Here is an essay on the ‘Chief Executive’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on the ‘Chief Executive’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay # 1. Introduction to the Chief Executive:
The chief executive occupies a central position in Public Administration. By chief executive we mean the person or body of persons at the head of the administrative system of a country. The administrative structure of a country is like a pyramid broad at the base and ending in a single point at the apex. The chief executive is the apex of the administrative pyramid.
In England, the chief executive is the Queen/King, the head of the state. The ruling head in India is the President, in Switzerland it is the Federal Council headed by a chairman whose offices rotates yearly among the councilors.
In U.S.A. the President is the chief executive. Sometimes, a difference is made between the nominal and the real chief executives. In parliamentary governments, the head of the State is called the nominal chief executive, while the cabinet is called the real chief executive.
In Presidential executive the Chief Executive is head of the state as well as of the Government. In Public Administration we consider the chief executive and his functions not as the head of state but as the head of administration. It may be noted that the chief executive is available at every level of government. For instance, there is a chief executive at the State level who is called Governor of the state.
At the level of local government we have the mayor, chairman or president. They are the administrative heads of their own jurisdiction. It may also be noted that the chief executive, at whatever level, is the political leader as well as the administrative head. In public Administration we are concerned with his administrative functions only. His political role is outside the scope of our study.
In Public Administration, the role of the chief executive has been compared to that of General Manager in a corporate undertaking. The General Manager in a corporate enterprise is subordinate to the Board of Directors. He is the agent through which the Directors carry out their powers of general administration. He is subject to the direction, supervision and control of the Board of Directors and is accountable to it.
He is actually responsible for running the enterprise smoothly and efficiently. W.F. Willoughby is strongly of the opinion that the office of the chief executive must be raised to the status of General Manager. He should perform the same functions as are performed by the General Manager.
Willoughby wanted the necessary changes in the American constitutional set-up in order to erect the chief executive, i.e., the President as the General Manager.
In view of the ever growing complexity of the activities of modern States, it is not desirable for the legislatures to have direct dealings with the administration. Consequently, the chief executives of several countries have come to enjoy vast powers in the administrative field.
Today they combine in themselves the three major functions of political leadership, administrative management and ceremonial representation. From the standpoint of the legislature this means that the latter will look primarily to the chief executive for the efficient carrying out of its administrative determination.
Essay # 2. Features of General Managerial System:
The system of administration in which the chief executive functions as the General Manager of administration has the following main features:
(i) Scalar System:
This system establishes a pyramidical system. It consists of arranging the administrative groups or units, steps upon steps in a scale from which the term ‘scalar’ has been derived.
In it the supreme leadership is represented by an individual or individuals at the top of the pyramid, but in order to exercise this leadership it becomes necessary to delegate authority and responsibility to the sub-leaders on the various subordinate steps of the scale.
These sub-leaders are the heads of various departments which are further sub-divided into divisions, branches and sections. The essence of this system is the unity of command. The line of authority runs through the chief executive to the legislature and not directly. The authority of the legislature, no doubt, shall be still supreme but this is to be exercised through the chief executive.
It means that all administrative officers including the departmental heads shall be responsible for their acts to the chief executive who shall be held responsible if anything goes wrong. This principle has reached to its logical conclusion in the cabinet system of government where the official cannot be even referred to in the parliament but the minister has to shoulder the entire responsibility of his subordinates.
(ii) Chief Executive, the Master of Civil Service:
It means that all members of civil service are under the direct control of the Executive. It has the right of selection, promotion and removal of them. While with regard to the lower employees, the discretion of the Executive is limited by the authority of the Public Ser. ice Commission, with regard to the head of departments, the executive enjoys fall discretion in matters of their appointment and removal.
(iii) Control over Institutional Activities:
The Executive exercises fall control over institutional activities of the administrative services, i.e., it prescribes and controls the methods in which the several operating services perform their duties. The legislature does not interfere in these matters.
(iv) Control over Administrative Reports:
All administrative reports are submitted to the legislature through the executive. The heads of departments do not appear before the legislature.
