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Tuesday, March 1, 2016
DECISION-MAKING AS A FACTOR IN POLITICO-ADMINISTRATIVE CULTURE BY ASHOK RANJAN BASU
Sociologists have long debated whether nature or nurture is the key to what people are and how they act. Administrative culture, in its broadest sense is understood as the modal pattern of values, beliefs, attitudes, and predispositions that characterise and identify any given administrative system. The administrative culture of any part of the globe reflects the distinctiveness and complexity of various regional, national, and local realities; their unique historical experiences, their forms of insertion. Such cultures are historical products, where past experiences, myths, and traditions have shaped modal psychological orientations. Any administrative culture is also conditioned by existing structural and conjunctional circumstances and challenges. Decision making is one of the most important aspects of administration and is greatly influenced by the prevailing politico- administrative culture of the organisation. The interdisciplinary framework of decisionmaking is one of the important aspects for any administrator for arriving at a decision. Though efforts are made to nurture the personnel system to form a homogeneous group, still the internalised behaviour pattern and the nature do continue. Besides these, the psychological factors also play a great role on the individual behaviour which affects the decision making process. The article examines the decision making process as a factor of politico-administrative culture.
THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL concept of culture, covers all facets of humans in society: knowledge, behaviour, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs, etc. (Singer, 1968). Despite some differences of emphasis, anthropologists agree that a culture is the way of life of a given society. Sociologists have long debated whether nature (our biological inheritance) or nurture (our social inheritance) is the key to what people are and how they act. Most sociologists hold that both are vital in determining individual personality and behaviour. Taylor (1913) defined culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs, and many other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Thus, Taylor’s definition contains three critical components: (i) that complex whole; (ii) acquired by man; and (iii) as a member of society. Thus, the inter-connectedness of characteristics that, together, form a culture. Political culture is defined by the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences as “the set of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments that give order and meaning to a political process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behaviour in the political system”. It encompasses both the political ideals and operating norms of a polity. Political culture is thus the manifestation in aggregate form of the psychological and subjective dimensions of politics. A political culture is the product of both the collective history of a political system and the life histories of the members of the system and thus it is rooted equally in public events and private experience”
Administrative culture, in its broadest sense is understood as the modal pattern of values, beliefs, attitudes, and predispositions that characterise and identify any given administrative system. In this inclusive definition both the private and public spheres of the managerial ethos are covered, for societies in general possess certain specific ways of “getting things done”, which transcend the official sphere. The construction of an administrative mind-set presents significant difficulties. Yet, it is possible to configure clusters of cultural matrices that have important heuristic value in understanding the relationship among contexts, structures, behaviours, and effects (Dwivedi and Nef, 1998).
Two main perspectives may assist us in understanding the politicoadministrative culture of an organisation. First, the government administration in all nations happens to be larger and more complex than any single organisation, being composed of many departments, agencies, and corporation and so on. Second, policies and administrative decisions get implemented through the state apparatus, state financial and other resources are distributed, and the entire society is affected in many ways by attending administrative culture. The behaviour of the state apparatus depends on the kind of political and administrative culture prevailing in a country. No administrative culture is monolithic; instead it is part of wider culture of a society including its constituent parts such as political, economic, social, religious, corporate, and civil society cultures. Nevertheless, it is the political culture that influences the administrative culture most because it brings its political values to modulate the behaviour of state employees. A composite administrative culture reflects the values of all constituent parts.
The administrative culture, like all cultures, is not uniform but does differ (Dwivedi and Nef, 1998). The administrative culture of any part of the globe reflects the distinctiveness and complexity of various regional, national, and local realities; their unique historical experiences, their forms of insertion. Such cultures are historical products, where past experiences, myths, and traditions have shaped modal psychological orientations. Any administrative culture is also conditioned by existing structural and conjunctional circumstances and challenges. The administrative culture is a part of a larger attitudinal matrix, containing values, practices, and orientations toward the physical environment, the economy, the social system, the polity, and cultures itself. Administrative cultures, like all cultures, are dynamic and subject to change. Syncretism, continuities, and discontinuities are part and parcel of their fabric and texture. An administrative culture is the result of a process of immersion, acculturation and socialisation, whose structural drivers are implicit as well as induced and explicit. Administrative cultures are influenced by global and regional trends. In the lesser –developed regions of the world, they are particularly derivative, reflecting a center-priphery mode of international political economy.
