Co-ordination as an aspect of government planning and administration

Craig, J. D. (1978). Co-ordination as an aspect of government planning and administration Master's Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Craig, J. D.
Thesis Title Co-ordination as an aspect of government planning and administration
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1978
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Total pages 280
Language eng
Subjects 1606 Political Science
150312 Organisational Planning and Management
Formatted abstract       Planning may conveniently be regarded as the process of determining a future course of behaviour by an organized system. The analysis of government organization is greatly simplified if planning is distinguished from another concept relating to a government's control of systems in its environment (external systems control).

      A simple model of the executive branch of a government reveals two types of components. The first is an executive group which controls the activities of a number of suborganizations which may be called agencies. Agencies, which are the second type of component, undertake tasks on behalf of the government as a whole and are specialized by function, process or location. The executive group seeks to control these agencies through hierarchical authority, centralization of planning, resource control (i.e. budgets) and legislation. Each method suffers from difficulties and the inevitable result is a pluralistic organization which requires the development of non hierarchical techniques of co-ordination.

      Similar non hierarchical co-ordination techniques are used by most governments. They may be broadly classified as structural (i.e. involving reorganization) and non structural. The non structural methods used depend on the approach taken to central planning. Centralization of planning exists to a certain extent in all governments and, providing it may be maintained, is consistent with an increase in material efficiency and a decrease in "human" values in the organization. Large centralized organizations, however, have a potential destabilizing effect on their social environments and the identification of effective methods of non centralized planning is important. In a non centralized government the executive group will have difficulty in expressing its goals in a manner which is useful to its agencies, in resolving conflicts between goals and in dealing with change.

      The Queensland Government organization is unsophisticated in its approach to many administrative issues. It is interesting, however, because of its experimentation since about 19 70 with a non centralized concept of planning and its use of a Co-ordinator-General as a means of improving the effectiveness of such a system. The government includes about 550 agencies which appear generally technically competent but lack well developed methods of planning. The dominant processes by which the executive group exerts control are hierarchical authority and legislation. Central planning is not used and the budget is of limited value in controlling the activities of agencies. Because of its position in the Australian Federation, where the national government has sought to control its activities through financial dominance, it has often lacked the capacity to formulate meaningful plans. Deliberate attempts to create non centralized planning systems were made between 1970 and 1977 in relation to environmental and regional issues (but subsequently abandoned). There are areas of apparent deficiencies in the Queensland Government organization but conclusive assessment of these could only be reasonably made by the government itself.

      The planning systems of the Queensland Government could be improved (while continuing with a non centralized structure) through the production of corporate plans by the existing agencies of the government and the creation of a set of interlocking non statutory strategies as a framework for such corporate plans. Such strategies would create a link between government goals, agency corporate plans and external systems control and their review would provide a means of dealing with change in the government.

      A Co-ordinator-General may be considered to be a person capable of acting as a focus of the corporate activity of an organization. His role may be hierarchical (which involves the familiar concept of a general manager) or non hierarchical. A non hierarchical Co-ordinator-General could only have a legitimate role in an organization where the executive group takes the form of a Cabinet. A Co-ordinator-General could, through the creation of a co-ordinated programme of works, supervise the planning system suggested for the Queensland Government by reviewing strategies and agency corporate plans and relating these to resource allocation.

Keyword Executive departments -- Queensland
Administrative agencies -- Management
Planning
Queensland -- Politics and government
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