Work culture

Work culture

An organization is formed to achieve certain goals and objectives by bringing individuals together on a common platform and motivating them to deliver their level best. It is essential for the employees to enjoy at the workplace for them to develop a sense of loyalty towards it.

Work culture plays an important role in extracting the best out of employees and making them stick to the organization for a longer duration. The organization must offer a positive ambience to the employees for them to concentrate on their work rather than interfering in each other’s work.

Work culture is a concept which deals in the study of Beliefs, thought processes, attitudes of the employees. Ideologies and principles of the organization. It is the work culture which decides the way employees interact with each other and how an organization functions.

In layman’s language work culture refers to the mentality of the employees which further decides the ambience of the organization. An organization is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organization’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines. However there are certain organizations where employees are reluctant to follow the instructions and are made to work only by strict procedures. Such organizations have a weak culture.

Characteristics of a Healthy work Culture

  • A healthy work culture leads to satisfied employees and an increased productivity.
  • Employees must be cordial with each other. One must respect his fellow worker. Backbiting is considered strictly unprofessional and must be avoided for a healthy work culture. One gains nothing out of conflicts and nasty politics at work.
  • Each employee should be treated as one. Partiality leads to demotivated employees and eventually an unhealthy work culture. Employees should be judged only by their work and nothing else. Personal relationships should take a backseat at the workplace. Don’t favour anyone just because he is your relative.
  • Appreciating the top performers is important. Praise the employees to expect good work from them every time. Give them a pat on their back. Let them feel indispensable for their organization. Don’t criticize the ones who have not performed well, instead ask them to pull up their socks for the next time. Give them one more opportunity rather than firing them immediately.
  • Encourage discussions at the workplace. Employees must discuss issues among themselves to reach to better conclusions. Each one should have the liberty to express his views. The team leaders and managers must interact with the subordinates frequently. Transparency is essential at all levels for better relationships among employees and a healthy work culture. Manipulating information and data tampering is a strict no no at the workplace. Let information flow in its desired form.
  • Organization must have employee friendly policies and practical guidelines. Expecting an employee to work till late night on his birthday is simply impractical. Rules and regulations should be made to benefit the employees. Employees must maintain the decorum of the organization. Discipline is important at the workplace.
  • The “Hitler approach” does not fit in the current scenario. Bosses should be more like mentors to the employees. The team leaders should be a source of inspiration for the subordinates. The superiors are expected to provide a sense of direction to the employees and guide them whenever needed. The team members should have an easy access to their boss’s cabin.
  • Promote team building activities to bind the employees together. Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees. Prepare them for the tough times. They should be ready under any odd circumstances or change in the work culture.

 

 

Work culture in Indian administration

Administration and Political Environment  Administration is most immediately influenced by the political system. The nature of political system determines the nature of administrative system. For example, during British regime, Indian political system was centralized, exploitative, repressive and authoritarian. Therefore, administration too, was of that kind. But after independence political system became decentralized, democratic, developmental, people and welfare-oriented. Therefore, administration also became like that. Thus, political system impacts administrative system.  Similarly, administration also impacts political system. It helps formulate governmental programmes and policies. The administrators provide different types of data, information, expertise, suggestions, feedback etc., to the ministers on the basis of which realistic programmes and policies are formulated by them. Thus, administration and political system impact each other.

Administration and Economic Environment:  Administration is influenced by the economic set-up . For example, in a country with limited economic resources administrators are not in a position to implement governmental programmes and policies successfully. But administration of a developed country can successfully implement programmes and policies because of abundance of resources.  Further, in a country with closed economy the scope of administration will be more whereas in an open economy administration will have less scope as here private parties are the key players. Thus, economic environment impacts administration.  Similarly, administration can also influence economy by contributing to the formulation of various economic programmes and policies. Further, if administration is efficient and effective, development and growth will take place and thus, overall economy will be impacted positively. Thus, administration and economy affect each other.

Administration and Socio-Cultural Environment:  Socio-cultural environment affects the administration. There exists casteism, nepotism, favouritism, corruption and other ills in the society. Hence, these ailments are also found in administrators. It is mainly because of the fact that the administrators have to operate in the society. Therefore, they get affected with all these social maladies. Similarly, administration can also influence social environment by contributing to the formulation of policies for mitigating social evils. Thus, administration and social environment impact each other.  The preceding discussion makes it amply clear that the administration is influenced by the environment in which it operates and in turn, it also influences the environment. That is to say, there exists a two-way relationship between administration and its ecology.

