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Administrative Thoughts Questions UPSC IAS Public Administration

Administrative Thoughts Questions UPSC IAS Public Administration

Administrative Thoughts

These are the questions which were asked in previous years public administration mains exams. This will help you to develop writing skills, way of studying.

      Scientific Management and Scientific Management Movement

  1. “ Tylor’s contribution was not a set of general principles for organizing work efficiency, but a set of operating procedures that could be employed in each concrete situation to secure their application.”
  2. “Tylor’s Scientific Management ignored social and psychological factors.”
  3. “Tylor’s Scientific Management already offered a ‘humanistic’ theory of motivation, with its democratic and participatory emphases, that was hardly improved on by Elton Mayo and others.”
  4. “Tylor’s Scientific Management had a major influence on the growing reform and economy movements in public administration.” Comment.
  5. “Scientific Management is a primitive tool for industrial polyarchies” (Dahl). Explain.administrative thoughts


                       Classical Theory

  1. Explain the ‘Peter Principle’ in respect of promotion policy in a hierarchical organisation.
  2. Discuss the main approaches to increase the efficiency of the government and public administration.
  3. Critically examine the Classical Science of Administration with special reference to its criticism by Dwight Waldo and Robert Dhal.
  4. “The failure of classical science of administration lies in its capacity to confront theory with evidence.” Discuss.
  5. In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to its level of incompetence. Comment.
  6. Although the theory of V.A. Graicunas is admittedly crude, it is useful as reference against which variations between organisations can be examined. Comment.
  7. Compare the relative merits of the classical theory of organisation and the systems approach.
  8. Elucidate whether increasing organizational size gives rise to dialectical forces having opposite organization effects.
  9. “Managing means looking ahead, which makes the process of prevoyance a central business activity.” Comment.
  10. Describe the institutional and organisational consequences of delegation of authority.
  11. ‘The law of Graicunas about the span of relationships in an organisation states a partial truth.’ Comment.


Weber’s Bureaucratic model – its critique and    post-Weberian Developments


  1. Consider the statement below:
  • “Technically the bureaucracy represents the purest type of legal-rational authority.”
  • “Bureaucracy does not represent the only type of legal authority.”
  1. Identify the theoretical context and analyse the above statements.
  2. Weber’s ideas of impersonal detachment and esprit de corps are incomplete. Explain.
  3. “Bureaucracy can exist only where the whole service of the state is removed from the common political life of the people, its chiefs as well as rank and file. Its motives, its objectives, its policy, its standards must be bureaucratic”.—Discuss.
  4. “Weberian model of bureaucracy lacks empirically validity when applied to modern democratic administration.” Examine.
  5. Critically examine the models of Max Weber and Chester I Barnard with reference to ‘bureaucratic authority’.
  6. “It is not but strong bureaucracy that create concern in democracy”. Comment.
  7. “Once fully established, bureaucracy is among those social structures which are the hardest to destroy.” Comment.
  8. Bureaucracy is “a system of government the control of which is so completely in the hands of officials that their power jeopardizes the liberties of ordinary citizens.” Comment.
  9. “The transition to a study of the negatives aspects of bureaucracy is afforded by the application of the Veblen’s concept of trained incapacity.” Examine.
  10. ‘Bureaucracy thrives under the clock of ministerial responsibility in a parliamentary democracy.” Comme
  11. For charisma to be transformed into a permanent routine structure, it is necessary that its anti economic character should be altered. (Weber). Comment.
  12. “Hierarchy of authority and the system of rules ensure the depersonalization and efficiency.” (Max Weber). Comment.


                       Dynamic Administration

                        (Mary Parker Follett)

  1. Critically examine conflict resolution according to M.P. Follett. Explain how McGregor took forward her ideas to the context of complex organizations.
  2. “Mary Parker Follett was far ahead of her times.” Discuss.
  3. “The main problem with Mary Parker Follett’s work is that her idealism is showing.” Explain.
  4. In Follett’s view, “authority belongs to the job and stays with the job.” Explain.


