Administration and Management

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Administration and Management


the element in systems of various types (biological, social, technical) that upholds the organization of the system and ensures that the system functions properly and attains its objectives. Social management and control as actions whose goal is to order, improve, and develop society and preserve certain qualitative characteristics of society are essential and inherent features of all societies, features deriving from the social structure, the social character of labor, the necessity of human contact in work and life, and the exchange of the products arising from society’s material and nonmaterial activities.

Labor, material production, creative activity, the distribution of goods, and consumption are impossible without some form of organization, a distribution of labor, and a determination of each person’s place and function in the community; administration and management help to make these necessary decisions. Social behavior and social relations in general are both of necessity subjected to management. Society always confronts man and the community with certain demands deriving from its character.

Two mechanisms for administration and management have been developed in society, the spontaneous and the conscious. With the spontaneous mechanism, the ordering and controlling action is the net result of the interplay of forces that are often opposed to one another and of a large number of random, isolated events. The action is by its nature automatic and does not require the intervention of man. An example is provided by the marketplace, the basic regulator of the capitalist economy and the main directing force of production and of the whole system of social relations determined by production. In capitalist countries, as a result of modern methods of production and the scientific and technological revolution, efforts by the state and the monopolies to orchestrate the economy and control social relations and intellectual life have become common. These efforts serve only to mitigate, not eliminate, the anarchy of the market.

Side by side with the spontaneous factors are conscious factors, which come into play at each stage of development of society. Gradually, social institutions evolve. These institutions are organs of management; that is, they form a system of organizations exerting a purposeful influence on society.

During the course of history, the conscious factors of administration and management have undergone profound changes, from management exercised through traditions and customs passed from generation to generation in primitive societies to the management of society on a scientific basis under socialism.

The limits, practices, goals, and principles of management depend on the economic relations prevailing in the society and on the society’s social and political structure. In a class society, conscious management takes on a class character and concerns itself with the interests of the dominant class or group of classes. In bourgeois societies, management is based on private ownership. The chief goal of the bourgeoisie, which uses the state and other organizations to exercise control over society, is to consolidate its own position of dominance. In a socialist society, management is based on public ownership and has as its aim the development and improvement of production, culture, and all social relations in order to satisfy the material and nonmaterial needs of the working people. The working people themselves manage society either directly or through representative bodies. “Socialism alone,” wrote V. I. Lenin, “will make possible the wide expansion of social production and distribution on scientific lines and their actual subordination to the aim of easing the lives of the working people and of improving their welfare as much as possible” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 381).

Socialism is a society created in planned fashion through the efforts of the mass of the people under the guidance of the Communist Party and the socialist state on the basis of scientific knowledge and the application of objective laws. To manage society in a scientific manner is to recognize the laws governing society and to direct the development of society on the basis of these laws through planning, organization, regulation, and control. It also involves the timely detection and resolution of any contradictions besetting social development, the removal of any obstacles to development, the preservation and development of the system’s integrity and capacity to overcome or neutralize internal and external negative influences, and the pursuit of correct and realistic policies based on a careful appraisal of objective possibilities and of the relationships between social forces. Thus, the scientific management of society under socialism represents a systematic, conscious, and purposeful influence exerted by people on the social system as a whole or on various parts of the system (social sphere, branches of the economy). The management is based on a knowledge and application of objective laws and trends for the purpose of ensuring the optimal functioning and development of socialist society and the attainment of the society’s stated goal—accomplishing the objectives of communist construction.

Scientific management requires a thorough study of social laws and development trends and a corresponding program of action. As socialism develops, objective laws can be harnessed to an increasing extent, and the scope and importance of spontaneous regulating factors diminish. At the present level of scientific and technological development, certain forces of nature having a considerable effect on the economy, especially agriculture, remain beyond control. Such phenomena as weddings, prices on the kolkhoz market, and people’s tastes and wants, also do not lend themselves to regulation. However, although these phenomena appear random in nature when considered individually, taken as a whole they assume a statistical character, and the probability of their occurrence may be more or less accurately estimated. This makes it possible to assess and influence the phenomena.

