Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



A recent development within the federal government is the large­scale use of civilian scientists and engineers in the development of military materiel. Little research has been conducted of the organizational and administrative methods used by military organizations which thus employ civilian scientists and engineers.

Two such military agencies (one Army and one Air Force) were explored from the standpoint of their organizational structure and concepts and the pattern of authority relationships at the program administration level--the lowest hierarchical level at which a single person has responsibility for a total test and evaluation program. The Army agency was the focus of this study and was the more deeply explored.

Three approaches to the study of authority were considered--the classical approach (based on legitimacy and hierarchical position), the human relations approach (based on competence and person), and the contemporary approach (which attempts to integrate the most relevant aspects of the other two approaches).

Several nonnormal organizational characteristics were identified and discussed. These include the clientele served (other governmental agencies rather than the general public), a mixed military-civilian lead­ership, and a matrix organizational structure (one which combines both specialized functions and overall program administration into an integrated, temporary program-oriented organization).

The patterns of authority at the program administration level in the two agencies were markedly similar. Conclusions resulting from the study are the following:

  1. Neither the classical approach nor the human relations approach fully explains the observed pattern of authority; rather, the concepts inherent in these two approaches must be combined into the contemporary approach.
  2. The delegated formal authority at the program administration level is divided between the functional and program organizational elements, thus requiring that these elements cooperate and coordinate with each other.
  3. The formal authority delegated to the program administrator is not equal to his assigned responsibilities. He must, therefore, possess and be able to use an amount of informal authority sufficient to overcome his lack of formal authority, in order to fulfill his responsibilities.
  4. The roles of line and staff in the two agencies studied are merging, and to some extent are reversing. The line (functional) elements and staff (program) elements perform both line and staff duties. Further, the major purpose of the line elements is to support the staff elements by accomplishing, under the general direction of the staff elements, tasks which have been defined by the staff elements.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member

Lloyd Wilber Wooruff

Third Committee Member

Albert H. Rosenthal



Document Type