In the wake of the process of decolonization, Third World Countries (TWCs) emerged on political map of the world. These nascent countries including India were confronting a lot of socio-economic problems such as hunger, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, inequalities, etc. The major responsibility for mitigating  4 these problems rested on the shoulders of bureaucracy. Therefore, it amassed huge powers. But in course of exercise of comprehensive powers bureaucracy started disregarding people’s interests. It became omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. It became part of a system aptly termed as “New Despotism” by Justice Hewart. In short, it became a victim of various administrative ills some of which can be discussed as follows:

Unresponsiveness: Bureaucracy remains unresponsive to popular demands, desires and aspirations. It tends to regard itself as the self-appointed guardian and interpreter of public interests. Its members feel that they are doing a favour by providing a service to them, even though they are paid from public exchequer to do so. The experience over the years shows that it has behaved more as a ruling class than a serving one as it is clear from its very functioning in India which is, by and large, aristocratic, authoritarian, arrogant and oppressive.

Red Tapism: It refers to undue formalism. It puts too much emphasis on “Procedure through proper channel” and precedents. Left to itself, it tends to multiply the red tape till it almost smothers itself. Bureaucracy seems to forget that the community does not exist for the purpose of filling up forms or obeying regulations, but that forms and regulations exist for the service of the community.

Self-Perpetuating : Bureaucracy has become a victim of Parkinson’s Law or the Rising Pyramid of bureaucrats. Parkinson’s Law refers to a situation wherein staff in an organization outnumbers the volume of work. In other words, bureaucracy is selfperpetuating in the sense that the civil servants have a tendency to increase day by day in number, irrespective of workload.

Self-aggrandisement : Bureaucrats are supposed to be the servants of the people in a democratic set-up. But in reality, they have become their masters. Instead of serving the community the average bureaucrats are engaged in fulfilling their own desires and aspirations. They disregard people’s interests and opinions.

Corruption : Bureaucrats are alleged to have been indulged in corrupt practices. Corruption has become all-pervasive. It is the greatest hindrance to excellence in public service. It flows from top to bottom like water. Political corruption is considered fountainhead / gangotri of all types of corruption in India. Hence, political corruption needs to be curbed if administrative corruption has to be checked. Corruption today has become so much pervasive that it seems that honesty is the lack of opportunity of corruption.

Lack of neutrality : The administrators are supposed to be politically neutral. They should not be committed to any party, leader or ideology. Their commitment must be towards Constitution, people and development. They have to be politically unbiased. Whichever party or leader comes to power, they have to serve with same zeal and enthusiasm. However, in actual practice, such things appear to be missing. The concept of “Political Bureaucracy” has emerged in India. The bureaucrats have been greatly politicized. They don’t believe in political neutrality. Political neutrality seems to be withering away. The bureaucrats align themselves with political leaders in order to serve their vested interests. They extend only such suggestions to the ministers which are palatable to them. They want to please ministers at any cost so that they may remain in good books of ministers. They are always keen to adjust themselves according to the wishes of ministers.

Status-quoism: Indian bureaucracy is largely status-quo oriented and is more devoted to the prevention of progress. It loves tradition and stands for conservatism. It resists reforms and innovations. One can hardly expect that such a bureaucracy could be responsive to the growing need, expections and aspirations of the people of the country. In short, Indian administration suffers from maladies like arrogance, nepotism, favouritism, self-complacency, inaccessibility, delaying tactics, obsession with rules and regulations, lack of initiatives, ignoring human side of things, parochial attitude, rigidity in outlook, indifference to democratic institutions and processes and so on and so forth. At the district level, three distinct administrative environments can be discerned viz., the Hakim Culture at the apex of district administration, the Babu Culture pervading all the rest of district administration and the Neta Culture which increasingly impinges on these two official cultures.These are very common traits of administration in most of developing countries. These traits have become parts of administrative culture of these countries. In such countries, though formally condemned, these are widely practised and enjoy latent social acceptance. In discussion of Prismatic societies, Fred W. Riggs aptly regards these practices as causes of formalism in Public Administation.

