Public Administration and management: Meaning, nature and significance

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The English word  administer‘ is derived from a combination of two Latin words and ?ministrate‘ meaning ?to serve or manage‘. Literally, the term means management the affairs of public or private. Administration refers to mobilisation of resources – human and material- to achieve pre-set of objectives.

Administration is thus an activity undertaken in pursuit of the realisation of a goal. It is an effort requiring a group of persons, each individually carrying out certainallotted tasks, which when so performed by all, leads to the achievement of an objective which has already been established and made explicit.

Management is defined as an act of managing people and their work, for achieving a common goal by using the organization‘s resources. It creates an environment under which the manager and his subordinates can work together for the attainment of group objective. It is a group of people who use their skills and talent in running the complete system of the organization. It is an activity, a function, a process, a discipline and much more.Planning, organizing, leading, motivating, controlling, coordination and decision making are the major activities performed by the management. Management brings together 5M‘s of the organization, i.e. Men,Material, Machines, Methods, and Money. It is a result oriented activity, which focuses on achieving the desired output.

The nature of management can easily be brought out by the following elements:

(i) Management is goal-oriented: Management is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieve certain goals. Management has no justification to exist without goals. Management goals are called group goals or organisational goals. The basic goal of management is to ensure efficiency and economy in the utilisation of human, physical and financial resources. The success of management is measured by the extent to which the established goals one achieved. Thus, management is purposeful.

(ii) Management is universal: Management is an essential element of every organised activity irrespective of the size or type of activity. Wherever two or more persons are engaged in working for a common goal, management is necessary. All types of organisations, e.g., family, club, university, government, army, cricket team or business, require management. Thus, management is a pervasive activity. The fundamental principles of management are applicable in all areas of organised effort.

Managers at all levels perform the same basic functions.

(iii) Management is an Integrative Force: The essence of management lies in the coordination of individual efforts in to a team. Management reconciles the individual goals with organisational goals. As unifying force, management creates a whole that is more than the sum of individual parts. It integrates human and other resources.

(iv) Management is a Social Process: Management is done by people, through people and for people. It is a social process because it is concerned with interpersonal relations. Human factor is the most important element in management. According to

Appley, ?Man- agement is the development of people not the direction of things. A good manager is a leader not a boss. It is the pervasiveness of human element which gives management its special character as a social process?.

(v) Management is multidisciplinary: Management has to deal with human behaviour under dynamic conditions. Therefore, it depends upon wide knowledge derived from several disciplines like engineering, sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, etc. The vast body of knowledge in management draws heavily upon other fields of study.

(vi) Management is a continuous Process: Management is a dynamic and an on-going process. The cycle of management continues to operate so long as there is organised action for the achievement of group goals.

(vii) Management is Intangible: Management is an unseen or invisible force. It cannot be seen but its presence can be felt everywhere in the form of results. However, the managers who perform the functions of management are very much tangible and visible.

(viii) Management is an Art as well as Science: It contains a systematic body of theoretical knowledge and it also involves the practical application of such knowledge. Management is also a discipline involving specialised training and an ethical code arising out of its social obligations.

The significance of management can be brought out by following points:-

(i) Achievement of group goals: A human group consists of several persons, each specialising in doing a part of the total task. Each person may be working efficiently, but the group as a whole cannot realise its objectives unless there is mutual cooperation and coordination among the members of the group. Manage- ment creates team-work and coordination in the group. He reconciles the objectives of the group with those of its members so that each one of them is motivated to make his best contribution towards the accomplishment of group goals. Managers provide inspiring leadership to keep the members of the group working hard.

(ii) Optimum utilisation of resources: Managers forecast the need for materials, machinery, money and manpower. They ensure that the organisation has adequate resources and at the sametime does not have idle resources. They create and maintain an environment conducive to highest productivity. Managers make sure that workers know their jobs well and use the most effi- cient methods of work. They provide training and guidance to employeers so that they can make the best use of the available resources.

(iii) Minimisation of cost: In the modern era of cut-throat competition no business can succeed unless it is able to supply the required goods and services at the lowest possible cost per unit. Manage- ment directs day-to-day operations in such a manner that all wastage and extravagance are avoided. By reducing costs and improving efficiency, managers enable an enterprise to be com- petent to face competitors and earn profits.

(iv) Survival and growth: Modern business operates in a rapidly changing environment. An enterprise has to adapt itself to the changing demands of the market and society. Management keeps in touch with the existing business environment and draws its predictions about the trends in future. It takes steps in advance to meet the challenges of changing environment. Changes in busi- ness environment create risks as well as opportunities. Manag- ers enable the enterprise to minimise the risks and maximise the benefits of opportunities. In this way, managers facilitate the continuity and prosperity of business.

(v) Generation of employment: By setting up and expanding busi- ness enterprises, managers create jobs for the people. People earn their livelihood by working in these organisations. Managers also create such an environment that people working in enterprise can get job satisfaction and happiness. In this way managers help to satisfy the economic and social needs of the employees.

(vi) Development of the nation: Efficient management is equally important at the national level. Management is the most crucial factor in economic and social development. The development of a country largely depends on the quality of the management of its resources. Capital investment and import of technical know how cannot lead to economic growth unless wealth producing resources are managed efficiently. By producing wealth, management increases the national income and the living standards of people. That is why management is regarded as a key to the economic growth of a country.

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