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Lucas Watson
Lucas Watson

Administrative Behavior



The need for an administrative theory resides in the fact that there are practical limits to human rationality, and that these limits are not static, but depend upon the organizational environment in which the individual's decision takes place. The task of administration is so to design this environment that the individual will approach as close as practicable to rationality (judged in terms of the organization's goals) in his decisions.




Administrative Behavior



It asserts that "decision-making is the heart of the administration, and that the vocabulary of administrative theory must be derived from the logic and psychology of human choice", and it attempts to describe administrative organizations "in a way that will provide the basis for scientific analysis".


If we recognize the forays made by the Chester I. Barnard upon the conceptualization of the Organizational framework as the first meaningful scratches; then the Administrative Behavior written by Herbert A. Simon in 1947 can be described as the first real attempt to build upon the dent made by Barnard. This book is a real structural explanation of organization. This explanation is the first behavioral framework of organization which deviated from Gullick, Waldo and likes who were more concerned with the mechanical designing of the Organizational structure and its principles.


This criticism is much more based upon the mechanical approach taken by the classical administrative theorists than upon the concepts per se. The book accepts the usefulness of the principles of administrative theory as the proverbs but refuses to recognize them as principles.


Here Simon recognizes the role of various limits of the individuals and organizations which limits the usefulness of the principles postulated by the classical administration theorists. The concept of free will, purpose and power of choice proposed by Barnard seems to be the basis from where Simon draws his thoughts and says that there is the limit upon the rationality of the individuals. Hence, they cannot behave as per the rationality principles of classical administrative theorists.


Further, while discussing the psychology of administrative behavior Simon states that it is impossible for the behavior of a single isolated individual to attain a high degree of rationality. He postulates that actual behavior falls short of objective rationality in three ways:


Of the above three reasons, the second was of extremely high importance when Simon recognized the importance of personality traits in the determination of an individual's behavior. He postulated that there are a group of people who like to be lead, and there are others who like to lead.