Lenin attached great importance to the question of scientific management, regarding its organization as one of the main tasks of socialist and communist construction. On the basis of Marxist-Leninist theory, the Communist Party and Lenin developed the fundamental principles of socialist management. These principles include the creation of ordered, integrated systems with due regard for economic, sociopolitical, and ideological requirements, the unified nature of economic and political leadership, and democratic centralism, combining central planning with democracy and individual initiative. The principles also include partiinost’ (party spirit) and a scientific, objective, and concrete approach to problems that takes due account of objective laws and the manifestations of these laws under a given set of historical circumstances. The practice of identifying among many problems the problem whose solution provides the key to a whole range of management problems is also a fundamental principle, as is the practice of managing fully integrated industries that combine regional interests with those on the sectoral level.

The party and Lenin developed as the organs of management a system of government and nongovernment organizations and institutions directed by the party. They also laid down the main requirements for work in the management apparatus, namely knowledge, efficiency, an ability to consider both the scientific and the administrative side of a problem, and an ability to approach problems in a systematic and organized fashion. Lenin and the party also dealt with methods of training and improving the qualifications of managers. The principles of management can be seen at work in the government, in the economy, and in industrial control systems.

In practice, management involves the execution of a series of sequential operations, namely the adoption of resolutions setting forth goals (directives, plans, laws, regulations), the realization of these goals through organization and control, and the determination of results. Management is impossible without a systematic exchange of information between the components of the social system and between the system and its surroundings. Information makes management aware of the state of the system at any given moment, and by indicating whether the objectives of the system are being attained, it enables management to take the necessary corrective steps.

As a result of the scientific management of society, the Soviet state has achieved enormous successes in all fields. Through the efforts of the people under the guidance of the Communist Party, a developed socialist system has been built in the USSR, a system characterized by a high level of development in all areas of society and by a close and comprehensive interaction between these areas. It is this developed form of socialism that both demands and makes possible a harmonious development of all areas of society, a unified and coordinated approach to economic, sociopolitical, and ideological problems, and a thorough consideration of the ramifications of profound scientific, technological, and economic changes. Developed socialism also demands and makes possible economic growth with the simultaneous attainment of broad social objectives, namely raising the standard of living of the working people, accelerating the transition from class differentiation to social homogeneity, and promoting the material and cultural development of society. These requirements and possibilities are such that management questions cannot be left solely to management organs, directors, and specialists; the participation of party, state, and economic organizations and workers’ groups is also required.

In developed socialist societies, the potential of management has grown markedly as a result of the sharp rise in the level of knowledge and training of directors, specialists, and the broad mass of workers. Managerial science and the technical means of management have experienced significant development; computers have been introduced, and automatic control systems have been developed, the latter being used to manage economic sectors, enterprises, and production processes. The CPSU, while noting the successes so far achieved in management, constantly emphasizes the need to develop new forms, methods, and means of management. The task of the scientific management of society is to utilize more fully the advantages and possibilities of socialist society and to ensure the effective functioning and development of society and its advance toward communism.