Essay # 3. Administrative Functions of the Chief Executive:
The chief executive has to perform a number of functions. Luther Gulik coined the word “posdcorb” for the administrative functions of the chief executive. The ‘posdcorb’ stands for Planning, Organising, Staffing, Directing, Co-Ordinating, Reporting and Budgeting. Marshall Dimock summarises these functions in one sentence. “He is a trouble shooter, a supervisor and a promoter of the future programme”.
L.D. White has put these functions under the following main categories:
(i) Deciding Administrative Policy:
The legislature lays down the policy to be followed by the government in general terms. For the implementation of the general policy the executive has to decide a large number of questions pertaining to administrative policy. The administrative policy has been defined by E.M. Gladden as “the form in which the ministerial administrator or board carries the will of the government into effect.”
As general administrator, the chief executive has to issue a number of instructions and orders, written or oral, to enable the administrative officers to perform their duties in a proper manner. Apart from these, the departmental heads and division chiefs also issue a number of orders, instructions, circulars, formal letters and proclamations.
The chief executive is sometimes consulted by the departmental heads and other principal officers on many State matters particularly those which are important and controversial, e.g., Hindi agitation, Akali movement, etc. in case of India. The ability and personality of the chief executive has a close bearing on administrative efficiency.
(ii) To Authorize Details of Organization:
Legislature usually provides for the establishment of main units of organization, like departments, commissions, corporations. Details are left to be filled in by the executive at his discretion. The chief executive leaves the shaping of divisions, branches and sections in the hands of their chiefs subject to his approval.
The number and duties of the various sub-units, the setting up of various ad hoc committees to meet particular situations are determined by the executive, e.g., In India the Reorganization of States Commission was appointed by the Union Cabinet in 1954 without any reference to the legislature.
The Boundary Commission under the chairmanship of Justice Shah of the Supreme Court to reorganize Punjab in 1966 was also appointed without reference to Parliament. Many such instances can be quoted from USA.
Similarly the executive prescribes the manner in which the several operating services shall perform certain or all of their duties. As told elsewhere, the working activities of an administrative service may be institutional or functional.
The institutional activities are those which the service has to perform in order that it may exist and operate as an institution. Functional activities are those which it must perform in order to accomplish the purpose for which it has been established.
The institutional activities embrace such work as maintenance, care and operation of plant, the recruitment and management of personnel, the purchase, custody and distribution of supplies, the keeping of accounts, the maintenance of files, etc. The two types of activities differ not only with regard to their end for which they are performed but also in character.
Institutional activities differ from service to service. It is highly important, therefore, that institutional activities should be performed in a uniform manner.
In order that uniformity may be secured and most efficient methods employed, it is necessary that the power to prescribe and subsequently to enforce the manner in which these duties shall be performed shall be vested in some agency exercising general jurisdiction over all services. That agency may be the chief executive.
(iii) To Coordinate the Organisation:
Modern administration is a mosaic of departments, commissions, divisions, sections each performing only a specialized part of the function. In order to create unity in this huge mass of diversified activities, a very high degree of coordination and integration is needed.
This has to be done at lower as well as higher levels. To achieve the purpose of administration, i.e., the general good of the people, integration is desirable from every point of view. In spite of the presence of coordinating machinery, mutual feuds due to personnel rivalries are likely to arise.
All these are settled by the executive. Coordination is rightly considered as the heart of administration. Hence Chief Executive’s role in this field is of pivotal importance. It is suggested that the chief executive should adopt a strong line of action in the matter so that the conflicts may be reduced in number and his decisions may be readily acceptable to the parties concerned.
(iv) To Appoint and Remove the Personnel:
The chief executive is responsible as general manager for the manager in which the heads of the several departments perform their duties. Since the responsibility ultimately is that of the chief executive, it is logical that he should have the power to select and remove the officers. In modern times thousands of people are required to fill in the various administrative posts.
A substantial majority of these is appointed on the basis of merit Most of the personnel are selected by the Civil Service Commissions. The Commissions are merely recommendatory and not appointing authorities. The executive which is the appointing authority may refuse to accept the recommendation.
Appointments of a high category such as of ambassadors are made by the chief executive. In the United States the President makes high appointments subject to the approval of the Senate. After appointment all the questions of training, pay, increment, and promotion are determined by the executive.
The chief executive also has the power of dismissal or demotion of public servants, if he finds it necessary in the interests of administrative efficiency. In general, with regard to the removal of high officers whose appointments he has made, he has full discretion; but, in the removal of personnel of the lower cadre, he is guided by the Civil Service rules.
