Principles of Organisation

Principles of Organisation:

The organization is the basis of all administration. An administration is always an organized administration. It is through its organization that the duties and responsibilities of the personnel are arranged and performed in such a way as to accomplish the assigned purpose. It involves cooperative efforts made by a number of personnel to achieve some purpose. The personnel and their efforts have to be systematically coordinated for this purpose. The organization is the basic system through which the personnel, their efforts, and their work are coordinated and operationalized for securing the purpose. All this is done on the basis of several well-recognized principles. These are based on the theory and experience of administration.

There are several principles of organization. By a principle is meant as “a standard accepted as a guide to action.” The acceptance is based on experience and expertise. “They”, as L. D. White observes, “suggest only working rules of conduct which wide experience seems to have validated.” In the words of Henry Fayol, “These principles are acknowledged truths, regarded as proven on which one can rely.”

There are several agreed and accepted principles of organization. However, it must also be stated that the principles of organization are not axioms or laws like the laws of natural sciences which are universal and remain uniform at all times and at all places. The principles of an organization are generally valid. But their practice can differ from place to place and even from time to time. However, the difference is often of degree and not of kind. They are not as exact as the principles of natural sciences. Their exact formulation, as Simon remarks, is both difficult and controversial. Yet, as Dimock and several other writers observe, “It is possible to list several principles of organization that are not too rigid and that apply to all kinds of organizations.”

The credit for suggesting, the principles of Public Administration for the first time belongs to W. F. Willoughby. After him, several scholars have tried to give a list of the principles of organization.

Harvey Walker identifies three principles of organization:

  • Administration may be most efficiently organized by functions.
  • Every officer should be responsible for public control.
  • Staff and Line activities should be separated.

R. Warner lists eight principles of Organization:

  • Political Direction.
  • Political Responsibility.
  • Social Necessity.
  • Efficiency.
  • Organization.
  • Public Relations.
  • Evolution or Progress.
  • Research.

J. M. Pfiffner also mentions eight principles of Organization:

  • Hierarchy.
  • Answerability.
  • Functional Departmentalism.
  • Span of Control.
  • Self-contained departments and Coordination.
  • Staff service both general and auxiliary.
  • Distinction between Line and Staff.
  • Personnel and Finance directly under the chief administrative officer.

L. D. White accepts the following as the seven principles of Organization:

  • Authority to determine Organization.
  • Doctrine of Unity of Command.
  • The Formation of Departments.
  • Line, Auxiliary, and Staff Agencies.
  • Hierarchy.
  • Location and Delegation of Authority, and
  • Coordination, Position and Search for Principles.

No single author has formulated these principles. These have been discovered and formulated by the practice and experience of generations of human beings in several centuries and in many countries. Their acceptance as useful and essential principles has made them valid. They represent the wisdom and experience of the great masters of Public Administration and the great administrators.

Taking into account all these views, the following major principles of organization can be identified:

The Principle of Hierarchy is a universally recognized principle of organization. It stands for an ordered structure of inferior and superior beings on an ascending scale. The good chief dwells at the apex, from which, with his terrible eye, he can reach out to the hearts of his lowest subordinates ad move their deeds to his command. It established the superior-subordinate relationship in the structure of the organization. The principle of the Span of Control refers to the issue of the number of subordinates that an officer can or should command and control. Unity of Command lays down that each subordinate should be under the command of a single officer or office. Coordination stands for the principle of securing orderly and harmonious relations among all the parts of the organization. Delegation is the principle that guides the process of delegation of authority and powers by an authority holder to his subordinates. The principle of authority is inseparably related to the principle of responsibility and the latter means that each personnel exercising authority is also responsible for his acts of commission and ommission. The principle of centralization stands for keeping the authority structure limited to only a few top-level offices while the principle of decentralization stands for the distribution of authority to several, maybe all, parts of the organization. Finally, supervision means that the work of each personnel should be subject to the supervision and control of a higher officer.

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