Luther Gulick

Luther Gulick

In Denhardt and Catlaw, Gulick studied administration as a science, he stated that administration is a net of discretion and action. He raised four steps to create new agencies designed to carry out new programs: 1) to define the job to be carried out; 2) to select a director; 3) to determine the nature and number of units required; and 4) to establish a structure authority through which the director can coordinate and control the activities of the units

In “Notes on the Theory of Organization”, Gulick concluded three reasons of division of work: 1) men differ in nature, capacity and skill; 2) the same man cannot be at two places at the same time; and 3) men don’t have enough time to know everything well (specialization).

For the reason of different human nature, space and time, and specialization, work has to be divided. Division of work and cooperation is the foundation of human progress and development. Division of work has its limitations. It also needs to abide by some principals. Once work is divided, coordinating must interfere, or there is the danger of losing the entity as a whole. The chief executive undertakes the responsibility of POSDCORB.

Gulick thought that division of work also brings limitations:

  1. The workload has to be proper. Nothing will be gained by subdividing work if the work requires less than the full time of one man.
  2. Division of work needs be considered with existing technology and custom. There is no point to divide work, where there is lack of technology or all about custom.
  3. Subdivision of work must not pass beyond physical division into organic division

The whole is equal to the sum of the divisions of work, ignoring coordination. Coordination must be won by intelligent, vigorous, persistent, and organized effort. There are two ways to achieve coordination—by organization and by the dominance of an idea.

An organization should pay attention to the span of control, where people’s knowledge, time and energy are limited; to one master, which makes efficiency; and to technical efficiency, where people could focus on their specialty.

Gulick’s theory of organization is combined with practice. He emphasized the importance of coordination in organization to eliminate the limits and disadvantages of division of labor. As far as public administration, he inferred the necessity of centralization and one master, referring to federal government. Moreover, Gulick raised the theory of POSDCORB, (which represents planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting), which emphasizes that executive process should be regulated and planed.

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