Marx, K. Kapital, vols. 1–3. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 23–25.
Engels, F. “Ob avtoritete.” Ibid., vol. 18.
Engels, F. Anti-Dühring. Ibid., vol. 20.
Engels, F. Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva. Ibid., vol. 21.
Lenin, V. I. “Ocherednye zadachi Sovetskoi vlasti.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36.
Lenin, V. I. “Nabrosok pravil ob upravlenii sovetskimi uchrezhdeniiami.” Ibid., vol. 37.
Lenin, V. I. “Ekonomika i politika v epokhu diktatury proletariata.” Ibid., vol. 39.
Lenin, V. I. “O perestroike raboty SNK, STO i Malogo SNK.” Ibid., vol. 44.
Lenin, V. I. “Luchshe men’she, da luchshe.” Ibid., vol. 45.
Lenin, V. I. “Kak nam reorganizovat’ Rabkrin.” Ibid., vol. 45.
Materialy XXIV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1971.
Materialy XXV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1976.
Leninizm i upravlenie sotsial’nymi protsessami pri sotsializme. Moscow, 1973.
Afanas’ev, V. G. Nauchnoe upravlenie obshchestvom, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.
Afanas’ev, V. G. Sotsial’naia informatsiia i upravlenie obshchestvom. Moscow, 1975.
Petrov, G. I. Osnovy sovetskogo sotsial’nogo upravleniia. Leningrad, 1974.
State administration. Administration is one of the activities of the state, the power of the state being exercised through the appropriate administrative organs. Administration by the state is an extremely important form of social control.
All state bodies participate to some extent in administration, concerning themselves with the internal and external functions of the state and safeguarding the economic, political, and social interests of the dominant classes. The system that these bodies form, the distribution of authority (duties, prerogatives) between the bodies, and the hierarchy of the bodies are set by constitutions, laws, and other legal acts. In their day-to-day activities, these bodies, within the limits of their authority, execute the laws and ensure order.
State administrative bodies may be national or regional in scope; other bodies concern themselves only with certain fields, such as the economy, education, public health, or internal and external security. Such purely administrative bodies are distinguished from legislative, judicial, and procuratorial bodies, which can also be considered bodies of administration when taken as a whole.
In socialist countries, the system of state administrative bodies is, broadly speaking, headed by representative bodies, for example, the soviets of working people’s deputies in the USSR. The representative bodies set up agencies and executive bodies that are controlled by and accountable to them. These agencies and executive bodies carry out the day-to-day administrative tasks of the state; they include bodies with overall administrative authority (councils of ministers, executive committees of local soviets), bodies overseeing a given sector or function (ministries, state committees of councils of ministries, central departments of the Council of Ministers of the USSR), and bodies in charge of production associations, enterprises, institutions, or organizations. State administrative bodies may also be classified territorially as either central or local; in the case of federal states, bodies are either federal or republic.
In the USSR, a developed socialist society, the part played by state administration is growing as a result of the increasing complexity of society and the needs created by scientific and technological progress. The structure of the state is being refined, superfluous sections are being eliminated, and the accountability of workers is being increased. Scientific and technical councils have been set up for state administration. Of great importance too is the resolution by statute of administrative issues, in particular issues relating to functions and the division of authority.
Improvements in state administration aimed at increasing the participation of the population have also been carried out.
In bourgeois states today, state administration is working to increase the power of the executive branch, arrogating to itself the prerogatives of representative bodies (parliaments); to an increasing extent, administrative bodies are performing legislative functions, the authority for which is granted by either parliament (delegated legislation) or the constitution. The large size and continued growth of the state apparatus are characteristic features of modern bourgeois states, features deriving from the greater range of activities of bourgeois states, especially with regard to economic and social regulation. The “traditional” forms of bourgeois administrative activities, such as those performed by the police and army, have also been increased, an increase that has led to the creation of new administrative bodies and subdivisions of bodies and to an increase in administrative personnel in presently existing bodies. The growth of the state apparatus has brought with it increased bureaucratization (strict hierarchy, special privileges for officials, complex staffing system). There is a characteristic tendency to free the administrative bodies from control by elective bodies and the judiciary and to set up special administrative tribunals outside of the regular judicial system (seeADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE). Under state-monopoly capitalism, there is a tendency to grant extraordinary (discretionary) powers to a small group of individuals in the state machinery, for example, the government, or even to one or two of the highest officials, such as the prime minister or president.


