F. W. Riggs on Society-Administration Relationship

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The views of F. W. Riggs on Society – Administration relationship

Fred W. Riggs’ made a great effort in searching for an objective and effective model for analyzing public administration in developing regions. He is noted for his ‘ecological study’ of public administration that assumes it operated in different social and environmental settings and adapts itself to environmental conditions to achieve a set of social goals. He viewed administrative structure, behavior and operations constitute as an inseparable part of the entire society; their proper understanding can be possible only within the context of the web of social relations with which public administration always is in a state of dynamic interaction. With his background in sociological theory, Riggs’ created the “fused-prismatic-diffracted model”. His analysis of public administrations primarily relies upon a functional-structural analytical approach. He refers to structure as a society’s pattern of activity, while function is considered to be the outcome of a pattern of activity. Given this analytical approach, one discovers that traditional agrarian societies, highly developed industrial societies, and developing societies are functionally and structurally distinct. Such functional and structural attributes can be further examined by using a biological approach, that is, via a spectrum. Taking a traditional agrarian society as an example, one notices that various social functions and social structures are highly functionally diffuse, that is, there is no organized division of labor. This analogy serves to demonstrate the consequences of an unorganized functional and structural system in a traditional agrarian society. But, should a white ray of light be beamed through a prism, it would disperse into a wide range of colors. Riggs uses the word “diffract” to refer to this phenomenon, a metaphor for the functional and structural system that is highly functionally specific, as...
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