After reading this article you will learn about the relationship between management and administration.

The two terms ‘management’ and ‘administration’ are often used synonymously. In this title we shall focus on management but most of what is said is also applicable to administration.

The distinction between management and administration is also related to the level of organisa­tion.

As Dalton E. Mc Farland put it:


“In business firms, administration refers to higher, policy-determining level. One seldom regards the first-line supervisor as an administrator; he is a manager. In the health care fields and in many service organisations, problems (such as flu vaccine distribu­tion) are administrated”.

Administration may be defined as “the guidance, leadership and control of the efforts of a group of individuals towards some common goals”.

Others often prefer the synthetic term ‘administrative management’ (which is concerned with problem-solving and decision-making aspects of the organ­isation, to distinguish it from ‘operative management’ which, as the name implies, is concerned with the operational aspects of the business. Some experts like Oliver Sheldon draw a distinction of their own.



The former is defined as that function in the industry which is concerned with policy-determination, the co-ordination of finance, production, distribution as also the establishment of organisation and ultimate control of the executives.

Contrarily, the latter is that process concerned with execution of the policies within certain limits set by the administration and employment of the organisation for the purpose of accomplishing objectives laid down by the former.

Essence of Administration:

In fact it was Ordway Tead who has made an interesting analysis of the essence of administration. He analysed the process of administration into ten distinct elements 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 above all, looking ahead.


Contrarily, manage­ment endeavours to attain aims and objectives as laid down by administration and within the organisational limits set forth by it.

It is, therefore, clear that administration is more important at higher levels whereas management is more important at lower levels in the firm’s organisational pyramid.

Thus administration is a top-level function while management is a bottom-level one. The fundamental point of distinction between these two aspects is that whereas the former is the process of laying down broad policies and goals of the organisation, the latter directs and guides the operational or functional aspects of the organisation towards realising the objectives set forth by the former.

A closer look reveals that the scope of management is broader than that of administration. In so far’ as management comprises both the process of planning and policy-making as also their execution, management embraces both administrative management and operative management.


However, the cardinal point is that the distinction drawn above between the two aspects of organisation serves no real purpose, in fact, the process of management is the same in all enterprises and at all levels in the organisation. In truth, management is as much responsible for planning as administration is. It is in fact, a common experience that the same set of personnel are supposed to discharge both the above functions.

Of course, it is true that planning is more important and broader at higher levels of organisation. Yet it is equally valid that every management, irrespective of its hierarchy in the organisational set up, has to do some sort of planning and the process of planning is essentially the same at all levels.