UPSC Mains: Major Thinkers and their Concepts for Pub Ad Optional

Public Administration is among the optional subjects for UPSC IAS Mains exam. It is a good optional subject for UPSC IAS Mains exam as the subject deals with governance and administrative theories. Here we are giving the Significant Works and Ideas of Thinkers which will help the candidates.

Public Administration Thinkers



Important Concepts

Abraham Maslow

American Psychologist and Motivation Theorist

  • Hierarchy of needs
  • Self-actualisation
  • Peak experiences

Chester, I. Barnard


American Executive and Management Thinker

  • Acceptance theory of authority and “Zone of Indifference”
  • Functions of the executive

Chris Argyris

American Behavioural Theorist and Management Writer

  • Maturity – Immaturity theory
  • T-Group Techniques
  • Single loop and Double loop learning
  • Organisational learning

Douglas McGregor

American Social Psychologist and Management Consultant

  • Theory “X” and Theory “Y”
  • Management education from cosmology to reality
  • Transactional influence

Dwight Waldo


American Political scientist and “Defining figure” in public Administration

  • Public administration as political approach
  • Professional orientation to public administration
  • New Public Administration

Fred W. Riggs

Political Scientist and Administrative Model Builder

  • Prismatic society
  • Sala model of administrative
  • Development as diffraction and integration

Frederick Herzberg

American Psychologist and Management Consultant

  • Hygiene – Motivation theory
  • Job loading
  • Job-enrichment

Frederick Winslow Taylor

Engineer, Inventor and Consultant

  • Principles of scientific management
  • Functional foremanship

George Elton Mayo

Australian social Psychologist

  • Human relations approach to organizations
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Role of informal organizations and groups in affecting the behaviour of individuals at work

Henri Fayol
1841 – 1925

French Administrative Theorist

  • Principles of management
  • General theory of management
  • Gang plank jumping

Herbert A. Simon

American Psychologist and motivation Theorist

  • Administration as decision-making
  • Bounded rationality
  • Zone of acceptance

Karl Marx

German Revolutionary Philosopher and Political Economist

  • Bureaucracy as an exploitative class instrument
  • Materialistic interpretation of history
  • Alienation of bureaucracy

350 – 283 B.C.

Adviser to King Chandragupta Maurya and Ancient Indian Philosopher

  • Monarchy as the best form of government
    Absolute powers to King
  • Saptanga theory of elements of state
  • Principles of public administration

Luther Gulick

American Expert on Public Administration

  • Structure-based ideologies of organization
  • POSDCORB as functions of executive

Mary Parker Follett

American Political Scientist, Social Worker and Management Consultant

  • Constructive conflict
  • Integration
  • Depersonalizing orders

Max Weber
1864 – 1920

German Sociologist and Political Scientist

  • Form of authority
  • Legal-rational bureaucracy
  • Protestant ethic

Peter Drucker

American Management Thinker, Professor and Consultant

  • Management by objectives
  • Restructuring Government or New Public Management
  • Knowledge society and knowledge workers

Rensis Likert
1903 – 1981

American Organisational Psychologist and Educator

  • Management systems
  • Linking pin model

Woodrow Wilson

Former President of America and Political Scientist

  • Significance of study of administration as science
  • Politics – administration dichotomy
  • Public administration as ‘Government in action’

Yehezkel Dror

Israeli Political Scientist and Pioneer in policy studies

  • Societal direction system as a mega-knowledge system
    “Optimal Model” of policy making
  • Paradigms of policy science


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