                 Human Relations School

                (Elton Mayo and others)


  1. To what extent has the human relations movement contributed to the knowledge and practice within the field of personnel administration?
  2. Explain the contribution of George Elton Mayo to the development of the Human Relations School. How did the behavioural scientists modify their basic findings?
  3. Examine the basic postulates of the Human Relations Theory and show how far it differs from the classical theory of organisations.
  4. “The Hawthorne researches demonstrate the need to analyse organisations as living social structures.” Comment.
  5. Evaluate the contributions of George Elton Mayo to Administrative organisation. Do you consider his contributions as great innovations of modern times?
  6. ‘Mayo was a behavioural scientist long before the term became popular.’ Comment.
  7. “From Taylorism to Mayoism the organisation theory has travelled a long road in quest of Organisational Effectiveness.” Comment.
  8. “Many problems of Worker-Management co-operation were the results of the emotionally based attitudes of the workers rather than objective difficulties if the situation.”   (Elton Mayo). Comment.


Functions of the Executives

                                   ( C.I. Barnard)


  1.  “The Barnard-Simon Theory of Organisation is essentially a theory of motivation.” Comment.
  2. “Organisation is a system id consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more persons.” Comment.
  3. ‘The inculcation of belief in the real existence of a common purpose is an essential executive function.’ Comment.
  4. …. “a more thorough consideration leads to the understanding that communication, authority, specialization and purpose are all aspects comprehended in coordination.” (Chester I Barnard) Comment.
  5. Why is it that the behavioural approach to the study of organisations is a continuous phenomenon?  Discuss Chester Barnard’s contributions to this approach.
  6. Show how Barnard while analysing the multiplicity of satisfactions, clearly identifies four specific inducements.


Simon’s decision-making theory


  1. “Simon’s identifying decision-making as the core field of the public administration appears logically acceptable but his positivist understanding is problematic.” Critically examine the statement.
  2. “Simon’s work has had major implications for the study of public administration and the practice of public administration professionalism.” Comment.
  3. The ‘decision-making scheme and ‘satisfying model of Herbert A Simon is the major component of the administrative theory. Comment.
  4. “Administrative efficiency is enhanced by keeping at a minimum the number of organisational levels through which a matter must pass before it is acted upon.”—(Herbert a Simon) Comment.
  5. “The basic question in the relationship between political and permanent executives is the separation of the facts and values at operational level.” Comment.
  6. “The study of decision-making is proceeding in so many directions that we can lose sight of the basic administrative processes that Barnard and Simon were trying to describe and that so many men have been  trying to improve.” Elucidate.
  7. “As March and Simon point out, there seems to exist a ‘Gresham’s Law of decision making.” Explain.


  1. “Though somewhat unwittingly, Hebert Simon and James Mach have provided the muscle and the flesh to the Weberian (bureaucratic) skeleton.” Comment.
  2. ‘Simon explains that decision-making basically involves choice between alternative plans of action and choice in turn, involves facts and values.’ Comment.
  3. Argue for and against the Simonian perspective that the “decisional science envelops decisional structure, decisions and their feedback not in an integrated manner but anything other than that.”


  1. Discuss the Simonian concept of the ‘satisfying’ as a bridge between rational and non rational perspectives on organisations.


  1. ‘The first stage (in administrative decision-making) is what I call “Intelligence”, the second represents “Designin” and the last stage is “choice”. Critically examine the Simonian Model of Relational Decision-Making in administration.



                 Participative Management

                (R.Likert, C.Argyris, D.McGregor)


  1. “In McGregor’s view, the managerial cosmology meaningfully addresses the understanding of manager and his role perceptions.” Explain.
  2. “The successful management leaders are found in Likert’s ‘System -4’ approach to organisational leadership.” Examine.
  3. Analyse McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. Do you agree with the view that with every passing year, McGregor’s message has become more relevant and more important? Substantiate your answer.


                  Systems Approach

  1. The systems approach is relevant even today got organisational analysis. Discuss how Chester Barnard and David Easton adopted this approach in their respective areas of study.


  1. “That is, to be a successful administrator one must have catholic curiosity.” Comment.
  2. ‘The Chief Executive is a trouble-shooter, a supervisor, and a promoter of the future programme.’ Comment.




















Also Visit the article on Administrative Thinkers Notes

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