Restructuring public systems through administrative innovations: will civil service respond
Gupta, Anil K.
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When the role of the state is being redefined in the wake of recent economic crisis, a discussion on making public systems and enterprises more responsive to social concerns may be quite appropriate. But that was not the only reason for taking upon this initiative of bringing out a special issue of Administrator (Journal of LBS Academy, Mussoorie) on innovations by administrators. I think like any other subsystem of society, bureaucracy is also ridden with conflicts. While majority may be averse to any change for the better, some do care (just like in any other system). I have no doubt that in any major restructuring in society, the role of even such odd balls may be marginal. But some of them can enlarge their role. Whether they will or not depends upon how crucial and powerful they consider their marginal position to be. Not all those who attempt change are marginalized. Some get Padam Shree (State honour) for their 'distinguished' service. What are the factors which lead state to incorporate certain type of changes and reject others is not too difficult to speculate. I look into the factors which effect the transition of an idea into initiative, innovation and finally into institutionalization. Barriers to innovations have been looked at separately (Gupta, 1982) though briefly are reviewed here too. Not every innovation needs to be institutionalized into the person of the innovator. This is an insight which, perhaps, helps in taking us away from the common refrain in literature about perceived frustration of the researchers on the subject. The paper is organised into 3 parts. In part one, I look into the possible reasons for administrators to take initiatives. In part two, I present an overview of some of the change experiences covered by the authors in the special volume of Administrator, as well as some other experiences not covered. Finallly, I summarize a few lessons for further exploration.
- Working Papers