Bureaucratic thinking: A study of Block Development Officers of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in India

Mathur, Kuldeep
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This dissertation is an examination and analysis of bureaucratic perceptions towards development and democracy. It is an effort to provide greater understanding of the individual bureaucrat in his performance as an agent of change. It is also an attempt to build an empirical base for formulating meaningful propositions about Indian bureaucratic behavior. It is addressed to the following research goals: 1. To delineate the major dimensions of thinking and perceptions of the bureaucrats; 2. To place the individual bureaucrat in his work and social setting; 3. To investigate the relationship between the social background of bureaucrats and their perceptions; 4. To develop typologies of bureaucrats in the total developmental context. Data for this study were based on a survey questionnaire administered to a random sample of Block Development Officers (BDOs) of the two states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. BDOs were chosen because they are local administrators coming in direct contact with the people and political leadership. They are also important functionaries of Community Development Administration and are thus agents of change. We found that bureaucrats in our study came from a rural and parochial background and showed no evidence of elitist character. In their social aspirations, they showed a strong indication of a desire to move from rural to urban and enter the urban elite. We found that rural background did not lead to rural affinity. If given a choice, they would not join the government service again and also would not ask their children to follow them in their governmental profession. The general views of bureaucrats were marked by a widespread suspicion of the social environment and intense hostility towards the politicians. They perceive common people as lacking in ability to discern their own good and easily swayed by parochial influences. They are corruption to be rising in the villages with the advent of democracy. But the bureaucrats hold themselves in high regard and are confident that if they had power a well administered state will emerge. They display, therefore, a desire to monopolize all power in their own hands in order to be effective. We have classified such bureaucrats as 'Power Monopolizers.' BDOs are pessimistic and widely believe that there is a progressive deterioration in the general conditions and administration. We have classified these bureaucrats as 'past oriented.' Seven major dimensions of bureaucratic perceptions emerged from factor analysis. They were named Cynicism, Power Monopolizer, Decision Maker, Departmental Skepticism, Hierarchical Barriers, Democratism and Trust. From the factors of Democratism and Trust, which form one group, to the other five factors, which form a group by themselves, the wide Trust/Cynicism syndrome is tapped. Political perceptions and personal perceptions were related. Socio-cultural variables failed to predict effective variation in the above dimensions. However, we found that Technical Education and Seniority were more important predictor variables. Both canonical and regression analyses demonstrated that Negative Seniority and Cynicism, and Technical Education and Power Monopolizer were associated. We have suggested that these perceptions may be better explained by the socializing experiences of the bureaucratic institutions themselves. Discriminant analysis demonstrated that bureaucrats of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh differed significantly along these dimensions. Profiles showed that Rajasthan bureaucrats scored higher on Power Monopolizer dimension. This difference could be possibly due to differing career patterns, educational background and political heritage in the two states.
Bibliography: leaves [149]-160.
vii, 160 l illus., graphs, tables
Bureaucracy, Political psychology, India
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Political Science; no. 301
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