Nauchnye osnovy gosudarstvennogo upravleniia v SSSR. Moscow, 1968.
Lunev, A. E. Teoreticheskie problemy gosudarstvennogo upravleniia. Moscow, 1974.
Management of production. Management of production is a concrete historical method of imparting order to the process of social labor in accordance with the objective laws of the development of production; it is one of the main forms of social control.
Rudimentary methods of organizing joint productive efforts arose at the time of the primitive communal system. Administrative tasks were performed jointly by all the adult members of the clan, tribe, or commune. The elders and leaders of the clans and tribes acted as directors in the organization of joint productive efforts and the distribution of products. With the emergence of a class society, management acquired a dual character. On the one hand, it retained its function of organizing joint labor; on the other, it became an element of exploitation. With the methods of production in slaveholding and feudal societies, management consisted for the most part of overseeing the labor process and employing physical and extraeconomic forms of coercion.
In capitalist societies, management developed in three main stages. During the formative period of capitalism, the enterprise was run by the owner himself, and the overall regulator of production was the uncontrollable market mechanism. At the stage of large-scale machine production, management became distinguishable from ownership and was done by hired administrators. The period of state-monopoly capitalism has been characterized by the emergence of professional industrial organizers—managers—by the introduction into the management process of modern technical equipment, and by attempts at government intervention in the capitalist economy. Elements of scientific management of capitalist production arose and underwent development at the stage of large-scale machine production, as well as during the period of state-monopoly capitalism. Lenin attached great importance to the study of management at capitalist enterprises, particularly the organizational and technological aspects, deeming it necessary to “adopt everything that is truly valuable in European and American science” (ibid., 5th ed., vol. 45, p. 206).
In such developed capitalist countries as the United States, Japan, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany, a great deal of useful and interesting material has been gathered on the use of computers in management, on improvements in the management structure of certain firms, companies, and conglomerates (project management, matrix management, systems designed to accommodate innovations), and on the introduction of the latest organizational and technical improvements in management (planning, programming, and budgeting systems, operations research, system analysis). Under capitalism, however, scientific management must operate within the confines of private property and therefore can encompass only individual enterprises, companies, and conglomerates. Processes of economic integration and state-monopoly regulation designed to mitigate the effects of economic crises are incapable of fundamentally changing “anarchically built capitalist society,” whose principal force for development is the “spontaneously growing and expanding national and international market” (ibid., vol. 36, p. 171).
The management of production under socialism is a conscious process of regulation aimed at ensuring that the parts of the economy interact with one another optimally and that the economy functions and develops uninterruptedly. The central economic organs function as a unified management center.
The focus of management in a socialist system of production is the national economy, which comprises production sectors, territorial complexes, all-Union and republic industrial and production associations, and enterprises. Depending on its level, management has as its purview the national economy as a whole, a sector of the economy, the economy of a territory, or an individual association or enterprise. The goals and objectives of management are embodied in the social and economic policies of the Communist Party and the state.
Under socialism, management is characterized by a definite sequence of steps, including the determination of objectives, forecasting, planning, day-to-day management, coordination of activity, stimulation, accounting, and monitoring. In managing the national economy as a whole, these various management functions are combined in a single process. The centralized, planned direction of the economy unifies planning and production management. National economic planning, which is carried out by bodies ranging from Gosplan to the planning sections of enterprises, represents a specific form of management activity. Production management at the sectoral level is carried out by the central economic bodies of ministries and departments, and at the level of individual production associations and enterprises managerial functions are carried out by the production department and by control service (their tasks being the organization, control, and scheduling of production processes).
