Organization And Methods – Techniques Of Administrative Reforms
Organisation and methods, (or O & M as it is commonly called) is “specialized service or investigation, analysis and advice to administration aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation which employs it”.
R.G. Breadmore defines O & M as “The systematic application of common sense to business problems. Its results are beneficial to management and staff alike”.
The Treasury in U.K. has defined O & M as “the study by whole time staff of the Organisation of Public bodies or private firms and the office procedures they adopt.
Shri. S.B. Bapat, the first Director of the Central O & M Division in India, views O & M as function, and he says that O & M means “paying intelligent and critical attention not only to what is done but also to how it is done and at what cost in time, labour and money, paying attention to the design of the machine and its working processes and not merely to its end product”.
The above definitions when analysed and applied to Public Administration imply that O & M is an effort concerned with the Organisation of public bodies and their office procedures with a view improving both.
Functions Of O & M
The Chief Functions of O & M are usually the following:
- Simplification of procedures: O & M analyses office procedures and suggests ways and means for their simplification.
- Elimination of delay: Inherent in any bureaucratic system are undue delays due to redtapism. It is the function of O & M to suggest methods to eliminate or at least minimise delays.
- Quick disposal of files: Due to the rule of the proper channel, files in the Government take a long time to get disposed.O & M is expected to study the movement of files and suggest measures for their quick disposal.
- Maintaining and preserving records: In order to achieve proper control, it is necessary that proper records should be maintained, for all activities of the Government. It is also necessary that records should be preserved. In such a way that they are easily accessible. One of the functions of O & M is to recommend better methods of maintaining and preserving records.
- Facilitate increased delegation of authority: 0 & M has to suggest ways and means to increase delegation of authority and responsibility at appropriate levels.
- Undertaking research: O & M also undertakes research into the organisational and procedural problems with a view to improving efficiency by suggesting better patterns of organisation, and improved methods of work
- Training Personnel: O & M is a specialist activity and it requires specialists who are trained in their work. It is the function of O & M to train its own personnel so that work of O & M can go
- Dissemination of Information: Another important function of O & M is to collect and disseminate information relating to O & M work and activities. This is usually done by the publication of O & M journals, bulletins, guides, research materials and other literature relating to the theory and practice of O & M work.
In short, O & M is concerned with getting the best organisation and the best method by which the work of the government can be done with less cost and labour.
Techniques Of O & M
The principles techniques of O & M are: Management or organisation survey Inspection o Forms control Filing System Work Simplification Automation.
- Organisation Survey: A management survey is a systematic method of analysis of one or more related organisational functions and or procedures. It is initiated for the purpose of identifying problems, determining their causes and developing solutions.
- Management Inspection: Management inspection is often regarded as a of O & M. The scope of inspection is generally limited to verification, assisting personnel and acting as a feed back agent.
- Forms Control: Forms control aims at achieving better procedures and work methods through greater simplicity in the design of the form, greater ease in the entry and use of the data, greater clarity and stricter conformity to accepted and useful standards.
- Filing Operations: Filing systems are methods of arranging records in a systematic sequence. Such a system is essential for their easy location. Usually, files are classified into different categories like : files of historical value, files that are required permanently, files that are required for a temporary period and files that have a current value.
- Work Simplification: Work simplification involves breaking up of various activities of organisation into clearly identified parts, demarcating the spheres of activity for the staff unit and avoiding duplication of work. The basic objective of work simplification are increasing productivity, saving time and money and better public relations.
- Automation: Automation refers to the use of mechanical process in the various operations of the organisation like accounting, filing, tabling, etc. Automation eliminates human error, ensures speedy work, saves time and money and helps management to exercise better supervision.
Advantages Of O&M
The following are the advantages of O&M:
- Keeps the organisation under constant review: Generally there is a tendency in any organisation to rigidly adhere to age-old system and practices. However an organisation can survive only if it senses the changes in the environment and changes itself and recognises changes in the organisation. Change being a continuous process O & M keeps the organisation under constant review.
- Provides assistance to line officers: O & M being a staff activity renders useful advice to line officers demand. Being a specialized service, it is of immense help to the line officers who are busy in performing their day to day functions and are unable to find time for revising methods and procedures in their organisation.
- Facilitates induction of latest knowledge: Through it’s research programmes O & M opens new vistas and creates consciousness among the employees about the latest development. It brings in freshness and independence of views.
Pitfalls Of O&M
Any O & M activity is exposed to certain pitfalls which should be avoided. Some of them are:
- Over-Stepping its Role: The O&M staff generally tend to forget that their role is purely advisory and they are not clothed with the authority to ensure that their recommendations are implemented. Experience has shown that O & M personnel tend to develop a ‘policing’ attitude and try to dominate over the line agency. This attitude defeats the very purpose of O & M.
- Over Technicality: O & M Some-times tends to be over technical. This creates a gap between the O & M unit and the operating agency. Such a gap seriously jeopardizes the very purpose of O & M.
O & M occupies a strategic role in maintaining organisational efficiency. O & M offers an advisory service with. An inherent advantage of methodological expertise. O & M is rightly considered as the key to whatever degree of efficiency the department may possess. It is the sine qua non of organisational effectiveness and efficiency.