Relationship between Generalists and Specialists.

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Several arguments have been given in favour of the supremacy of the generalists. A person with liberal education and varied multi-functional experience is much better than the specialist who has deep knowledge of a very narrow field. It established contact of higher echelons of Civil Service with the grassroots administration.

The administration in India is organised an area basis. Each area requires a generalist administrator to coordinate the activities of the various technical departments working in that area. By their education, training and experience, the generalists have a broad view of the problems facing the society.

At higher levels of administration, very little technical knowledge is required. The argument for specialist is that the tasks of the administration have now become very complex and cannot be comprehended by the generalists. In fact they have a better knowledge of their subjects and can explain it better to the minister.

Fulton Committee in England recommended greater role for the specialists in administration. In most of the countries a large number of top positions are manned by technical people. However the functional expertise is needed in the administration to promote economic development. But the generalist administrator has a critical coordinating role as well which should not be ignored.

No country can afford a war going on among its generalist and specialist administrators. Some solutions have been suggested from time to time, like creating more all-India service and class-I central services. Appointment to the top positions should not be denied to the specialists.

Creation of Parallel Hierarchy
This is a system prevalent in Australia.
Unified Civil Service
This is a radical suggestion of completely revamping the administrative system. If we could look at the administrative system prevailing in different countries, we will find Britain at one extreme where generalist services predominate and the USA on the other extreme where specialisation has reached extreme proportions.

They have argued that the generalist administrators should now try to get more training and specialise in certain broad functional areas. They have also argued that the specialist should be given training in broad general management principles.

This should make it possible to have a happy mix of the broad view of the generalist as well as the technical expertise of the specialist.

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