Riggs (1961) has drawn upon the structural–functional approach that has gained considerable currency in political science in recent times. According to this approach all societies perform an array of functions such as administrative functions, religious functions, and economic functions and so on. Societies usually have a variety of structures that perform the different functions. In traditional societies, one encounters a few structures, as a family or a leader that would be performing a whole host of functions like rule making, rule adjudication, economic allocation even medical and health administration. As society grows and develops, more and more specialised structures appear, each one of which becomes engaged in specific functions. So, differentiation of structures may be looked at as the essence of development. Using an analogy, Riggs pictures the process of differentiation as sunlight passing through a thunderstorm and appearing as a rainbow. Most traditional societies are like sunlight in its natural condition. The mixed state of structures is like pure white light-fused, according to the science of optics. These structures in the traditional societies must be torn apart to make room for more and more specialised functions in the wake of modernisation. To extend the original analogy, the thunderstorm acts as a prism to change the pure white light into a multi-coloured rainbow. As Riggs put it, traditional agricultural and folk societies, (Agraria), approximate the fused model and modern industrial societies (Industria) approach the refracted model. The former is functionally diffused, the latter functionally specific. Intermediate between these polar extremes is the prismatic model so called because of the prism through which fused light passes to become refracted.
There are numerous definitions of “culture” taken from different academic disciplines. These definitions show large similarities between them. Creating a new public administration system, reforming the remnants of the colonial civil service, and defining a new public policy agenda can be an overwhelming task for any independent country. While, in India, the colonial civil service (ICS) was externally imposed (by the former colonial power), the newly created national civil service (IAS) has to be the expression of domestic conditions, societal cultures, and national expectations. The local milieu, also, is an important factor for public policy formulation and execution. The relationship between the professional civil service and elected politicians is crucial for the definition of the political regime and the efficiency of the civil service. Although there are claims that some civil service systems are, by definition, apolitical, the politicisation of the Public Administration is difficult to avoid.
Culture and Politico-Administrative Models Despite the perception of the civil service as a monolith structure, its characteristics, texture and operating principles and procedures may vary significantly from one country to another. The nature of the politician-civil servant relationship may change due to changes in the dominant political ideology of the time or major changes in the political leadership. A brief cross-country comparison shows that two adverse processes are at work. In some countries, there is increasing political control over public administration to ensure that the bureaucracy adopts the new political signals; while in others, there appears to be a relaxation of political control in order to enable the public administration to adapt to external changes by virtue of its organisational capacities. There is also a trend of the increasing influence of civil society on the overall political system in a country.
Models of the Civil Service Theoretically the civil service systems can be classified into five groups (Peters, 1984; 1988). In the first model, the clear separation between politicians and administration exists, in which the civil servants are ready to unquestioningly follow the orders of the political appointees. The second model (called “village life”) assumes that civil servants and politicians are both part of a unified state elite and that they should not be in conflict over power within the government structure itself. The third model (called “functional village life”) assumes some degree of integration in civil service and political careers. The fourth model (named “adverse model”) assumes a significant separation between the two groups (politicians and bureaucrats), but also there is no clear resolution in their struggle for power. The fifth model assumes the clear separation between policy-makers and administration, where, however, civil servants are the dominant force (see Wilson, 1975). All these models are rather theoretical, and practice by itself shows different patterns of interaction between politicians and civil service. Models, however, represent a stylized illustration of inter-active behaviour (see Giddens, 1971). Every particular civil service system is primarily “nationally coloured” (Sevic, 1997), and the “ethos-generated” characteristics cannot be neglected or avoided.
The relationship between politicians and the civil servants is regulated by law, although in countries with long traditions of an independent civil service, informal rules play an important role. In recent years, political culture and attitudes have been given importance when analysing the politico-administrative relationship.
