What is Riggsian Model of Development Administration?

Riggsian Model of Development Administration.

P.M. Riggs has been primarily interested in conceptualizing the interaction between administrative systems and their environment. He maintains that an administrative system operates in the context of its socio-cultural, political and economic environment and there is a continuous interaction between the environment and the administrative system, both influencing mutually. This ecological model is the focal point of Riggsian analysis and has been one of the most creative models in analyzing the administration of developing countries.

In presenting his concepts, he has taken the help of structural-functional systems and ecological approaches. The structural-functional approach considers structures as patterns of behaviour which have become standard feature of social systems. In Riggsian terms, the less number of functions a structure performs, the more “diffracted” it is, and conversely, the more functions a structure performs, the more “fused” it is. A combination of both creates “prismatic” structure.

A social system is a vast network of interrelated parts, each one of which can be understood in relation to other parts and to the whole system. Riggs suggested that administrative structure and behaviour being an integral and interacting part of the entire society, could be comprehended properly only in the context of the social system in which it is embedded. The environment influences the system in the form of “inputs” which are converted into “outputs” by the system. The interaction between a system and its environment is characterized as an ecologica interaction.

Development, according to Riggs, is a process of increasing autonomy of social systems, made possible by rising levels of diffraction. The development level of a society is reflected in its ability to make decisions in order to control its environment. This decision-making capability is based on the level of diffraction in a society.

Diffraction in turn, is a function of differentiation and integration. A high level of differentiation coupled with a high level of integration makes a society or a system diffracted. However, a low level of differentiation with corresponding level of integration makes a system “fused”. Lastly, a high level of differentiation with a low level of integration makes a society “prismatic”.

Riggs views development administration as a goal-oriented administration an administration which is engaged in the task of achieving progressive political, economic and social goals. In this context Riggs has presented the concept of “administrative development” which refers to the increase in the capabilities of an administrative system to achieve the prescribed goals.

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