Chapter 29: PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION
Proper systematic classification of personnel in government
is essential for management of civil service in the modern
Types of classifications:
- Position classification: classification according to
nature of the job
- Rank classification: According to employees.
A position connotes a set of duties or responsibilities
assigned to the employee. The position at a given time may
be occupied or vacant and immaterial for purpose of
classification. similar position form a class [a group of
positions that are sufficiently alike in respect to their
duties]. All positions in a class have similar pay scales.
Steps of position classification:
- Analyse and record duties and other characteristics of
positions to be classified.
- Group positions into classes
- Write standard for each class
- Install by allocating individual positions to the
classes thus described.
- Provides high degree of specialization suitable for
technical jobs like engineering.
- Equal pay for equal work.
- Defines contents of job in detail
- Conducive for formulation of scientific standard on
which various aspects like recruitment, training, manpower
planning, promotion depend.
- More emphasis on merit and proper match between job
requirement and qualifications of incumbent.
- Can adopt uniform nomenclatures.
- Well defined responsibilities for workers, government,
management. Also lateral entry between private, government
- Hinders horizontal and vertical mobility.
- Classification needs time and may get outdated fast.
Makes employees insecure about their jobs and they feel a
pressure to upgrade their positions.
- Not suitable in developing countries where duties of
many officers not defined.
- Not suitable for generalists.
Employee is classified on basis of rank in a hierarchy.
Each employee is placed in a class. Salary, status depends
on rank not position.
- Flexible, so personnel can be transferred across
- More emphasis on generalists
- Faster to classify.
- Promotes loyalty to service and not a department.
- Attracts competent people.
- Not suitable for specialists.
- Violates equal pay for equal work.
- Doesn't specify contents of jobs in details so
performance appraisal is subjective.
- Classification can create class distinction and feudal
- Overlooks claim of merit for holding a post. No match
between requirements of job and qualification for
Note: Indian public administration leans
heavily on cadre system. Its more status oriented than
achievement oriented. Outdated selection criteria on purely
India needs functional classification which will remove
class consciousness and lead to smooth, harmonious and
efficient functioning of service. It will also promote
belonging-ness to the service as a whole. The following
classes can be made:
- top executive
- senior executive
- supervisory personnel
- supporting personnel
- auxiliary personnel
Lack of specialisation is the big problem that confronts the IAS. The IAS was designed during the colonial era for the function of collecting taxes and maintaining law and order and so in the modern age these functions are still the primary concern of the service.
However in the current era the society has need for a bureaucracy that is an agent for bringing development and change. As the nature of administration changed the and economic reforms deepened and the state started yielding to the market forces, a need arose to increase the specialists in administration especially for policy making.
There are no main views regarding the Generalist vs Specialist debate: First view states that specialists suffer from tunnel vision and cannot take the broader view and hence should be restricted to advisory roles to the generalists. The specialists argue that only a functional expert can provide competent leadership in a domain and having an IAS head over a specialised area is an inefficient arrangement.
The way forward could be as suggested by the “Constitution review Committee” - Specialise a few generalists and generalise a few specialists. This can be done by allowing a recruit to first learn skills of policy execution and people management that is needed when working in field postings. Then as he rises to positions where policy decisions are taken by him, he could be allowed to increase his domain knowledge of a particular area.
Thus, his knowledge could be a blend of both domain expertise as well as execution skills. Similarly, a system of lateral entry into the service should be started to induct specialists at mid-career level. They should be encouraged to develop generalist skills such as policy execution, people management etc. by giving them field postings.