  • This study of adults aged 21 and older in the Detroit\nmetropolitan area provides information on their contact with and\nattitudes toward government administrative agencies, their views\nregarding civic duties, and their organizational memberships in 1954.\nThe study was a combination of two separate studies: IDEAL FAMILY\nSIZE IN DETROIT by Ronald Freedman, and ADMINISTRATIVE BEHAVIOR\nIN A METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY by Morris Janowitz. Respondents were asked\nabout their contact with and knowledge of various agencies, including\nthe Michigan Employment Security Commission and the Social Security\nDepartment. They were asked to evaluate the performance of the\npublic schools, the County Sheriff's Department, state and local\npolice, and local, county, and state government officials. Several\nquestions were asked to determine the respondents' attitudes toward\ngovernment employment and employees, specifically the prestige of\nvarious jobs in the public sector compared with comparable jobs in\nthe private sector, and their preference for working for the United\nStates government or a private firm. Other questions probed respondents'\nliving experiences before coming to Detroit, their feelings about\nliving in Detroit, and their views about collectivist versus\nindividualist ideology, a national health insurance plan, military\ndraft, taxes, changes in the Social Security system, the role of\npolitical influence in enabling private citizens to get help from\ngovernment agencies, and the ideal family size. Also explored were\nrespondents' understanding of the meaning of \"red tape\" and how much\nof it they thought was necessary, and their views on the extent of\ngovernment's role in solving problems such as unemployment, education,\nand housing. Respondents were also asked about their political\nactivities, political party preference, and electoral and voting\nparticipation. They were asked to identify the mass media on which they\nrelied most for political information, the organizations they belonged to,\nand if they had a television set. Demographic variables specify age, sex,\neducation, place of birth, marital status, number of children,\nnationality, religious preferences, occupation, family income, length\nof residence in the Detroit area, home ownership, length of time at\npresent residence, and class identification.\nMore information about the Detroit Area Studies Project is available on the Detroit Area Studies Project Web site.","dateModified":"Thu Jul 22 16:09:54 EDT 2010","spatialCoverage":["Detroit","United States","Michigan"],"distribution":["contentURL":" =/pcms/studies/0/0/7/3/07318/V2","@type":"DataDownload","encodingFormat":"application/zip","fileFormat":"SAS","contentURL":" =/pcms/studies/0/0/7/3/07318/V2","@type":"DataDownload","encodingFormat":"application/zip","fileFormat":"SPSS","contentURL":" =/pcms/studies/0/0/7/3/07318/V2","@type":"DataDownload","encodingFormat":"application/zip","fileFormat":"Stata","contentURL":" =/pcms/studies/0/0/7/3/07318/V2","@type":"DataDownload","encodingFormat":"application/zip","fileFormat":"ASCII","contentURL":" =/pcms/studies/0/0/7/3/07318/V2","@type":"DataDownload","encodingFormat":"application/zip","fileFormat":"Delimited"],"@context":" ","version":"V2","url":" ","datePublished":"Thu May 10 00:00:00 EDT 1984","license":" ","dateCreated":"2010-07-22 16:09:54.0","temporalCoverage":["1954"],"name":"Detroit Area Study, 1954: Ideal Family Size in Detroit and Administrative Behavior in a Metropolitan Community","publisher":"@type":"Organization","name":"Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]","alternateName":"ICPSR","url":" "}function modalCloseHandler(helpTerm,elem) $('#helpViewDivId').unbind('hidden.bs.modal');$('#helpViewDivId').on('hidden.bs.modal', function (e) $(elem).focus(););function displayHelp(helpTerm,elem)ReactDOM.render(React.createElement(HelpViewer, modalId:'helpViewDivId', helpTerm:helpTerm, context:'pcms', application:'icpsr',module:null,appUrl:' '), document.getElementById('helpViewDiv'));$('#helpViewDivId').on('shown.bs.modal', function (e) $('#helpViewDivId .modal-header .close').focus(); modalCloseHandler(helpTerm,elem););$('#helpViewDivId').modal('show');function displayPlainHelp(helpTerm,elem)ReactDOM.render(React.createElement(getHelpText, helpTerm:helpTerm, context:'pcms', application:'icpsr',module:null,appUrl:' '), document.getElementById('citation-help-text'));$("#data-doc").treetable( expandable: true );$(function () $('[data-toggle="popover"]').popover(););$(document).ready(function(e)var variables = ;variables.tab = "export";variables.studyId = "7318";variables.size = "0";variables.versionLabel = "V2";variables.publishManagerUrl = " ";variables.childCareUrl = " ";variables.searchServerUrl = " ";variables.bibliographyServerUrl = " ";variables.varsServerUrl = " ";variables.searchConfig = null;variables.searchResults = null;variables.restrictedDataTypes = "idars":false,"useAgreement":false,"restricted":false,"vde":false,"enclave":false;variables.staff = false;variables.currentTenant = "icpsr";variables.currentArchive = "icpsr";variables.studyTenant = "ddf";variables.studyArchive = "ICPSR";variables.title = "Detroit Area Study, 1954: Ideal Family Size in Detroit and Administrative Behavior in a Metropolitan Community";variables.metadata = "purpose":"","collectionNotes":["Although this study also included a sample of interviews conducted in Macomb and Oakland counties, only the Wayne County data is included in this collection.","Variables V55 and V66 contain unknown codes."],"studyDesign":"","description":"This study of adults aged 21 and older in the Detroit\nmetropolitan area provides information on their contact with and\nattitudes toward government administrative agencies, their views\nregarding civic duties, and their organizational memberships in 1954.\nThe study was a combination of two separate studies: IDEAL FAMILY\nSIZE IN DETROIT by Ronald Freedman, and ADMINISTRATIVE BEHAVIOR\nIN A METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY by Morris Janowitz. 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