Development Administration


What is Development Administration?

Development administration is a dynamic concept which brings about socio-economic and politico-economic changes in society.

Aiming towards development, it strives for change, growth, progress and overall development in every sphere of a country. It was first introduced by Edward W. Weidner.

Edward WeidnerOpens in new window defined development administration as “an action-oriented, goal-oriented administrative system”.

In addition, he observed that development administration is the process of guiding an organization towards the achievement of progressive political, economic and social objectives that are authoritatively determined in one manner or another.

Different authors have also shared variant definitions of development administration, some are as follows:


Development administration is a carrier of innovating value. It embraces the array of new functions assumed by developing countries embarking on the path of modernization and industrialization. Development administration ordinarily involves establishment of machinery for planning, economic growth and mobilization and allocating resources to extend national income.

G.F. Gont

Development administration is that aspect of public administration in which the focus of attention is on organizing and administering public agencies in such a way as to stimulate and facilitate defined program of social and economic progress. It has the purpose of making change attractive and possible to the population generally.

J.D. Montgomery

Development administration means carrying out planned change in economy (agriculture, industry and capital), and to a lesser extent in the social service of the state (education and health).

In all these definitions above, the following concepts can be pointedly observed:

  • It is a process to move towards higher position.
  • It is a perpetual and a dynamic process.
  • It is a joint effort for the achievement of determined goals.
  • It is a work-oriented and goal-oriented administration.
  • It is a significant instrument to solve the diverse problems of the third world.
  • It is not only the administration of development but also the development of administration.
  • It is an administrative machinery for a change and modernization of Third World societies.)

According to the eminent author, Ramesh K. Arora, the term development administration has been used in two interrelated senses.

  1. First, it refers to the administration of development programmes, to the methods used by large-scale organizations, notably governments, to implement policies and plans designed to meet their developmental objectives.
  2. Second, it indirectly involves the strengthening of administrative capabilities.

These two aspects of development administration, that is, the administration of development and the development of administration (or administrative development) are intertwined in most definitions of the term. The concepts support each other, as the development of administration is needed for the administration of development.

In Riggs's opinion, development administration (administration of development) and administrative development (development of administration) have a chicken-and-egg kind of relationship. Superiority of one concept over the other cannot be established. — (Administrative Theory, Pardeep Sahni, Etakula Vayunandan)

The following are the characteristics of development administration:
  1. Change-oriented — The distinctive feature of development administration is its central aim oriented towards socio-economic change. This is the dynamism with which development administration is distinguished from the conventional administration which is primarily oriented towards the maintenance of the status quo.
  2. Result-oriented — Development administration is aimed at achieving result; for it strives to bring about rapid changes within a definite time schedule. Its performance is directly related to productivity, for example, increase in per capita income.
  1. Client-oriented — Another positive objective of development administration is its commitment to meeting the needs of marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers and rural artisans in developing countries. The socio-cultural and politico-economic progress of these sections forms the essential basis of the performance appraisal of development administration.
  2. Citizen participation oriented — Development administration is devised and built-in with the principle of associative and participative system of administration. Here, people are significantly acknowledged. They are taken as active participants in the formulation and execution of developmental plans, policies and programmes and not merely as passive recipients of goods, services or benefits.
  3. Commitment to fulfill public demands — Development administration is positively aimed at the fulfillment of public demands. Its consciousness of the civic services makes it committed to achieve certain dreams and aspirations of people because it understands the satisfaction of public wishes affects political and administrative development of a country.
  4. Concerned with innovation — Development administration again stresses emphasis towards the replacement and/or improvement of existing governmental structures and norms with the ones that suit the changing political and social environment. In other words, development administration is one that is dynamic and progressive in thought and action.
  1. Administration of industrial societies — Development administration is aimed at bringing changes to the society which is industrially and economically progressive. The industrial society fixes standards for administrative behaviour and performance of functions which become models for development administration. In such societies the methods of procedure and administrative organization take practical shape. Countries which have been industrialized can easily be developed in other walks of life. Thus the industrialization progress and development go hand-in-hand.
  1. Effectiveness of coordination — Development implies increasing specialization and professionalization. Hence, the number of agencies and organizations involved in development tasks has considerably gone up. To meet the maximum benefit of this emergent administrative system, coordination between various administrative units and activities is essential.
  2. Efficient administration — Development administration aims to bring efficiency in the practice of administration without which its aim of maximum development cannot be attained. If the aims of projects formulated for development administration are achieve within the time frame, then administrative efficiency is said to be attained. The development administration always strives to increase administrative efficiency through administrative development with the ultimate goal of avoiding wastage of time and resources.
  3. Democratic values — Development administration aims to bring democratic values to the fore of administrative settings. Democratic values imply the feelings of responsibility and aims for public welfare and respect to the human values and rights. Since it is concerned with the efforts of public administration, public activities are undertaken with view to keeping public welfare and democratic values in place.
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