Bureaucracy and Decentralisation
Central to the success of any decentralisation effort is the orientation of bureaucracy; particularly bureaucracy at the ‘cutting edge’. It is on the grooming, training, and motivation of the front-line functionaries or the customer-contact employees that the sustainability of a decentralisation plan will to a considerable degree depend. The vitality of the cutting-edge bureaucracy cannot, however, be considered in isolation; the matter ramifies into multiple directions. Illustratively, the degree of decentralisation an organisation may internally achieve. The commitment of its top-brass to empowerment of the rank-and file, and so on. These themes in return invoke yet broader dimensions connected with organisational culture, organisation development, and strategies for continual organisational renewal. Within this overarching framework, the present book examines the processes through which public bureaucracies adjust their style and substance as they brace up to meet the challenge of decentralisation. It is argued that a participation-centric bureaucracies with requirements (eg, client consultation, employees empowerment), which the latter, by virtue of being ordered along an archaic hierarchy, are unequipped to meet. And that this incompatibility will need to be removed through judicious HRD interventions to harmonise the postulates on which decentralisation rests and the assumptions on which public bureaucracies operate.
Arvind K. Sharma (b.1941) is Vice-Chancellor of the Mizoram University, which is a Central University based in Aizawl. Immediately before this, he was Professor of Public Administration at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi (July 1991-June 2001). Previously, Dr. Sharma was Professor in the North-Eastern Hill University's Mizoram Campus (July 1985-July 1991). Prior to this, he was Reader at the South Gujarat University ( 1976-1985) and Associate Professor at the University of Dares-Salaam, Tanzania (1982-1984). Dr. Sharma began his teaching career at the University of Rajasthan, where he was Lecturer during 1967-1976 period. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Birmingham, UK (1974), where he went under a British Council scholarship in 1971. Dr. Sharma is currently the President of New Public Administration Society of India.
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