Training Course

Initiative And Drive


Initiative and Drive is the source of change. It is a behavioral component of an individual. Human Resource Management intends to harness its power and potential through consistent organizational efforts. The nature and scope of initiative and drive is influenced by its environment. Public Administrative Systems in general and Indian Administrative System in particular functions in an environment different to private administrative systems. Governments aim at Good Governance for its people. In the underdeveloped world, PI impacts directly on the survival and the positive development of societies and cultures alike5.It is increasingly being realized that the Good Governance could be achieved through the initiative and drive of its stakeholders, and Civil Servants are the important participants in realizing this objective.

Today, India is witnessing rapid and dynamic socio economic progress in all walks of its life. Public Administrative Systems are expected not only to cope- up with this pace but also to emerge as its champion. However, the public administrative system in the country has been reeling under its past and at the receiving end of the dissatisfaction of the public. The Government of India has been engaged on transforming its civil servants into people centered, result oriented, accountable, innovative, efficient, effective and dynamic in discharging public functions and addressing their problems. It is now increasingly being recognized and emphasized that initiative and drive require constant caring and nurturing to realize its potential in the public systems. The role of Training is emphasized in capacity building of the civil servants in order to make them initiative and drive in performing their role.

Author: V.Nagamani



Traditionally, public personnel were considered as passive actors in performance of their function. They were expected to complete their job within the scope as prescribed and defined. Hackman & Oldham (1975) had rightly observed that work characteristics such as autonomy, feedback, task significance, task

identity, skill variety tend to be conceptualized as organizational givens to which the person adjusts. Their finding could be found true for the Public Personnel also. They work in the environment where-in goals, objectives procedures and processes of a function are laid-down in a rule book. All levels of higher to lower in the administration fall broadly under the same line of thought and were expected to carry out their function with due conformity to the rule and as directed by the higher authority. Their minds and actions were deeply ingrained with the idea, through the formal and informal training all through their carrier, that they were responsible for their duty not for the outcome. Fulfilment of rule was considered fulfilment of job and any deviation was a question raised at their morality. Their ideas and actions were insulated from the pain and grief of the subjects, and their anonymity was protected.

However, today, the modern society is undergoing rapid socio economic development and unprecedented technological advancements. Public Administration is expected to be dynamic, innovative, progressive, productive, efficient and ethical. Now the Public Employees are not only expected but also demanded to be innovative, drive, and a proactive performer in discharging ones duties and functions. Acting mechanically is being increasingly questioned; outcome is becoming yardstick for one’s actions and in-fact for their very existence in their organisation. This became need of the hour to bring in qualitative transformation in its practices and procedures at all levels of Administrative System as to make it relevant to the changing times. This emerging phenomenon and in view of its need for establishing Good Governance for its people, Government of India has been bringing various policy and executive measures to transform the administrative systems into that of people centric and role based systems.

The Government of India has been embarked upon Good Governance and Citizen Centric Administration for its people. Good Governance aims at providing public services effectively, efficiently and equitably to all its citizens and with concern for economy in utilization of the public resources. According to 12th Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission the entire edifice of the Good Governance rests on the pillars of Ethos, Ethics, Equity, and Efficiency. The Report emphasizes that the Constitution of India embody the concept of Welfare State, and the endeavor of Government at all levels has, therefore, been to provide for a citizen centric administration. The Tenth Plan defines Good Governance as management of all such processes that enables individuals to raise their capability levels on one hand and provide opportunities to realize their potential and enlarge the set of available choices, on the other. The Tenth Plan also acknowledges that the State is responsible for creating an environment conducive for building individual capabilities and encouraging private initiative.


Human Resource Management is increasingly becoming specialized and gaining deeper insights into the human behavior at the work place. The Private Organizations are largely credited for the advancement in the human resource management research strategies. These findings and solutions of the human resource management in private organizations could be studied and suitable modified to suit the work environment of the public organization. One of those theories and strategies is initiative and drive at the work place. Initiative and Drive is one of the skill and attribute emphasised by Mission Karmayogi for developing a competent civil servant, and to enhance their efficiency levels in the public service delivery.


Initiative is being defined as a particular behaviour that results in an individual taking an active and self-starting approach to work goals and tasks and persisting in overcoming barriers and setbacks. It is said that one of the consequences of such an active approach is that the environment is changed by the individual. This is in contrast to a passive approach mentioned in the paras above. This Theory also assumes that human beings with certain personal traits are influenced by their environment and the behaviour they possess. The thinkers Michael Frese and Doris Fay5 have argued that personal initiative has a number of dimensions which include; innovation, resourcefulness, creativity, dedication, vision, resilience, and optimism among others. People with personal initiative obtain better results, perform better tasks, are more innovative and entrepreneurial in nature.

Initiative is said as a Self-starting behaviour5. It implies that the goals are not given or assigned by someone else, but that the person himself or herself develops these goals. If a manager pursues a strategy to enhance effectiveness that is obvious, that is not difficult to do, about which other managers also talk, or about which is discussed in business publications, the actions are not initiative. If the strategy was suggested from one of the rank-and-file workers, this would be considered to be initiative from that person5. Likewise, if the manager assumes a strategy that is not “in the air,” or is unusual for his or her company, the thinkers said there is initiative

Initiative implies proactive action. This is also implied that where there is initiative in an employee, he attempts to get feedback, develops signals that signify future problems, and develops plans to actively prevent these problems from occurring. Implementation of long-term goals often leads to new problems, barriers, and setbacks. Because new suggestions for work improvement, new procedures to do things, and so on have not been tried before, one will experience difficulties. If one does not overcome these difficulties or gives up quickly in the face of barriers, there is no initiative

Environmental Supports are said to be the third dimension of the concept of initiative. The above two thinkers have discussed that three environmental conditions are posited to influence the development of Initiative: control at work, complexity of work, and the support for personnel Initiative provided by the company and the immediate supervisor. All three are proposed to activate people and, therefore, to stimulate self-started behaviour and to overcome barriers, once they occur.

Another factor contributing to Personnel Initiative is work stressors. Stressors imply that something is not adequate about a process, a procedure, or a design. Therefore, stressors contribute to the feeling that one ought to do something about the work situation to improve it; this leads then to a higher degree of Personnel Initiative.

Knowledge, Skills, and Cognitive Ability are also found to influence the initiative of a person. To be able to take initiative, one needs a good and thorough understanding of what one’s work is, that is, one needs job-relevant knowledge, skills, and cognitive ability. Individuals who have a long-term perspective on work are better able to anticipate future demands and actively seek to prepare for them. Empirically, Personnel Initiative is positively related to job qualifications. Important personality factors for Personnel Initiative are needed for achievement, action orientation, and psychological conservatism




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