Perspectives on administration essentially refer to approaches that scholars have used to address themselves in scrutinising our administrative world; the conceptual lenses or spectacles available to answer some important questions such as: How does administration fit into the entire human enterprise? How does administration look to other disciplines? How do other disciplines look to the student of administration? And the contribution of multidisciplinary approach to understanding aims at exploring the question. What new and enlightening perspectives on the matters of professional concern to us are available in the various social science? What insights, what hypotheses, what tools of research and analysis are supplied to us by such disciplines as sociology, psychology, history, economics, political science and anthropology?

On the behavioural side of human enterprise, beyond methodology and technology, beyond policy and administration, are expectations of effective inter-personal and organisational communication and cultivation of decency and common sense to establish an environment of cooperative social action and spirit of reconciliation, assimilation and integration. Consoling a broken heart is a wonderful cause. Politicians and administrators need to know that reality makes its own space that cannot be denied. Study of stress and coping suggests approaches to governing of men to create soothing effect because words have power to impact. Review of traditional models used in public administration suggests fresh idioms and analogies, uniquely useful. History, case studies and new areas of research could provide a vision for a better future. Literature is an important resource, for it complements and supplements what is gained from professional writings.

The bureaucratic model often ‘forces’ the material of administrative history. It is useful for perceiving similarities between business and governmental institutions in the modern period of the west, and for similar purposes. But when it is used in studying the cooperative endeavour of distant times or other cultures, it forces upon them a modern western interpretation which is inappropriate. Situations that are not modern or western are made to appear “primitive” because of not fitting in western culture, the Germany of Max Weber in particular.

The lens of rational co-operative action could bring into meaningful focus a wide variety of human situations. It can be used in developing policy and strategy for nation building as well as promotion of international relations and human rights. One advantage of the bureaucratic perspective is that it applies more easily to a situation for which there is no written record. A central question is “How has the human species managed to achieve an increasingly high level of cooperation, evidenced by more complex societies and multiplication of numbers of humans?” in answering this question, it will be discovered that a great deal is relevant before and beyond the bureaucratic framework. Another advantage of the perspective of rational co-operative action is that it permits a fuller and more perceptive account for the factor of physical technology in human co-operation.

We do not know where, in the literature in which administration is the avowed centre of interest, one would find such matters probed. What areas of administrative history have been explored, and what remain unexplored and appear promising? Ancient administration needs to be scrutinised by someone who is not only interested centrally in administration but who is prepared to make use of some of the sharper conceptual tools of contemporary social science. Some evidence indicates, for example, that while the Romans may have borrowed some political theories from the Greek archipelago, they borrowed some administrative technology from the Nile Valley. Research has to verify facts. It needs resolve, time and resources.

Histories of Greece and Rome show that incompetence of administration and the breakdown of administration accompanied the disintegration of the state and civilisations. Important social science research is possible into the relationship between administrators and the rise and fall of what we call civilisation.

From a foreign policy perspective, more of the facts that continue to be unexposed need research for the world at large and diplomats and politicians in particular to help resolve conflicts such as the Kashmir dispute and the Palestine issue. The international community is surprisingly unaware of existing brutalities and future dangers that confront humanity mostly in the less developed world. My heroes are your terrorists as long we do not make an effort to understand the nature of global terrorism, prejudice and hate. The East and West, all may be aware of Islamophobia and Xenophobia. But have effective measures been taken against hate mongers? Obviously, it is inaction and apathy that leads to problems that grow into crises beyond control and containment. Perceptions need to be correct, not based on ignorance and deceit.

From the view point of economic development and improved bilateral and multilateral relations, countries need to focus on trade and commerce and administration of mercantilism. Some preconditions have to be satisfied and firmly institutionalised. A culture of hostility and war-mongering never enables the promotion of administration of mercantilism. Development and progress needs an environment of peace and security. Moreover, lack of concern with the mercantile experience may owe something to the historical victory, of free trade thinking of the nineteenth century, to a passive, lingering suspicion that mercantilism was all a gigantic mistake in human history, corrected by Adam Smith.

We need to broaden our vision. It is necessary to crawl out of our professional shell. Adequate histories of the development of public policies in the respective functional areas as well as of personalities and developing technologies would be especially valuable. We need to learn from our experiences to discover blind spots. Administration is the central character of modern government. Decency and common sense can help us focus on real issues.