Development Administration

Development administration is the process of managing government policies, programs, and resources to promote economic and social progress within a country. It focuses on efficient and effective implementation of development initiatives to improve the well-being of the population.

Introduction – Origin of Development Administration

In the mid-20th century, a new concept emerged in the realm of public administration – Development Administration. It was a response to the post-colonial aspirations of Third World nations striving for rapid development. The term “development administration” was first coined by Indian Civil Servant U.L. Goswami in 1955 in the context of community development programs. However, it was Western, particularly American, scholars who played a pivotal role in conceptualizing and elaborating on this concept. Notable figures such as George F. Gant, F.W. Riggs, and Edward Weidner contributed significantly. George Grant defined development administration as characterized by its purposes, its loyalties, and its attitudes. He is also regarded as the “father of Development Administration”. Whereas, Edward Weidner defined development administration as “an action-oriented, goal-oriented administrative system guiding an organization towards the achievement of progressive political, economic, and social objectives.” According to Weidner, the primary goals of development in developing countries were nation-building and socioeconomic progress. Further, Stone stated with the implementation of four Ps in Development Administration including Plans, Policies, Programs and Projects.

Now Let’s dive further and study the idea of Development Administration in detail in the below article.

The Roots of Development Administration

Development administration had its roots in the desire of wealthy Western countries to provide financial aid to newly independent, economically struggling nations. Their aim was to transform the existing colonial bureaucracies into more responsive instruments of societal change. This transformation was supposed to hasten the modernization process, moving these countries from agrarian to industrial societies while countering the appeal of communism.

Bureaucratization and Stability

Bureaucratization was seen as a functional prerequisite for maintaining political stability and legitimacy in these newly independent nations. The key objective was to transform the existing government machinery through administrative development, which included modernization, technology transfer, foreign expert training, and the establishment of public administration institutions.

Characteristics of Development Administration 

Several characteristics defined development administration are:

Change Orientation: It focused on bringing about desirable socioeconomic, political, and cultural changes in society to drive development.

Result and Goal Orientation: It aimed to achieve specific results and bring about positive societal changes while serving the needs of the public.

Citizen-Participation Orientation: It emphasized making bureaucracy responsive to citizens and encouraging active citizen participation in development programs.

Commitment to Work: It promoted discipline, innovation, and commitment within public administration to address the demands and needs of society.

The Decline of Development Administration

Despite its initial promise, the development administration lost prominence in the post-1970s era when neoliberal reforms took center stage. These reforms, known as LPG (Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization), shifted the focus towards market-based principles in the public sector. Structural Adjustment Programs proposed by institutions like the World Bank and IMF further accelerated this shift, promoting policies such as increased privatization, trade liberalization, and reduced government intervention in social sectors.


Development administration, once a beacon of hope for post-colonial nations, underwent a significant transformation. It evolved from a concept rooted in Western aid and foreign expertise to a casualty of neoliberal reforms. While its original goals of fostering development and stability remain important, the methods and ideologies have shifted in the ever-changing landscape of global governance and administration.

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