There are certain constitutional and statutory guarantees which the executive cannot override, e.g.. Article 311 of our Constitution provides that no member of the civil service will be removed or dismissed by any authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed, and that no such person shall be removed or dismissed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken against him.
(v) To Control the Management of Finance:
With regard to public finance, especially in the parliamentary system of government, the chief executive enjoys wide authority. As general manager, he has the duty of making full report regarding past operations and present conditions and to make a statement as to the provision, which, in his opinion, should be made for meeting the revenue and expenditure needs of the government in the future.
This recommendation goes in the form called ‘Budget’. The legislature after considering the various items passes it in the form of an Appropriation Act. After the passage of this Act the executive has the duty of supervising the expenditure and collection of money.
In parliamentary form of government the chief executive or his representative presents the budget in the legislature and sees to its passage. Rejection of budget means no confidence in the government. In the Presidential form of government the formal budgetary authority is vested with the legislature.
In actual practice the President of U.S.A. is the Chairman of the Bureau of Budget which frames the budget and then it is handed over to the Congress for its passage. The President possesses effective veto power over the Budget. Hence generally Congress passes the budget with minor modifications.
(vi) To Supervise, Control and Investigate the Administrative Operations:
The function of the executive is not only to carry on the public business itself, but also to see that it is being carried on properly. As such, it has to supervise the work, give necessary instructions, warn when the work is not being done properly and encourage when it is running smoothly.
It can make inquiries to investigate any administrative matter and set up investigation committees for the purpose, e.g., the Government of Punjab set up Vigilance Committee to investigate into the charges of corruption against high public officials including the Ministers and Chief Minister.
Similarly, the central government set up Das Commission to enquire into the conduct of the Punjab Chief Minister, Partap Singh Kairon. An Administrative Vigilance Commission and the Central Bureau of Investigation which are working on permanent basis in the central government are also meant for the same purpose.
(vii) To Participate in and Control Public Relations:
The chief executive has important responsibilities affecting administration outside the system, notably in representing and defending its work. Since the public administration is ultimately responsible to the public, it has always to keep the people informed about the nature and purpose of its activities and remove all the misunderstandings of the people.
Very often we hear of corruption and red-tapism in a particular department, of indifference or bad treatment of an officer towards the public. In the face of these complaints it becomes the duty of the executive to clarify the position and defend the administration.
It is for the executive to maintain relations with the press, interested groups, voters, and the legislature, hear their views and tell them the views of the government.
So important is this function that a Department of Public Relations has become almost indispensable for every government. Donald C. Stove has nicely portrayed the significance of this function in the words “It is the executives’ job to cultivate relationships with the heads of others government agencies with members of legislative bodies with private institutions and with the public so that his staff will have a favourable climate within which to function.”
The above functions of the chief executive make it clear that he is the administrator-in- chief or the General Manager of public administration. He is the head of administration and all the administrative departments are responsible to him. He looks after the entire administration.
As general manager it is his primary responsibility to see that the administrative affairs of the government are being honestly, efficiently and economically run. In short, the responsibility of proper administration rests upon the chief executive.
Willoughby has suggested the following steps to erect the Presidential office in the United States into that of General Manager:
(i) Line of administrative authority should run through the chief executive to the legislature.
(ii) Heads of administrative services should be appointed and be removable by the chief executive.
(iii) Chief executive should exercise control over institutional activities of the administrative services.
(iv) Administrative reports should be submitted by or through the executive.
(v) Budget should be prepared and submitted by the Chief Executive.
Willoughby finds the following benefits in erecting the office of Chief Executive into that of General Manager:
(i) The administrative branch, both its organization and its practical operations should become a single piece of administrative mechanism, in which its several parts shall work in unison and not pull in contrary directions.
(ii) It shall make the formulation of general programme and its subsequent implementation possible with the benefits of coordination and cooperation.
(iii) It will fix responsibility and see that it is enforced.
If these views of Willoughby are to be implemented the authority of the chief executive becomes onerous as his powers are enormous. Hence he will be requiring assistance of staff and auxiliary agencies which act as ‘filter and funnel’.