Heady (1996) developed a model which in many ways complements the already mentioned Peters’ model. He studies the relationship of the civil service with the political regime, finding that the civil service can be ruler responsive, single party responsive, majority party responsive and military responsive. The socio-economic context, also, influences the relationship. The civil service can operate in traditional, pluralist, competitive, mixed, corporatist and centrally planned socio-economic environments.
Focusing on personnel management, he concluded that different civil service systems can apply the following models: chief executive, independent agency, divided and ministry-by-ministry. Determining the quality of the entrance requirements, the civil service system can promote any of the following: patrimony, party loyalty, party patronage, professional performance, and bureaucratic determination. Being a social organisation the civil service must have a sense of mission which is shared within the service and can be: compliance, cooperation, policy responsiveness, constitutional responsiveness and guidance. Using the model and taking into account all policy variables enable us to determine the nature of the politico-administrative relationship in different civil service systems.
Morgan developed another model, classifying the states into three categories: integral, patrimonial, and custodial. In an integral state, the civil service is supposed to behave as a secular, rational policy instrument in the delivery of ‘development’ through government agencies or state owned enterprises (Morgan, 1996: 230). The patrimonial state is, in fact, a less effective integral state caught in the trap of a ‘clientele effect’ (clan, ethnic, religious, territorial and other segregation and/or favouritism). In the custodial state, the civil service has been seen as a protector of the very idea of state as a social institution and provides eternal stability in fairly unstable political conditions. Morgan also analysed the level of institutionalisation of nation-state, assuming that the civil service can be anti-state, pro-state, institutional- state and inchoate- state. Analysing the degree of professionalism, he related value of process and value of outcomes with professionalism and political responsiveness. Combining all these, one gets four quadrants which should cover all the existing civil service systems. According to Morgan, the first quadrant is the pragmatic field, the second is the patrimonial field, while the third is the positivist field and finally, the fourth is the absolutist field.
With this theoretical input the author examines the impact of decisionmaking as a factor in the existing politico-administrative culture in India.
The 21st Century has witnessed tremendous changes in India, as in the world in general. There have been regular attempts at administrative reforms and innovation, both at the Centre and in the states, including starting of new institutions and systems in India since 1947. Further, besides persistence of problems of administration with increasing severity, we have also witnessed in succeeding decades acceleration in the process of degeneration in our socio-economic, political and administrative scenario. There are many other burning issues also, such as lack of propriety in the exercise of administrative discretion; paralysis of political will and capacity for decision making; mounting administrative corruption and political venality, leading to erosion in the credibility and effectiveness of democratic institutions.
Decision making is one of the most important aspects of administration and is greatly influenced by the prevailing politico- administrative culture of the organisation. There are various factors which influence the process of decision making. The interdisciplinary framework of decision making is one of the important aspects for any administrator for arriving at a decision.
The decisions affect and are affected by political, economic, social and the cultural factors prevailing in the environment. Therefore, the decision making must be suited to the environment. A continuing situation of necessary interaction between an organisation and its environment introduces an element of environmental control into the organisation. Therefore, it is useful to consult the people interested in the decisions such as interest groups and pressure groups. As problems and issues become more complex, tools for analysis and decision making will have even greater impact. Experience tells us that higher the state of economic development, the greater is the need for managers equipped with tools and techniques useful in decision making. Rising income will permit expanded consumption and this will lead to higher standard of living. We will become more organised society and will depend more upon complex organisations to accomplish our goals. The social idea of democratic participation, the rise of individualism and individual freedom and increasing self actualisation will become a more central part of our lives, both as consumers and as an organised society.
Organisations will make increasing use of formal techniques modelling in an attempt to describe their environments and develop intelligent rules to cope with environmental problems. There can be three decision environments, together with a scale of decision difficulty. Certainty is the condition where the outcome is specified; risk is the condition where the possible outcomes can be specified by a probability distribution; uncertainty indicates no knowledge of the likelihood of the various outcomes. Decision makers have to function in three types of environments. In each of these environments, knowledge of the state of affairs differs.
Decision making under conditions of certainty: In this environment, only one state of nature exists, that is, there is complete certainty about the future. Although this environment sometimes exists, it is usually associated with very routine decisions involving fairly inconsequential issues; even here it is impossible to guarantee complete certainty about the future. The techniques of Cost Benefit Analysis, Marginal Analysis, and Net work analysis are useful in decision making process.
