“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook” is the quote given by William James, the father of Psychology in the USA. Accordingly, Wisdom can be defined as the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments.
An officer being engrossed with the periphery, ignoring the core issues before him, is not rare in the bureaucracy: Reasons
1. Escapist Attitude: Escapists are people who want to create their own reality and do not listen to the actual problem. They fail to see the core issue but are concerned with things they want to see in the problem.
2. Elitism: Inherited version of British colonial administrative legacy. Civil servants see themselves as masters rather than servants serving the public for greater good.
3. Bureaucratic Inertia: Bureaucratic inertia refers to a position in which the bureaucratic principles and operations of an institution become so complex and time-consuming that they prevent the efficient operation of the company’s core activities.
4. Ego- Defensive Attitude: holding attitudes that protect our self-esteem or that justify actions that make us feel guilty.
5. Lack of Compassion and Empathy: Apathetic towards the state of affairs and well being of the people.
6. Bounded Ethicality: Bounded ethicality is the idea that our ability to make ethical choices is often limited or restricted because of internal and external pressures.
7. Rule bound rather than Value bound: In its ideal form, bureaucracy is impersonal and rational and based on rules rather than ties of kinship, friendship, or patrimonial or charismatic authority. But bureaucracy should never forget the border value-orientation that they are holding office under public trust and what they do should always be for the welfare of the public.
Hence I completely agree that such preoccupation of an administrator leads to travesty of justice to the cause of effective service delivery and good governance. Because
1. Breach of public trust: May lead to the breakdown of social contract between the government and the public at large.
2. Selective discrimination : The poor and the vulnerable sections are hit drastically. Ex: During covid times, migrants, unorganised workers and domestic workers were hit badly.
3. Exclusivity: The rules and regulations start to favour only a few. Inequity rises as have nots have been excluded and the privileges of service delivery has become the exclusive domain of the haves.
4. Inefficiency: Because the programs and policies are not implemented in its truest spirit but done in a purely mechanical way.