods and Skills for Research and Intervention (1985) with Robert Putman and Diana Mclain Smith.

Argyris is indeed credited with several conceptual contributions to the field of the business organization. He believed in the strength and maturity of the employees and suggested that the management should treat them as an adult and mature person. He held that if the employees are treated positively and as mature they would behave in more responsible ways and will display a better sense of participation and commitment to the goals and objectives of an organization.





Herbert A. Simon


Biographical Sketch

Herbert Alexander Simon was a multifaceted American social scientist. Born on June 15, 1916, Milwaukee did his schooling from a public school before he could join the University of Chicago from where he graduated in political science in 1936 and completed his doctorate in the same discipline in 1943. In

Chicago he was trained and taught by two great masters of his time Charles E.

Merriam and Herald Lasswell. Political science and mathematical economics remained the favourites of him in the Chicago University. In the university he also worked with Clarance Ridely with whom he co-authored a book titled

Measuring Municipal Activities in 1938. This drew him towards organizational decision-making but the same became the Central premise of his doctoral thesis and his subsequent research works. The most celebrated book that he authored is still the administrative behaviour and the result of his doctoral thesis.

He started his professional career as a director of a research group at the





Mary Parker Follett

Biographical Sketch

Mary Parker Follett was an American political scientist and a management thinker. An author rightly commented that she carried several hats at the same time.1 She was a multifaceted personality indeed. She was a prolific writer, an untiring social and political activist, an academician of great repute and a great organization and management thinker. She wrote extensively and on diverse issues ranging from women empowerment to political democracy to resolving conflicts in the organization to crowd psychology. All her writings bear the stamp of her practical experience in the field and her emotional and penchant fervor for democracy in all walks of life starting from nearby organizations to industry to the political system. As monopolization of power anywhere is antithetical and incongruent to democracy Follett strongly argued in favour of pluralism and decentralization of authority.

Parker was born in a rich family at Quincy in Massachusetts. She did her schooling from Thayer Academy. Though she was born in a relatively affluent family, her childhood was witness to several storms. While she was too young her father died. Her mother was already a disabled person. She had to take up a lot of responsibility at home as well. In 1892, she joined the Society for





Douglas McGregor


Biographical Sketch

Douglas McGregor, popularly known as Doug among the students and faculty of Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT), where he served as a faculty member for over a decade, was a great management thinker. The beauty of his thought lies in the fact that he did not attempt to idealize the situation in industry but looked at its working and the problems as well as solutions from a purely practical point of view. He always said, ‘Forget the “intellectual claptrap and theoretical nonsense” and come out with “practical ideas” which could improve the organization’s performance’. His two seminal works The Human

Side of the Enterprise published in 1960 and The Professional Manager (1967) have truly been described as the guide books for the practicing managers as they involve a whole set of new ideas relevant to modern management. The two books are truly a great contribution to the field of management science.

Born in a family of strong religious belief and passion for music, on September





Rensis Likert

Biographical Sketch

Rensis Likert has been one of the most powerful management thinkers of the

20th century. His theory of motivation, leadership style, theory of quantitative research, popularly known as Likert Scale and other theories have been really path-breaking. Likert was an American organizational psychologist. Born in

1903 in Cheyenne in Wyoming, Likert completed his schooling from the same place. He graduated from the University of Michigan in economics and sociology in 1926. But prior to this he had worked with Union Pacific

Railroad as an intern during 1922.

He received his doctorate degree from Columbia University in 1932. It was in this thesis that he propounded the famous Likert scale, a tool to measure attitudes in quantitative terms and which he claimed to be better compared to other available methods. During the Ph.D. work he had joined the Columbia

University as an instructor. Subsequently, in 1935, he joined the University as

Assistant Professor. He also taught at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville,





Peter Drucker

Biographical Sketch

Peter Drucker is considered as one of the most powerful and popular thinkers on management science of the twentieth century. Popularly known as the father of modern management, Drucker influenced the business world for almost seven decades starting from late forties to early half of the first decade of the current century. His impact was not confined to continental America or

Europe. It included even powerful Asian economies like Japan and China. No wonder the ripples of his death were felt across the globe. The birth centenary celebrated across the world was a reaffirmation of the testimony to this fact.

Drucker certainly gave new heights to the discipline and the profession.

Born in a Jew family in Vienna, in Austria in 1909, Drucker completed his initial schooling from the school in the village Kaasgraben before he settled in Frankfurt, Germany wherefrom he did his PhD in International Law while he was working as reporter of a newspaper. He stayed in Germany until 1933.






Abilities  87

Absence of industrialization  153

Academic formalism  154

Acceptance theory of authority  225

Accounting activites  79, 81

Accounting, production  112

Actionable research  148

Administration  128

Administrative and economic man  295 arrangement  39 domains  40 ecology  147 efficiency  136 formalism  154 questions  39 science literature  95 structure  11, 29 system  153 system of prismatic societies  158 techniques  283 theory  274 thought  122

Agraria-industria model  152

Agricultural civilizations  176

Akardhyaksa  11

Akranda  25

Akrandasara  25

All-to-human situations  114

Amatya  9

American Association of Mechanical

Engineers  95

American Congress  34

American management theorist  78

American models  148

American system of governance  165

Amitrabala  24

Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance  68

Anatomy of foreign governments  43

Anti-worker  139

Apathy  248

A piece-rate system (1895)  73

Apparatus of government  41

Application of standard tools  57

A pro management bias  117

Arimitra  25



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