Decision making under the conditions of uncertainty: Here more than one state of nature exists, but the decision maker has no knowledge about the various states, not even sufficient knowledge to permit the assignment of probabilities to the state of nature. The Utility theory, Preference theory, Decision trees, etc. are useful in decision making process.
Decision making under the conditions of risk: In this situation, more than one state of nature exists, but the decision maker has information which will support the assignment of probability values to each of the possible states. The techniques of O.R. are useful in decision making process.
Having explained the concept of culture, and the process of decisionmaking, it is now important to study about the personnel who are involved in the decision making process.
Personnel System– The Environmental Context Environment is one of the most important aspects in any study of social situations. When we consider administration, “environment “is not this physical environment but it comprises the numerous non-physical relationships which man has created for himself. Therefore, the term “environment” has a different connotation and distinctive characteristics. In nature, environment is an integral part and is unchangeable; in the context of administration, environment is man’s own creation. Even the man made environment may be unchangeable for many purposes. In certain circumstances, it may acquire some of the characteristics of the natural environment itself.
Personnel System is the instrument of public administration of the State. This system comes in contact with the individual citizen through individuals who are members of the system itself. It is here the “environment” and the “institutionalised form of the State” interacts and influences each other. For understanding the nature of the interaction, it will be necessary to trace the succession of linkages from “individual” to “environment“on the one hand and from the” individual” to the “system” on the other. This is a circular chain which may be roughly represented as follows:
“Individual” ---- “environmental context”--- “organised state”---- “personnel system”---- “individual”
Any change at any point will influence the entire chain, the intensity at any point depending on the strength of the change element.
The first concrete manifestation of the environmental context is the “time spirit” prevailing in the society which represents the sum total of the social phenomenon or the prevailing ethos in the community assimilating within itself the social, cultural and religious heritage. “Time spirit” is the first stage in approaching the personnel system from the environment end. If we proceed further, we reach the socio-economic situation in the second stage; thereafter there is the political system and finally, the administrative system. Thus we have the successive linkages as in the following sequence:
Environment --- time spirit--- socio-economic situation---political system--- personnel
The scope of socio-economic situation is narrower. The political system can be said to be part of the socio-economic situation, but the two, in some respects and to some extent, are independent as well. Political system, to a large extent, depends on the socio-economic matrix of community but the political system, in turn, influences the socio-economic situation itself. Similar mutual relationship can also be seen between the political system and administrative system. In this chain of elements, when change takes place at any point, it manifests itself in all other elements depending on the strength of casual links.
Personnel System Let us now proceed in other direction to trace the stages from the “personnel” system end to the “individual” with reference to whom all processes have to be finally interpreted. We find two elements, viz. (i) personnel structure and (ii) human element. These two elements are further connected by another element “personnel technique”. The characteristics of human element are determined by the group of individuals who man the personnel system. When we study the personnel system in the context of environment, we are really studying the interaction of this sub group with the larger society of which it is a sub group. The above three elements in the personnel system and individual chain are mutually related and influence each other. Personnel techniques are devised with reference to the personnel structure. Similarly, the personnel techniques themselves, in their turn, influence the personnel structure (Sharma, 1976).
Let us further consider the inter-relationship between the human element and personnel techniques. The method of recruitment and the qualifications prescribed are two important factors of personnel techniques. Minimum qualifications determine the sub group from which the human element can be drawn. Let us now understand the process of interaction between the environments and the personnel system. We have noted that the personnel system itself is determined by the administrative system. In fact, personnel structure is a function of administrative system. On the other hand, the administrative system itself will be influenced by the personnel structure. The administrative system, in a way, is midpoint between the environment and the human element. Perhaps, the administrative system goes to determine environmental conditions for the personnel system. Thus, we find a continuing relationship starting from the environmental context through the personnel system to the human element. From the environmental context end, we first come to the time spirit, then we reach socio-economic matrix, political system, administrative system, personnel structure, personnel techniques and finally the human element (Fig.1). In the final analysis we want to study the interaction between this sub group comprising the human element and the environment or the prevailing ethos in the society. In fact we arrive at different groups of individuals and our problem is reduced to the study of relationship between a smaller group as defined by personnel system and the larger community within which it operates.
