Mission Karmayogi has been launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India as a capacity building initiative to initially cover 46 Lakh government officials at the centre and thereafter transform 1.5 Crore government officials at the centre, states and local bodies (Niti Aayog, 2018). It calls for competence based training (CBT) and human resource management (HRM) for officers, so as to ensure a shift from ‘Rule Based’ to ‘Role Based’ HRM System. The ultimate aim of Mission Karmayogi is to ensure citizen responsive governance focused on better and on time service delivery. The policy framework of Mission Karmayogi outlines new training policies with focus on continuous learning and driving competencies. IIPA, New Delhi has developed a CBT module comprises of 30 competencies categorised under five heads namely Ethos, Ethics, Equity, Efficiency and Productivity. Office Management (Prichay) has been identified as one of the competency to improve ‘Productivity’.
Author: Brig Chander Sheikhar
Office Management (OM)
OM comprises of two words i.e. Office and Management. The dictionary meaning of ‘Office’ is a place where the business is carried out. Kapur, 2018 depicts office as a nervous system of every operation of an organisation. ‘Management’ comes from French word ‘manège’ meaning to guide (Denyer, 1959). Figure 1 depicts the essence of OM. The elements of OM are personnel, means, environment and purpose (Ghosh, 1983). Denyer, 1959 describes OM as the best use of personnel by utilizing most appropriate means, in a most conducive & suitable environment to achieve a specified purpose. OM encompasses all the functions of general management i.e. planning, organizing, staffing, directing, communicating, coordinating, controlling and motivating (Chopra & Gauri, 2015 and Hicks & Place, 1962).OM is a very important discipline, as well as competency for every organisation to achieve the desired outcome in a most efficient and effective manner. For government officials, OM competency is vital to ensure public service delivery in accordance with the ‘Felt Need’ of citizens.
OM is a vast discipline and OM competencies must embrace multitude of domains. Batty, 1972 describes centralization versus decentralization, span of control, delegation, management information etc as the broader issues of OM. Chopra & Gauri, 2015 describes basic functions of OM as receiving, recording, arranging and giving information. Figure 2 describes OM as a system which comprises of varied discipline of management highlighting their inter dependence.
The aim of this paper is to bring out the importance of OM and its relevance in future CBTs to enhance functional efficiency and effectiveness to ensure citizen centric governance.
OM as a discipline is vital for various types of organisations/office e.g. Government, Corporate Sector, Legal, Medical etc. The paper examines the application of OM for the government organisations only. OM is a vast discipline covering the routine functional aspects to operations and strategy formulation. The paper covers the OM at conceptual level and its relevance in future CBTs to enhance functional efficiency and effectiveness of governance.
OM is essential for efficient and effective implementation of government policies and delivery of public services. It has evolved considerably during the recent years due to advent of technology and economic growth. Therefore, OM is a vital competency for public servants or government officials to ensure the following:-
Certain Best Practices in OM
The advent of modern technologies and gadgets has transformed the face of Modern Office. Chopra & Gauri, 2015 describes that ‘Paperless Office’, ‘Global Office’, ‘Mobile Office’, and ‘Office in Your Pocket’ are very much relevant today. COVID pandemic has extended the office space to ‘Work from Home’ domain. With increased pressure on ensuring fiscal discipline, every organisation is striving to ensure lean office. Tapping & Shuker (2003) suggests basic methods for implementing lean office by applying value stream management. Lewis et. al., 1998 models the administrative office as a closed queuing network to determine number of workers for related tasks and discusses the office arrangement to optimize productivity & equity within the office, and the optimal size of an office. Therefore, the nerve centers i.e. offices for ensuring citizen centric governance are transforming at rapid pace. It calls for dynamism in imbibing OM competency.
Personnel are the most complex element of OM and should be the centre of gravity for developing OM competency. Xu, 2015 suggests improvements in the OM by strengthening the service consciousness, professional skills, mastering the rules and regulations, investing on staff training etc. Khan, 2016 presents a case that personnel must be given autonomy at work place to complete their tasks. It addresses the self-actualization needs. Personnel should be lead and not managed. White, 2019 highlights need of unblocking communications to keep personnel engaged at work place. The leaders in various government offices must create reservoir of trust to align the values of all officials which are responsive towards public service delivery.
An Insight into Existing Training on OM
Institute of Secretariat Training and Management (ISTM) functions as a capacity building institution to the government and support institutions. Training material of ISTM was studied
to see the contents of various training programmes so as to gain an insight into the contents of existing training in OM domain. Appendices A & B give the various facets of OM for tainting of IAS Officers and Deputy Secretaries / Directors and a summary is depicted at Figure 4. There is a need to expand the scope in future CBTs for OMs to include exploitations of latest technological developments, decision making tools & techniques, HRM skills etc to enhance productivity in delivery of public services.
Challenges pertaining to OM in Governance
Challenges in government offices that relate to OM are given in Figure 5 and also enumerated below:-
Take Away Points
It is evident that OM is a key competency to control the nerve centre of effectual governance and improve productivity. There are lots of reforms undertaken in the recent years to improve OM. Some of the initiatives are self attestation of documents, doing away with interviews for selection of Group B (non- gazette) & Group C posts, lateral entry at senior level. 3600 feedback for senior appointments, ensuring synergy between Additional Secretaries and of central government departments and with administrative sub-divisions in the field, National Recruitment Agency (NRA) etc. 58 ministries and departments have reviewed their channel of submission of files to four levels to speed up decision making process. To facilitate inter ministerial and departmental coordination E-Office Version 7.0 has been rolled out which will be implemented by all 84 ministries and departments by Nov 2021 (Sharma, 2021). Development of CBT under Mission Karamyogi is also a step in the right direction. A 3600 approach to sharpen the OM competency will certainly enhance productivity and public service delivery.
There is a need to address the challenges enumerated above, adoption of technological developments and best practices, revising the training on OM in future CBT module etc. Figure 6 summarizes the way head for improving OM competency in future CBT.
This paper makes an endeavour to highlight the importance of OM and its relevance in future CBTs to enhance ‘Productivity”. A whole hearted, contextualized and outcome oriented conduct of online and personalized training is required to sharpen OM skills and shape the attitudes of various government officials.