In the national economy, decisions must be made on the basis of sectoral and territorial considerations. The main tasks in managing an economic sector are determining needs and supplying the economy with the output of the sector, pursuing a unified policy with regard to technology, applying the achievements of science and technology to production, studying and disseminating useful information from the most productive workers, and studying qualitative economic indicators. The main task of territorial management is to bring about the comprehensive development of a given region through central planning, a rational use of the region’s natural resources, and cooperation both within the region and between regions.
The methods of management of social production may be classified according to the control aspect (economic, organizational and technical, sociological, demographic), the type of incentive offered (the interests [material, moral] appealed to), and the organizational form (the decisions worked out by individuals or groups and the decisions issued in the form of statutes or norms, performed once or repeatedly).
Management personnel include those directing economic activity at all levels, as well as functional managers, specialists, and auxiliary personnel (machine operators, secretaries, bookkeepers). Depending on their role in formulating and implementing objectives, managers fall into one of three groups. The first includes those who do not participate in the decision-making process and who merely work with others in attaining the objective (foremen, brigade leaders). The second group includes managers who do participate in the formulation of goals and who themselves organize the work for attaining the goals (managers of shops and plant sectors). In the third group are those who are involved in decision-making and who oversee the attainment of objectives using specialized control apparatus (directors of large shops, enterprises, and associations and of entire economic sectors). Functional managers perform only part of the overall management function; for example, a chief engineer will be concerned only with the operation of the machinery, and a chief accountant will be concerned only with the keeping of records. The technical means of management comprise equipment for organizing, transmitting, and analyzing information, equipment used by the worker at his work station, and service equipment.
Today, in keeping with the democratic nature of management under socialism, both government and nongovernment organs figure in the management of social production. The leading role in the management of the national economy is played by the Communist Party, which determines the problems to be dealt with in developing the economy.
In the USSR, decisions on the most important issues are made jointly by the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the last being the country’s highest administrative organ. The Council of Ministers of the USSR coordinates and directs the work of the all-Union and Union-republic ministries and departments and adopts measures dealing with the formulation and execution of national economic plans and budgetary provisions and with the strengthening of the credit and monetary system. The organs of the Council of Ministers of the USSR can be subdivided into those dealing with a single sector and those that are intersectorial (state committees, certain ministries, chief departments). Among the intersectorial organs are those dealing with forecasting, planning, accounting, or control (State Planning Committee, Central Statistical Administration of the USSR, Committee of People’s Control of the USSR), those overseeing an individual aspect of social production (State Committee on Labor and Wages of the USSR, State Standard Administration of the USSR), and those that in overseeing a single sector of the national economy (material and technical supply) must concern themselves with many sectors (State Supply Committee of the USSR).
The organs administering a single sector are grouped into organs of social production (industry, agriculture, construction, transport) and organs of distribution (trade).
The structure of industry calls for administration by sector, an arrangement that most fully meets the requirements of scientific and technological progress and that furthers the consolidation and improvement of industrial, technological, organizational, economic, and property relationships both within and between sectors. At the same time, in a socialist national economy, the economic independence of each sector is adequately ensured. The unification of sectoral and territorial administration may be seen in the functioning of Union-republic ministries; here, the ministries of light industry, the food-processing industry, and other branches of industry in the Union republics are simultaneously subordinate (dual subordination) to the ministry in Moscow and to the council of ministers of the Union republic. This dual subordination permits a uniform policy with regard to technology within a given branch of industry to be combined with the needs arising from the all-around development of an economic region. The unification of sectoral and territorial administration can also be seen in the broadening of the rights of Union republics in administering the industries under their jurisdiction and examining the plans for enterprises under all-Union jurisdiction. A further example of the unification is seen in the creation of commissions in the State Planning Committee of the USSR for important economic regions.