Only very prominent matters and that too duly perused and sifted at lower levels come to his table for final orders. He may delegate power for his convenience but delegation does not amount to abdication.
The Chief Executive is always the chief executive. He heads the administration. Hence he is responsible for its proper functioning. His assignment as a chief executive necessitates maximizing his influence throughout his organisation.
He is not supposed to rely exclusively upon his formal authority and the power of command. He should harness his talents is being the catalyst, perfect in assimilation, and assemblage of the varied ideas and export in getting agreements nailed down. He symbolizes organisation par excellence in his country.
Much depends upon the personality and caliber of the chief executive as to succeed he has to get assistance from a band of well chosen colleagues for running the administration efficiently and smoothly.
In USA where Presidential system of government exists the President chooses his adviser and colleagues in the cabinet not only from his own party but also the opposition party if they are men of calibre and possess the requisite abilities for holding a particular assignment.
President elect in November 2008. Barrack Obama appointed his main rival – Hilary Clinton, as secretary of state a pivotal post. Likewise a few young Indian Americans find berth in his cabinet.
Essay # 4. The Parliamentary and Presidential Types of Chief Executive:
The parliamentary executive is the one where the executive is responsible to the legislature whereas in a presidential executive the executive is independent of the parliamentary control.
The U.K. and India provide the examples of parliamentary executive whereas in the U.S.A., there is presidential executive. In a parliamentary executive the chief executive is the Prime Minister who is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the cabinet.
The President or the King is only the nominal executive. Thus it may be said that the real chief executive in the parliamentary countries is a plural body, viz the Council of Ministers which consists of a Prime Minister and a number of other ministers, while in the countries, opting for Presidential septern the chief executive is a single individual heading both, the State and Government.
A body of advisors known as his cabinet assists him. This difference between the parliamentary and presidential chief executive has got an administrative significance.
The cabinet headed by Prime Minister in Parliamentary government with its plural composition is less troubled with the problems of the ‘span of control’ than an individual head like the U.S. President. Under the parliamentary form the task of supervision and control gets distributed among the ministers and comparatively few problems need go to the Prime Minister.
Secondly, in a parliamentary executive there are less chances of the rise of dictatorship of a single individual than in a presidential one.
The second main difference between the two types is related to the legislative-executive relationship. Under the parliamentary type there is close collaboration between the legislature and the executive. The members of the executive are the members of the legislature.
They sit in the legislature, lead it, initiate and pilot bills and the budget, and assume responsibility for the entire administration. They can be put questions and censured for negligence or carelessness.
In a presidential executive like that of the U.S.A. the theory of separation of powers and a system of checks and balances prevails. The secretaries in the USA who constitute the Presidential cabinet are not the members of the Congress. They are not responsible to it. They are the boy-errands of the President. They are his creation.
He is their boss and not the leader unlike that of Prime Minister in parliamentary democracy. He can fire them whenever he likes. Hence they are categorized as Kitchen Cabinet or his family. They are accountable to him and not the Congress. The consequence is that legislative-executive relations are precarious at times.
The third difference between the two types is that parliamentary executive is responsible to the legislature for all its policies and acts while there is no such responsibility to the legislature in the presidential executive.
The result is a certain amount of distrust of executive on the part of the legislature and an unwillingness to grant it additional functions and powers. As such, a parliamentary executive is more adequately equipped with the means of meeting its responsibilities than the presidential type of executive.
Comparing both the types of executives, the parliamentary type is better suited for administrative efficiency because it establishes a responsible and effective chief executive. For efficiency of administration the chief executive must supply administrative direction, driving power and coordination between executive-legislative operational relationships.
Even in the U.S.A., thoughtful critics have advocated the modification of the presidential system along parliamentary lines to assure its smooth functioning. It has been observed that in case the House of Representative and the Senate are having the majority of the opposition party, the American President invariably faces insuperable Bottlenecks and the administration comes to a standstill.
The Swiss Executive embodies features of both of these types. The seven councilors constituting the executive are elected for a fixed period. They are accountable to the legislature but cannot be ousted by it. They do not have right to vote though can sit in the legislature and participate in discussions.
They cannot dissolve the legislature as is the case in parliamentary executive. Such a type of executive possesses the advantages of both the systems though avoiding their defects. However such a type of government can exist in a small country like Switzerland.