Internalised Behaviour Pattern– Its Significance It is the time spirit that determines the value system of an individual and, therefore, influences his internalised behaviour pattern without any reference to the role imposed by the membership of an organisation. Another important determinant of the quality of interaction between the environment and the personnel system is the role perspective of the individual himself. Sometimes, normative behaviour patterns for members of different groups are also informally defined. However, unlike the internalised value system, the roles are externally determined and superimposed on the individual. Sometimes, we may find clash between one’s value system and the prescribed role. In real world situation, every individual member, subject to some constrains, become a central figure in the interaction game. Man’s relationship with man, his value system, role perception of each individual, prescribed formal roles, etc. are important elements which determine the quality of interaction.
To understand the character of the composition of personnel system we will have to consider two aspects, viz. initial recruitment and turnover which are important in relation to the interaction between the personnel system and the community. Internalised value system, which determines the quality of interaction, depends to a large extent on the initial constitution of the service and its turnover. Initial recruitment defines the cross-section of the community from which the group is drawn. Extent of uniformity and continuity in a civil servant's career determines his capacity of objective perception to different life situations. If the turnover in civil service is small, the continuing influence on individual members as the part of the larger social system is minimal. If the turnover is fast, service traditions will tend to be weak. Individual members of the group and, therefore the group itself, continue to renew their contact with the larger society. The internalised value system of each member is continuously affected by what is happening outside. In India, where there is little turnover, we find the element of renewing contact with the society, which is an advantage of quicker turnover, is sought to be built into it brought other devices (Sharma,1976). Personnel system or bureaucracy is a groups which a collection of persons perceived to form a coherent unit to some degree. Groups influence their members in many ways, but such effects are often produced through roles, status, norms and cohesiveness.
Psychologically, the decision making process depends on the: (i) personality, (ii) motivation, (iii) attitude and (iv) environment. The decision making capacity of an individual is greatly influenced by his level of achievement (achievement oriented), level of affiliation (affiliation oriented), his need to seek power (power oriented) and his need to stay in group (gregarious oriented). Those who are high in level of achievement or power are Type A personality whereas others are Type B personality.
The next important aspect is the level of motivation of an individual. An individual takes a decision depending on his level of motivation and type of motivation. Motivation is the process by which activities are started, directed and sustained so that physical and psychological needs are fulfilled. Extrinsic type of motivation is in which a person performs an action because it leads to an outcome that is separate from or external to the person. Motivation depends on his external motivation (rewards/perks) or internal motivation (satisfaction).
Personality is the unique way by virtue of which individuals think, feel and act. It is different from character and temperament but includes those aspects. The four perspectives of personality are the psychoanalytic, behaviouristic (including social cognitive theory) humanistic and trait perspectives
Attitudes are evaluations of any aspect of the social world. The attitude can be positive, negative or ambivalent. Attitudes are often acquired from other persons through social learning. Such learning can involve classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning or observational learning. Attitudes are also formed on the basis of social comparison– our tendency to compare ourselves with others to determine whether our view of social reality is or is not correct. Studies conducted with identical twins suggest that attitudes may also be influenced by genetic factor, although the magnitude of such effects varies greatly for different attitudes.
Social influence is the efforts by one or more persons to change the attitudes or behaviour of one or more other – is also a common part of life. Most people behave in accordance with social norms most of the time; in other words they show strong tendencies of conformity. Many factors determine whether and to what extent, conformity occurs. These include cohesiveness- the degree of attraction felt by an individual towards some group–group size and type of social norm operating in that situation– descriptive or injunctive. We are most likely to behave in ways consistent with norms when they are relevant to us. Although pressure towards conformity is strong, many persons resist them, at least part of the time. This resistance seems to stem from two strong motives; the desire to retain one’s individuality, and then to desire to exert control over one’s own life. The last is the environment which can be either harmonious or stressful. All these, have direct impact in the decision making ability of the individuals who constitute the personnel system.
