Administration generally involves co-operative effort by a number of people to achieve some purpose. It is obvious that the efforts of different persons must be according to a preconceived plan if the purpose in hand is to be accomplished.
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Otherwise, there will be confusion and working at cross-purposes, and the individual efforts are likely to cancel out one another. Taking a simple example like the rolling of a heavy log of wood by a group of 8 or 10 people, it is necessary that»they should stand on one side of the log facing the direction in which it has to be moved and exert pressure simultaneously.
If some stand on one side and others on the other and push in opposite directions their efforts will neutralize one another and the log will not move even an inch. So there must be plan of action and this is called organization. Organization is prior to all administration. There can be no administration unless there is first organization to run it.
Throughout the recorded history men have pondered the problems of human organisations and the administration of the government and other social and religious organisations.
But nothing came in a concrete way till industrial revolution and the rise of large scale economic enterprises. Even after the start of large scale commercial and industrial revolution the development of organisational and management thought was relatively slow.
It was not until the scientific management movement, the writings of Max Weber on bureaucracy and the early administrative management theorist that there developed a systematic body of knowledge related to the management of complex business and other organisations.
There was thus a free flow of literature on organisation theory. This has been the work of practitioners and reformers particularly in America. Practitioners like Taylor did anchor their ideas in administrative reality.
But at the same time they had their own ideas about good organisation, which they had imperceptibly tried to promote. Administrative theories therefore have to be understood against the socio-economic background of the theorists and the historical time period of their existence.