SYNOPSIS: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OPTIONAL – Paper 1- TLP UPSC Mains Answer Writing [10th August, 2020] – Day 4

  • IASbaba
  • August 11, 2020
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TLP Public Administration Optional
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1. Taylor’s mental revolution is almost similar to Simon’s concept of indoctrination. But why did Simon criticize Taylor? Explain.           10marks (150words)


Here, we have to divide the answer into two parts; first, we have to explain how the given two topics are similar to each other. In the second part, we have to explain what else forced Simon to criticize Taylor.

From Paper2

Bring in some examples from current affairs and from the Indian administrative system. You can also provide a separate heading as contemporary relevance, and then include the dynamics part under this heading.


Herbert Simon was one of the most vocal critics of scientific management models. He also went to the extent of deriding their principles as myths, proverbs, inanities and profanities. He was very much annoyed for the exclusion of human side of enterprise in the models. 


Taylor’s mental revolution was similar to Indoctrination in many ways; 

  • Simon criticised the Taylorism for not mentioning anything about the behavioural management of the organisations. However, Taylor’s concept of mental revolution says that, both the managers and workers should change their mind set from hostility to cooperation and coordination. This was nothing less than the behavioural management.

Even Simon spoke the same thing when he said that, all the persons working in an organisation should be indoctrinated with positive value system. This, he said, helps in removing parochialism, narrow interests, etc inside the organisation. And this further helps the organisation in making ‘optimising’ decisions.

[Ex: training the bureaucrats in ethics, values and ethos- 2nd ARC]

  • Further, Taylor’s mental revolution speaks about abolishing the ‘giving more and getting less’ syndrome among the workers and managers, so that they come together to contribute more to the organisation(increasing the size of pie). 

However, Simon’s indoctrination also says that, instilling positive values results in- both the workers and managers- weeding out all the communication barriers that arise out of the difference in attitude, position, status, etc. This in turn helps in increasing the productivity of the organisation.  

[Ex: Pragathi initiate wherein the Prime Minister of India speaks with the common man]. 

Yet Simon criticized Taylorism because;

  • Even though the concept of mental revolution was similar to that of indoctrination. Analysis of all other principles of Taylor shows that, the concept of mental revolution was an odd man out amidst of his structural theories of Work Study, Standardisation, Functional Foremanship, etc. And this one element of behaviouralism seems to be a last moment addition. 

However, Simon’s ideas were completely aligned towards bringing in behavioural changes inside the organisation, starting from his satisfising decisions to removal of communication barriers.

  • Mental revolution only speaks of enlightening the workers about the new ideas like using science than rule of thumb, going for the maximum output, etc, which lead to increased economic benefits of both the workers and the organisation.

[Ex: educating the workers that the more they work, more the output, more the profit and more the pay]

However Simon’s indoctrination caters to social and emotional values which the Taylorism didn’t speak of. 

[Ex: inspiring the government officials to work for the sake of the nation and not for the sake of their salary]

  • Actually Taylor and Simon belong to two extremities. Taylor was of the opinion that organisations can grow solely on economic gains. And, Simon’s analogy was that, despite economic gains, an unhappy workforce will always lead to the destruction of even the well structured organisation.

“Happy cows yield more milk”, Simon.


Hence, any one similarity cannot bring the two extremities together. And it was natural for Simon to feel Taylorism as a negative concept, because he felt that, he stood on the extreme positive side.

2. Compare the Follett’s and Weber’s concept of authority. 15 marks (250 words)


Here, we need to bring out the similarities and difference between Mary Parker Follett’s and the Max Weber’s concept of authority.

From Paper2

Again, we can bring in examples from current affairs and from the Indian public administration. We can also bring it under a separate heading Viz, contemporary relevance. 


While Follett propounded the concept of functional and situational authority, Weber brought in the theory of legal-rational authority. It is obvious that there can be both similarities and dissimilarities between the two.


Weber and Follett differ in the following ways;

  • Follett’s authority is based on the function. I.e. a person can be a superior of the other, only if he has got a greater expertise in the function the subordinate performs. However, Weber’s authority is based on the law. Here, if the law permits any person can be superior to anyone.

[Ex: Narayan Murthy of Infosys wields a functional authority. Our ministers wield legal authority on the bureaucrats.]

  • Further, Follet’s authority demands voluntary acceptance from the workers. However, Weber’s authority can be forced against the will of the subordinates.

[Ex: subordinates have to bear even with the most corrupt superiors, in the government offices.]

  • Also, Follett postulated the concept of situational authority, i.e. an authority comes into picture only when the situation demands. In other situations, both the superiors and subordinates are just good friends. However, Weber’s authority demands a strict adherence to hierarchy at all the times.

[Ex: 2nd ARC demands such a kind of relationship (situational authority) between the DC and the SP.]

  • Furthermore, Follett’s authority speaks about the situational orders, i.e. the subordinate should feel that the order is passed out of the necessity and exigency of the situation. Or in other words Follett disregards those orders, which are passed out of the sadistic intent of mere exhibition of one’s authority. However, in case of the legal authority, even the most silliest of the orders has to be obeyed with utmost diligence; just to be in the superiors good book, or so that he can pass the buck on the superior saying he just obeyed the orders passed by him.
  • Lastly, most of the thinkers including Gordan Will, Gullick and Urwick, etc accepted Follett’s ideas on authority. However, Weber’s theory of authority was criticised by various people, because they were suspicious of such an authority becoming usurpative, rent-seeking and self-aggrandising, ones the power is handed over to it. Critics include William Niskanen, Victor Thomson, and Alfred Diamont etc.

However, there are similarities as well;

  • Weber not only spoke of the legal authority, but also of the rational one. And, this rationality can include the experience, seniority and the knowledge, which is equivalent to the functional authority of Follett.
  • Added to it Weber also condemned the concept of positional authority. I.e. authority that is based on mere the position, one is assigned in the hierarchy. And Follett went a step ahead and condemned the hierarchy all together, when she spoke of sharing the authority even with the subordinates if the situation arises (i.e. subordinate ordering superior). 
  • When Weber propounded the legal authority, he spoke of those laws and legal institutions that are widely accepted by the people. This implicitly conveys that, even Weber wanted a kind of authority that is legally and voluntarily accepted by the people. 
  • Lastly, Weber had not conceptualised a usurpative authority, rather his ideal bureaucracy postulated a humane, persuasive and a hands on authority; that was very similar to that of Follett.


Hence, we can say that, the two concepts seem to be similar as well as different, when they are observed from different perspectives. However, one concluding remark that can be made here is that, both Mary Parker Follett and Max Weber wanted to strike a balance between extreme stringency and extreme leniency of the authority, as we have seen above.

“Overbearing authority is the root cause of all evils”-Follett



Public Administration Synopsis Day 4 PDF

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