Stratification within the Personnel System The personnel system or the civil service is not a single homogeneous entity. The system is divided both by vertical as well as horizontal lines and there are numerous groups within it. The composition of different sub groups within the same personnel system in terms of their social background may be entirely different. Each group will have its own value systems, its own aspirations and, therefore, would have qualitatively an entirely different response to any situation. Each group would, therefore, require different consideration. We can identify broadly three types:
Type-A: The entire civil service is drawn from a wide social spectrum. The area of informal contact is universal and co-extensive with the system itself. The civil services in the urban, particularly metropolitan areas approximate to this type.
Type-B: A part of the civil service (or higher sub group) is drawn from higher strata in the society. It has a limited turnover. Other subgroups are drawn from a wider cross section and the turnover is large. In this case the area of informal contact of the civil service system with the society is larger than A.
Type-C: The whole civil service is drawn from a limited cross section of society and there is limited turnover after initial recruitment. Or, the initial recruitment may be from a wider spectrum but afterwards there is purposive insulation. There is practically no area of informal contact between the personnel system and the society.
If we move from this highly urbanised environment to the general environmental context, i.e. to small towns, etc.(Type B) we find the personnel structure up to particular level may have a representative cross section of the community except for the lowest sub groups.
In the extreme backward area (Type C) the personnel structure is largely alien to the local community and in a way may be a replica of the old colonial and feudal system. Even the lowest member of the personnel system may consider himself superior to the highest in the local community and take pride in not belonging to it.
Thus we see that neither the environments nor the personnel system is homogeneous. The personnel system which is drawn for the country as a whole comprises of diverse culture, religion, caste, tribes and social background. Though efforts are made to bring some sort of homogeneity depending on minimum educational qualifications and training which Riggs refers to improvement, it seems that the social, regional, religious background have still a great say in their “nurturing”, attitude and behaviour which greatly influences the decision making capability in various ethnic groups. Having explained the interaction/relationship between the personnel system and the citizen/community and the problems there to, in the decision making process, it is necessary to consider some other barriers to decision making process.
Social Stratification and its Implications In India, as in many other third world countries, the environment is also not uniform. We have advanced regions, where the prevailing ethos may be equalitarian and democratic. On the other extreme, there may be some regions where the old feudalistic or colonial traditions may be holding ground. This difference may persist notwithstanding the prevalence of a uniform political and administrative system throughout. We have already noted that the personnel system itself is heterogeneous in terms of the social background of its numerous sub groups. Thus the interaction between the personnel system which has been devised for the country as a whole and the environment which differs from place to place is not the same (Basu, 1985).
In urban metropolitan centres the civil service sub group is not placed at the top of the socio-economic system and is almost indistinguishable from the general population. It is the political, industrial or commercial groups which occupy the top position. If we move from this highly urbanised environment to the general environmental context, i.e. to small towns, etc. (Type B) we find the personnel structure up to particular level may have a representative cross-section of the community except for the lowest sub groups.
Other barriers to decision making process: (i) Perceptual Blocks: This exists when one is unable to clearly perceive a problem or the information needed to solve it effectively. They include: (a) seeing only what one expects to see; (b) Stereotyping; (c) Not recognising problems; (d) Not seeing the problem in perspective; and (e) Mistaking cause and effect.
(ii) Emotional Blocks: Emotional blocks exist when one perceive a threat to one’s emotional needs. These include: (a) Fear of making mistakes; (b) Impatience; (c) Avoiding anxiety; (d) Fear of taking risks; (e) Need for order; and (f) lack of challenge.
(iii) Intellectual Blocks: Intellectual blocks exist when one does not have necessary thinking skills to find successful solutions or is unable to use them effectively. They include: (a) lack of knowledge or skill in the problem solving process; (b) lack of creative thinking; (c) inflexible thinking; (d) not being methodical; (e) lack of knowledge or skill in using the “language” of the problem; and (f) using inadequate information.
(iv) Expressive Blocks: Expressive blocks arise when one is unable to communicate in the way required to produce an effective solution. They include: (a) using the wrong language; (b) unfamiliarity with a particular application of a language; (c) a passive management style; and (d) a dominant management style.