Direct administration of industrial sectors is carried out by the corresponding ministries. The administrative functions are distributed among the internal subdivisions of the ministerial machinery, that is, among boards, scientific and technical councils, specialized subdivisions, chief sectoral departments, and divisions overseeing certain functions. The decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR of Mar. 2, 1973, On Certain Measures for the Further Improvement of Industrial Administration, provides for the abolition of the chief departments of ministries and the transition to all-Union and republic industrial associations as intermediary managerial links for sectors; in a number of cases, the transition is to be to a two-link system, with production associations and large enterprises directly subordinate to the corresponding ministry. In this connection, increasing demands are being made on ministerial departments charged with overseeing certain functions and operations. Duties heretofore belonging to the chief departments of ministries are being transferred to other ministerial departments and to the all-Union and republic industrial associations. Part of the administrative authority of the ministerial chief departments is being transferred to production associations and enterprises.
The specific organizational features of the administration of other sectors of the national economy derive from the peculiarities characterizing the operation of the sector and from the sector’s role in the system of expanded social reproduction.
Several ministries and departments participate in agricultural administration. Overall authority is vested in the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR, a Union-republic ministry responsible for production on the country’s sovkhozes and kolkhozes. Management of sovkhozes is carried out through a centralized system of state organs, namely, the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR, ministries of agriculture within the Union republics, and trusts, associations, and territorial administrations. The part played by the state in the management of kolkhozes is confined to formulating delivery plans, coordinating production plans, and overseeing the use of the kolkhoz’s investment funds. In addition, the state makes use of a number of methods of indirectly influencing kolkhoz production, such as regulating purchase prices and granting credits for special purposes.
The construction industry is administered by nine ail-Union and Union-republic ministries. The State Committee for Construction (Gosstroi) of the Council of Ministers of the USSR is an intersectorial Union-republic organ which ensures that a uniform policy with regard to technology in construction is followed and which coordinates the work of the leading design organizations and the development of the construction industry. The State Committee on Civil Engineering and Architecture, which was set up under Gosstroi, sees that a uniform policy with regard to urban construction is adhered to and oversees the development of standard designs for apartment houses and public buildings and facilities. The committee also examines projects for the layout and construction of cities and settlements.
In transportation, there are separate management structures for each type of transportation. Railroad, maritime, and air transportation is overseen by all-Union ministries, namely, the Ministry of Railroads, the Ministry of Merchant Marine, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Motor-vehicle and river transportation is overseen by ministries at the republic level.
The administrative structure for trade conforms to the special features of the various types of trade (state trade, cooperative trade, kolkhoz markets) in the USSR. State trade is administered by the Ministry of Trade of the USSR (a Union-republic ministry) and by republic ministries of trade.
Efforts are being made in the USSR to improve the administration and management of the national economy. The complexity of economic relations brought about by concentration, specialization, and cooperation in production has resulted in a considerable growth in the volume of management work. The program of the Communist Party for improving management provides for (1) raising the scientific level in planning, organizing programs for long-term forecasting, preparing general programs for economic development, and placing emphasis upon net economic results; (2) improving the organizational structure and methods of economic administration and reducing the outlays for administration; (3) focusing efforts and resources on the most important national tasks, combining sectoral development with territorial development, dealing simultaneously with current problems and problems bearing on long-term development, and ensuring a balanced development of the economy; (4) utilizing to a greater extent the economic levers and incentives available to management at all levels of the economy, improving the methods used to arrive at a full resolution of national, intersectorial, and territorial problems, creating management systems for groups of similar economic sectors, and increasing the accountability of officials; (5) adopting on a wide scale in planning, accounting, and economic analysis in all phases of management econometric methods, computer technology, and telecommunication equipment and developing and introducing automated control systems; (6) improving the training of management personnel with due regard for the requirements of the scientific and technological revolution; and (7) developing democratic centralism in such a way that greater centralization of management is combined with democratization and worker participation.


