Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This study examines the process of innovation in the Indian setting. Innovation is considered a part of the political and governmental process. Data were gathered from the records of the Federal and State Governments and from interviews with the civil servants, elected functionaries, and Consultants of the Ford Foundation. The contributions of the thesis relate to the areas of comparative political and administrative development and organization theory. The Ford Foundation generally followed the strategy of program integration in their technical assistance programs in Indian agriculture. The innovations suggested by the Foundation had a high casualty rate. Resistance came mainly from the indigenous elite bureaucracy because the administrative innovations ran counter to their "self perceptions''. In several instances, the acceptance of the innovations had the effect of disturbing the established power equations. Support to innovations from the highest political level constituted an important factor in the acceptance of innovations. The general cultural preferences came in the way of certain innovations. The policy innovation concerning the extension of the intensive agricultural strategy resulted in a pronounced shift in the agricultural policy of the Government. Change in the political style within the ruling Congress Party from elitism to pluralism was an important explanatory variable of the policy process. The country’s involvement in a major economic crisis, and the general attitude of the foreign aid agencies were no less significant to the policy outcome. The third innovation which originated with the indigenous bureaucracy, attempted fundamental changes in the structure of district administration. Strategy and small group approach were significant. Decisions concerning the selection of participants turned out to be decisions on the issues under discussion. The method of cooptation of political support and the timing of the proposals to coincide with the prevalence of a factional atmosphere proved to be the most decisive elements of the strategy adopted by the higher bureaucracy. In each instance, the intrinsic worth of an innovation was less important than the support the sponsors could muster from influential quarters. In short, innovation tended to be a dependent variable. The important variables in the innovation process include the societal value system, the nature of the political process, the values and power orientations of the elite bureaucracy and the mechanism for processing innovations. Given the present configuration of social, political and bureaucratic forces, overall change in the Indian governmental setting will be slow, intermittent, incremental and uneven.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

Daniel U. Henning



Document Type