The upcoming discussion will update you about the difference between administration and management.

Difference between Administration and Management

It is not infrequent that an attempt is made to distinguish between administration and management. At the same time one can come across cases where the two terms are used interchangeably. There are scholars like Davis who used the phrase, ‘administrative management’ and distinguish it from ‘operative management’.

The former is defined in relation to problem solving and decision-making aspects of the organisation, while the latter is concerned with operative aspects of the business.

Similarly, Oliver Sheldon draws a distinction between administration and management by defi­ning administration as that function in the industry which is concerned with the determination of policy, the coordination of finance, production, distribution and the establishment of organisation and ultimate control of the executives, whereas management is the process concerned with execu­tion of the policies within the limits set by the administration and employment of the organisation for the purpose of accomplishing objectives as laid down by the administration.


Still a very interesting analysis of the substance of administration is to be found in the pioneering work of Ordway Tead. He has analysed the administrative process into ten elements largely concerned with establishment of objectives of the organisation, laying down of broad policies for structuring and stimulation of the organisation, evaluation of the total outcome and looking ahead.

Management, on the other hand, is to strive for attaining the aims and objectives as laid down by administration and within the organisational limits set forth by it.

So viewed, administration is more important at higher levels whereas management is more important at lower levels, as has been depicted below:

Administration and Management

Thus, the fundamental aspect of distinction between the two terms is that whereas administration is a process of laying down broad policies and objectives of the organisation, management directs and guides the opera­tions of an organisation towards realising the objectives set-forth by the former. It is also said that administration is a top-level function while management is a lower-level function.


There is yet another opinion relating to this distinction. Management is thought of as comprising both the process of planning and policy making- and also their execution. Thus, management includes administrative manage­ment (i.e. administration) and operative management.

The conceptual distinction between administration and management hardly serves any purpose. In fact, management process is the same in all enterpri­ses and at all levels in the organisation. Management is as much responsible for planning as administration is. The above point is clearly borne out by the fact that no two separate sets of personnel are required to discharge the administrative and managerial functions.