It is very true that the developing societies exhibit certain very peculiar traits due to the past history and geography of regions. Studies of these traditional or newly emerging societies indicate that these societies have peculiar features of their own which are discussed as under:
(i) Stand at a cross-road and are desperately grouping for the clarity of goals and objectives. However, common goals are to increase agricultural or industrial production, living standards, improvement programmes for public health, education and individual pensions, changes in the traditional roles of women or of the lower castes and the change of one’s loyalties from a tribe to the newly conceived “nation”.
(ii) Among political elites, there is a widely shared commitment to “development”. The commitment often takes on ideological trappings.
(iii) Stand in dire need of socio-political leadership which may sustain them in the hours of crisis, so very natural in situations of change.
(iv) Stand burdened with the heavy backlog or colonial legacies of past and find it difficult to make a break through. To be more specific, the former colonies like India still try to retain some features of legislative, executive and administrative forms of former colonist power, resulting in wide gulf between formal procedures and actual practices.
(v) Stand in need of large national resources and advanced know-how to cut short the lag and catch up with the industrial countries of the west.
(vi) There is high reliance on public sector for leadership.
(vii) Structures developed by the most of the developing countries have a socialist or Marxist Orientation.
(viii) There is heavy reliance on bureaucracy and at the same time a high incidence of frustrated goals as indicated above and civil strife as well as unrest.
(ix) Most of the developing countries suffer from political instability. Such a situation can be attributed to the patterns developed during the course of native movements against the colonial rule.
(x) Suffer from higher degree of economic frustrations coupled with the feelings of discrimination among the members of diverse tribal, linguistic or ethnic groups.
(xi) Significant differences exist between the modernizing and traditional elites. The modernizing elites tend to be urban, have western orientation at the same time is young well educated. They are committed to economic social and political change.
In contrast, the traditional, elite to be rural oriented to local customs and to the indigenous religion. They oppose change and consider it a threat to these values.
(xii) Two contrasting mode is of elites in the developing countries generate conflicts affecting hereby their energies which are desirable for development, modernizing and change.
(xiii) Democratic institutions and executive department are not sufficiently manned by men of experience, talents and skills.
(xiv) The administrative system in these countries suffers from lack of achievement orientation. The administrator’s main emphasis is not on programme goal but on personal expediency, status orientation on secretive grounds.
(xv) In developing countries, a considerable gulf between .form and reality in the administrative system is visible. Riggs calls this as formalism. However, Arora and Valsan take it as ‘positive formalism’.
(xvi) The system of administration in developing countries tends to be self-serving than development oriented. Such a trend can be attributed to factors like colonial tradition, monopoly and prestige of expertise, and also inability of political leadership and the near absence or weakness of groups exercising counter veiling force over administrative system.
All these peculiar features of developing societies need a hand of dedicated persons i.e. administrative system wedded to the mission of development. The elite in these developing countries somehow has to play this role in to a very favourable situation.
Besides being active participants in development, public administration in developing countries can play leadership role and strengthen, sustain and guide the efforts of political leaders who very often find the challenge of change quite overwhelming.