Attitude in Public Administration

Attitude in Public Administration

  • Earlier administration was limited to maintaining law and order
  • But gradually the concept of welfare state meant administration for health, education, industry, taxes etc.
  • Right attitude in administration is more important in countries like India where majority of people are poor, illiterate and most vulnerable
  • Administration is not just doing one’s job. But it requires active participation with the public, motivating them, creating awareness and showing a genuine interest in improving their lives.
  • Administration is a two way process. People will respect it only when it responds to their aspirations. Therefore, knowing the public’s attitude towards the administration is equally important
  • 2nd ARC – citizenry holds bureaucracy in low esteem. Problems of exploitation, favouritism, high-handed attitude, evasion of responsibility, corruption etc
  • Indian bureaucracy has unique problems. It is by and large urban middle class, highly educated. But it serves a population who is illiterate and unaware of rules and process. This creates a feeling of frustration overtime leading to a disinterested approach towards administration.
  • Even people themselves create political pressures to ‘get work done’. They donot cooperate with honest officers who treat everyone equally. This has created a mutual trust deficit.
  • How to reconcile both? By having the right attitude on both ends. Public servants should know what the public wants and the public should respect an officer’s time.
  • For this attitude of people needs to change. They should become active participants and not passive audience in their own development. Public servants should opt for a proactive attitude and reach out to people who need administration the most. Eg. More field visits, inspections etc.

Attitude vs Aptitude

  • Aptitude is the natural ability to do something
  • Attitude is to do with character while aptitude has to do with competence.
  • Example – a public administrator may be good at problem solving (aptitude) but may have a habit of procrastinating (attitude)
  • An administrator needs the right mix of aptitude and attitude

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