Kamenitser, S. E. Osnovy upravleniia promyshlennym proizvodstvom. Moscow, 1971.
Gvishiani, D. M. Organizatsiia i upravlenie, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Funktsii i struktura organov upravleniia, ikh sovershenstvovanie. Edited by G. Kh. Popov. Moscow, 1973.
Problemy nauchnoi organizatsii upravleniia sotsialisticheskoi promyshlennost’iu. Edited by D. M. Gvishiani and S. E. Kamenitser. Moscow, 1974.
Upravlenie sotsialisticheskim proizvodstvom: Voprosy teorii i praktiki. Moscow, 1974.
Bronnikov, Iu. N. Upravlenie sotsialisticheskoi ekonomikoi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1975.
Chandler, A. D. Strategy and Structure. Toronto, 1966.
Drucker, P. F. Management: Talks, Responsibilities, Practices. New York, 1974.
Management and technology. Management also figures in technology. Referred to here as control, it is applied to production processes (mining, processing, manufacturing), energy processes (generation, transformation, transmission), transportation (movement of goods and people), and information processes (collection, processing, transmission, storage). Technological processes can be broken down into working processes, which pertain directly to the performance of the task (removing shavings during cutting operations, moving a vehicle, generating voltage), and control processes, which ensure coordination, monitor equipment, and see that programs are adhered to. Here, management is the sum of the control processes. The management process has a dual character. On the one hand, it is geared to the specific circumstances and conditions of the task at hand and to physical and chemical laws; on the other, it depends on certain general laws that emerge in the management of various technical activities. The study of these laws has led to the development of engineering cybernetics and a general theory of management and to the integration on the basis of cybernetics of the technical means of management. One of the most important trends of the scientific and technological revolution has been to free man from the necessity of performing most, if not all, production operations. The replacement of human labor by the work of mechanisms and machines, that is, the mechanization of production, has also liberated man from certain management functions; that is, it has created the conditions necessary for the automation of production. The idea of automatic control came into its own in technology earlier than in other fields.
The mode of operation of an element in a technical process is defined by a function algorithm—the aggregate of rules and directions arrived at by studying the technical and economic aspects of the process. The theory of automatic control regards function algorithms as given and shows how to use the algorithms to construct algorithms of control. The latter determine the necessary control actions with allowance for the dynamic properties of the system and any physical and technical limitations.
In accordance with Ashby’s principle on the requirement for variety, the states of the controlling system must be no less various than those of the controlled system. For dynamic technical elements described by difference and differential equations, this principle is expressed in the form of quantitative conditions of controllability and observability: (1) the number of control organs must be no less than the number of variables under control; and (2) additional conditions imposed on the original equations must be satisfied. Certain general principles of control underlie control algorithms; these principles determine the nature of the link with the function algorithm and the disturbances acting on the technological process. Three fundamental principles used in technology are those of open-loop control, closed-loop control (feedback), and compensation of disturbances. In the early stages of the automation of production, function algorithms of only one type were used; this was the stabilization type, designed to keep the controlled variable at a fixed level. Subsequently, the number of function algorithms and, correspondingly, the number of types of control systems grew, resulting in programmed control systems, servomechanisms, searching mechanisms, optimizing control systems, optimal control systems, and self-adaptive systems.
The automation of production began with the automation of individual operations and processes through automatic controllers (partial automation). With improvements in the methods and means of control, most and, in some cases, all operations were automated and integrated (full automation). The transition to integrated automation and more complex algorithms has been linked to the introduction of computers and the development of automatic control systems. In these systems, the collection and transmission of information on the elements under control are automated, as are information processing and the consequent control operations; the most important variables and processes are optimized. Originally, the automatic control systems for technological processes merely coordinated the action of the automatic controllers. Here, control was exercised on two levels: the direct action of the automatic controllers constituted one (lower) level, with the instructions to the controllers from the computer constituting the second (higher) level. With the greater reliability of computers, automatic control systems have been designed in which the computer takes on many of the duties previously performed by the controllers.
In automatic control systems for technological processes, computers are linked via a multichannel interface system to the elements to be controlled. Computers greatly increase the possibilities of control, making it possible to monitor hundreds and thousands of variables and to execute control algorithms of greater complexity; they also permit an evaluation of the past results of a given process and a change in the algorithm during execution. Automatic control systems for technological processes are used in such processes where the equipment must be reset. An example is provided by the programmed control of machine tools, where the nature or sequence of the operations can be changed by simply changing the magnetic or perforated tape. Robots capable of carrying out such manual operations as changing a tool or feeding a part are being designed, as are systems under computer control for testing finished products and units made up of the products. There are also plans for combining the programmed control of production and testing with automatic design systems.
Although fully automated control systems, that is, systems not requiring human participation in the control function, are in principle possible, such systems are rare because of cost. In most cases, human intervention is required to set up and correct the system and to make other important decisions; here, the human factor also adds an element of creativity. Interaction between man and computer is facilitated by devices that display information on the progress of the operation under control and by such devices as displays and graphic panels that allow the operator to communicate with the computer.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the trend has been to integrate automatic control systems with automated organizational (administrative) systems. Correspondingly, the theory of automatic control, information theory, and theories of integrated systems and operations research are being treated as divisions of a general theory of control through automated systems.


Voronov, A. A. Osnovy teorii avtomaticheskogo upravleniia, parts 1–3. Moscow, 1965–70.
Glushkov, V. M. Vvedenie v ASU, 2nd ed. Kiev, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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