Policy Implementation : Administration is an instrument of the government to operationalise socio-economic goals of development. The government formulates different kinds of programmes and policies for all-round development of the country. The implementation of such programmes and policies is the most important and fundamental function of administrators. They execute laws and policies to attain the goals of welfare State.

Policy Formulation : Formulation of policy is the function of political executives. But the administrators also play an active role in it. They aid and advise the ministers in policy making. Political executives, being amateurs, do not generally understand the technical complexities of policies necessitating their dependence on the expert advice of professional civil servants. They provide different kinds of data, information, expertise, feedback, suggestions, etc., to the ministers on the basis of which they formulate realistic programmes and policies.

Public Welfare : The primary objective of administration is promoting community welfare. It is characterized by service motive. Social service and philanthropy are its hallmark. It is associated with almost each and every aspect of human life. It is, therefore, said that administration is with us right from “Womb to Tomb” or “Cradle to Grave.”

Role in the Age of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG)

In the era of LPG we are talking in terms of “roll back of the state”. That is, the state or government is withdrawing and thus, the importance of Public Administration (PA) is declining. But in reality, the importance of PA is not declining. Rather, it has changed its style of functioning. It has transformed itself from controller to facilitator, from direct provider of services to indirect one and from “rowing to steering”. It acts as regulator, guide, friend and philosopher of private parties. Thus, the importance of PA is still there in the age of LPG. What has changed is its style of functioning. PA has to take care of socio-economic needs of the people. It has to play an active part in strategic sector.Therefore, even in the age of LPG, the complete roll back of the state is not feasible at least in developing countries like ours. It has to stay in India in the best interests of poor, backwards, downtrodden and other vulnerable sections of the society.

On the whole, bureaucracy performs multifarious functions. Its role and significance in development process cannot be underscored. It is, in fact, a potent weapon of change and transformation in developing societies. Willoughby has rightly termed it as “Fourth branch of the government”. Dunham says, “If our civilization fails, it will be mainly because of a breakdown of administration.” Therefore, what is needed is not to condemn it but to guard against its characteristic defects and to subject it to effective criticism. It has to be kept under control. It has to be made accountable, responsive, efficient, effective, open, transparent, people and development-oriented. Lots of measures have been initiated in India since the decade of 1990s to fulfil these objectives for example, Citizen’s Charter, Right to Information (RTI), Social Audit, e-governance, tackling corruption and cleansing the administration, effective and speedy grievance redressal system, empowering local bodies and Administrative Reforms to mention a few.

The most important among these measures is the implementation of the Right to Information Act. Secrecy and lack of openness in official dealings lead to corruption besides being contrary to the spirit of an accountable and democratic government. RTI will ensure to the people an easy access to all types of information regarding operations and decisions of the government.

Another measure has been the introduction of the concept of Citizen’s Charter. Various departments and service agencies have published their Charters.

Though non-justiceable, these Charters aim at affirming the commitment of an organization to the people that it will deliver its services promptly, maintain quality and the redress machinery will be available where the services are not upto mark. Definitely, Citizen’s Charter strategy would lead to dissemination of information to the general people and thus, put a check over the undue influence of bureaucracy.

For the success of Charter’s scheme, an effective and efficient Public Grievances Machinery is imperative. The Government of India and the State Governments have set up such a mechanism in the form of Consumers’ Forum, District Grievances Committee, ‘Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar,’ ‘Jehangiri Bell,’ ‘Open Darbar System’, etc. Certainly, these arrangements are going to contribute in making higher civil servants more responsive and responsible.

Another move of the government is Appraisal System for fixing accountability, increasing efficiency and giving recognition to sincere officers. This system will entail drawing up a detailed list of key tasks to be accomplished by Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers. Not only the promotion, but also the very continuation of the officers in IAS should depend on whether they deliver goods or not. Their integrity, competence, attitude and personal qualities should constantly be under a scanner.

Similarly, the provision of Social Audit holds the administration accountable. India is a democratic country. People are masters. Administration exists to serve the people. It is the primary duty of any master to take a look at the accounts of the servant and hold the servant accountable. Social audit or public audit is a step in that direction. People use RTI to obtain details of the works carried out by the administrators. The information contained in records is compared with field reality. This is public audit or social audit and is a very powerful tool in the hands of the people to hold the administration accountable. It creates a lot of public pressure on the political and the administrative establishments to take corrective steps.

 

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