(v) Environmental Blocks: Environmental blocks are caused by external obstacles in the social or psychological environment, which prevents one from solving a problem effectively. Environmental blocks, which exist when the social or physical environment hinders our problem solving, include: (i) management style; (ii) distractions; (iii) physical discomfort; (iv) lack of support; (v) stress; (vi) lack of communication; (vii) monotonous work; and (viii) Expectations of others.
(vi) Cultural Blocks: Cultural blocks result from our conditioning to accept what is expected or normal in a given situation. Cultural blocks exist when our problem solving is hindered by accepting that some things are good or right and are done, while others are bad or wrong and are not done. So that we become bound by custom. They include: (i) unquestioning acceptance of the status quo; (ii) dislike of change; (iii) Fantasy and humour are not productive; (iv) Feelings, intuition and subjective judgements are unreliable; (v) over-emphasis on competition or cooperation; and (vi) taboos.
Decision making, however, is not a matter of mere formal system. It is also a matter of attitude of people who work in the system. If they are motivated by will to achieve, desire to deliver the goods, to show results, if they have a sense of urgency, a sense of function and commitment, then they will look at everything positively and try to make decisions rather than delay them. If on the other hand, they are lazy, sluggish and indolent, if they only wish to play safe, to shirk responsibility and pass on the buck to others, then they will make references which are not needed which results in delay and loss of public interest (Dubhashi- 1976).
In the workforce today, organisations are now structured in a way that almost everyone has some level of decision making ability. Whether the decisions are big or small, they have a direct impact on how successful, efficient and effective individuals are on the job. As a result, it is becoming more and more important for employees to focus on and improve their decision making abilities.
This may seem as simple as learning from our mistakes, but it really starts at a much deeper level. Making better decisions starts with understanding one’s own Emotional Quotient (EQ).While it is often misunderstood as Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient is different because instead of measuring one's general intelligence, it measures one's emotional intelligence. Emotional Quotient is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity
Social Intelligence Quotient (SQ) The social intelligence quotient or SQ is a statistical abstraction similar to the ‘standard score’ approach used in IQ tests with a mean of 100. Unlike the standard IQ test, it is not a fixed model. It leans more to Jean Piaget’s theory that intelligence is not a fixed attribute but a complex hierarchy of information-processing skills underlying an adaptive equilibrium between the individual and the environment. Therefore, an individual can change their SQ by altering their attitudes and behaviour in response to their complex social environment
Differences from Intelligence Professor Nicholas Humphrey points to a difference between intelligence and social intelligence. Some autistic children are extremely intelligent because they are very good at observing and memorising information, but they have low social intelligence. Similarly, chimpanzees are very adept at observation and memorisation, sometimes better than humans, but are inept at handling interpersonal relationships. What they lack is a theory of other people’s minds. Both Nicholas Humphrey and Ross Honeywell believe that it is social intelligence, or the richness of our qualitative life, rather than our quantitative intelligence, that makes humans what they are; for example what it is like to be a human being living at the centre of the conscious present, surrounded by smells and tastes and feels and the sense of being an extraordinary metaphysical entity with properties which hardly seem to belong to the physical world. This is social intelligence.
Let us now examine how the processes of training, human resource development or capacity building or improvements are made to overcome these shortcomings discussed above. The main aim of training is to develop skills, i.e. professional skills, behavioural skills and conceptual skills. Training helps the entrants by inculcating occupational skill and knowledge, making him familiar with the objective of the department to which he belongs. The process of training adjusts the employee to his new environment. Training makes up for any deficiency of the recruits. It helps the employees to keep themselves aware of the latest development.
The influence of training in overcoming the impediment caused by the social, economic and cultural background of the officers is of great relevance. For this purpose the elite group of officers in Himachal Pradesh has been taken as a sample, interviewed and efforts have been made to analyse their behaviour and decision making skills in different administrative and social environment.
