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

Similarities between Management and Administration:

Authors like Chester Bernard, George R. Terry, Koontz and O’Donnell etc. do not distinguish between ‘management’ and ‘administration’. According to them, two terms are the same. The difference is not in their meaning, but in their application.

Administration and management are not performed by different people. Both administration and management are performed by managers at all levels – top, middle and low. While managers at the top perform more of administration, those at lower level perform more of management. In fact, management can be administrative management (that deals with laying down policies) and operative management (that deals with execution of policies).

The following figure explains administration and management according to this viewpoint:

Administration and Management

Both administration and management involve the basic functions of planning, organising and controlling. The difference lies in their application rather than meaning. The term ‘administration’ is generally used in government organisations and ‘management’ is used in business organisations. Thus, different sets of people do not perform different sets of functions.

However, the relative importance of these functions varies at different levels. While policy formulation is done at higher levels, execution is done at lower levels. It is not really material whether policy formulation or execution is called administration or management. The controversy between the use of terms ‘administration’ and ‘management’ has almost disappeared as management institutes make no distinction between them.

Dissimilarities between Management and Administration:

Management theorists who consider management and administration as different hold two viewpoints. According to one viewpoint, administration is above management and management is part of administration and according to the other, management is above administration and administration is part of management.

i. Administration is above Management:


This view is advocated by the American authors viz, Oliver Sheldon, Spriegal, Theo Haimann, Mc Farland etc. According to them, administration is a higher level function of framing policies, plans, objectives, etc. and management is a lower level function that deals with implementation of the policies.

According to Oliver Sheldon, “Administration is concerned with the determination of corporate policy, the co-ordination of finance, production and distribution, the settlement of the compass of the organisation and the ultimate control of the executive. Management proper is concerned with the execution of policy, within the limits set up by administration and employment of the organisation in the particular objects set before it. Administration determines the organisation; management uses it. Administration defines the goal, management strives towards it.”

According to this viewpoint, thus, administration is a top-level function concerned with framing the organisational plans and policies. Management is a lower-level function concerned with implementation of plans framed by the top-level administrators. Administration deals with policy formulation and management deals with policy execution. Administration is, therefore, broad and conceptual and management is narrow and operational.

ii. Management is above Administration:


This viewpoint is advocated by the British authors, viz., Breech, Kimball and Kimball, Richman etc. This view is opposite to the one advocated by the American authors.

According to Breech, “Management is a social process entailing responsibility for the effective and economical planning and regulation of the operation of an enterprise in fulfillment of a given purpose or task. Administration is that part of management which is concerned with the installation and carrying out of the procedures by which the programme is laid down and communicated and the progress of activities is regulated and checked against plans”.

Thus, management is a top-level function concerned with framing organisational plans and policies. Administration is a lower-level function concerned with implementing the plans and policies.