There are a total of 103 officers out of whom 88 (85%) are males and 15(15%) are females. There are three(2.9%) Muslim (male) officers. The number of Scheduled Caste Officers is nine and the number of ST Officers is 11, respectively. Out of the 103 officers there are 12 Ph.Ds, five M.Tech.s, three L.L.M.s, 11 M.B.A.s, 34 M.A.s, eight M.Sc.s, one M.Com, one M.B.B.S, 18 B.E.s, 20 L.L.B.s, and rest are graduates. It revealed that at present the officers of IAS have to undergo five phases of compulsory training. After undergoing training at the Academy at Mussoorie, they are sent for District Training at the state of allotment during the 1st phase of training. Thereafter they go back to the academy for the second phase of training. After completion of nine years of service they again undergo third phase of training at the Academy. The fourth phase of training is after the completion of 15 years of service and the 5th phase is after 25 years of service. However, besides these, the officers are sent for various trainings both within and outside the country
During the study it was revealed that most of the officers (85%) were of the view that training is necessary and it keeps them aware of the latest thinking and techniques of administration. They were of the view that it improves their thinking and professional skills as well. However, the majority (72%) were of the view that it had not been possible to use the various techniques in their day-to-day decision making process. The reason for the same were many and varied as the general set up was not conducive for application of the managerial decision making process. However, an interesting view was provided by one very senior officer who expressed his doubt about the efficacy of training in the decision making process. He was of the view that though in the Academy and during service career the officers are exposed to various training courses, the subsequent use of these techniques are largely individual based depending on their qualifications, background, attitudes, etc. Another important fact revealed was that the relatively junior officers were more interested in training compared to their senior colleagues. However, there was a majority (65%) feeling that the existing training is more oriented towards professional skill development and conceptual development as compared to the behavioural development aspect. There is no conscious effort to make the personnel system more homogeneous. It was reported that it is automatically developed by becoming a member of the common service, same cadre, and postings in different areas and by common training, etc. There are not many exposures to the cultures, norms, mores values and to the exposures to the background of other religious/ethnic groups. It is well to bear in mind that the ultimate success of training rests upon a wise recruitment policy, for training cannot rectify the original error. Nor can training endow its recipient with the flair for administration, which is something inborn. This flair may be stipulated, but it cannot be artificially acquired.
Relationship between Civil Servants and Politicians The study conducted by Kothari and Roy (1969), though dated, is relevant even now and furnishes some penetrating insights into the existing relationships between politicians and the administrators at the district level. Even though the administrators would like to use their better judgements to meet the demand of the local situations, they have a propensity to give precedence to the bureaucratic rules, regulation and procedures. They try to preserve the bureaucratic autonomy and hierarchy from the pressures of the political leaders. They do seek support of the political leaders and try to establish good relations with them but their effort in this direction is much less than that of political leaders. Administrators do not perceive it as their role to modify the policy decisions on the advice of the political leaders, nor do they allow the different socio-economic interests to influence bureaucratic decisions. The adverse evaluation of each other by the political leaders and the administrators appears to arise from the insufficient understanding and appreciation of each other’s role.
We have discussed the various psychological and sociological factors/ barriers that influence the attitudes, behaviour and other aspects of the personnel system. Similarly, the knowledge, skill, political and socioeconomic system of the prevailing environment also have a great impact on the decision making process. The politico-administrative culture has a great role in influencing the decision making process. The administrative environment in this country is not uniform. The society is also heterogeneous consisting of various linguistic, religious and ethnic groups each having their own ethos, norms, mores and values which influences the public values in their own way. The diverse political parties have their own agenda and aspirations and influence the decision-making process to suit their own goals. The personnel sub groups drawn from the society also bring with them their traditions, attitudes and aspirations. Though efforts are made to nurture them to form a homogeneous group, still the internalised behaviour pattern and the nature do continue. Besides these the psychological factors also play a great role on the individual behaviour which affects the decision making process. The public values, citizen administration relationships, administrator - political relationship influences the decision making process. Though there are various models for improving the services and the decision making process, the existing culture, aspirations of the public, public values, internalised behaviour pattern of the bureaucracy, politicoadministrative relationship are of prime importance in the decision making process. The more efficient and effective use of the existing personnel system, wise recruitment policy, clearing up of relationship between the political appointees and the professional civil servants and improving their capacity building is of crucial importance.