Difference Between Administration and Management

The use of two terms Management and Administration has been a controversial issue in the management literature. Some writers do not see any difference between the two terms, while others maintain that administration and management are two different functions. According to those who held management and administration distinct, management is a lower-level function and is concerned primarily with the execution of policies laid down by administration. Dalton E. McFarland states: “in government agencies administration is preferred over management, although in recent years the term management has become widely used in government agencies.” But some authors are of the opinion that management is a wider term including administration.

This controversy of difference between administration and management is discussed as under in three heads:

  1. Administration is concerned with the determination of policies and management with the implementation of policies. Thus, administration is a higher level function.
  2. Management is a generic term and includes administration.
  3. There is no distinction between the terms ‘management’ and ‘administration’ and they are used interchangeably.

Management and administration are used as two separate terms in the contest of the single enterprise keeping in view managerial functions and hierarchy. Subscribing to this view, there are two schools of thought.

  1. American School of Thought: According to this school of thought, administration is a broader concept than management. It sets objectives which management strives to realize, and lays down policies under which management operates. Management, on the other hand, is the force that leads, directs and guides the organization in the accomplishment of predetermined objectives. Thus, according to this school, administration is a thinking function or a top level function involved in planning, setting objectives and policies. Whereas management is a doing function or lower level function engaged in execution of the plans.
  2. British School of Thought: According to this school of thought, management is a wider concept than administration. Management is the rule making and rule enforcing body. It performs top level functions of the organization. Whereas administration handles the current problems which arises in carrying out the policies laid down by the management. This school emphasizes that management is an all-encompassing and comprehensive term and administration is part of it.

Administration is a Higher Level Function

Administration refers to policy-making, whereas management refers to execution of policies laid down by administration. Administration is the phase of business enterprise that concerns itself with the overall determination of institutional objectives and the policies necessary to be followed in achieving those objectives. Administration is a determinate function; on the other hand, management as an executive function which is primarily concerned with carrying out of the broad policies laid down by the administration. Thus, administration involves broad policy-making and management involves the execution of policies laid down by the administration.

Distinction between Administration and Management


1. Meaning

Administration is concerned with the formulation of objectives, plans and policies of the organisation.Management means getting the work done through and with others.
2. NatureAdministration relates to the decision-making. It is a thinking function.Management relates to execution of decisions. It is a doing function.
3. ScopeIt is concerned with determination of major objectives and policies. Administrators are basically concerned with planning and control.It is concerned with the implementation of policies. Managers are concerned mainly with organisation and direction of human resources.
4. Decision-MakingAdministration determines what is to be done and when it is to be done.Management decides who shall implement the administrative decisions.
5. Direction of Human ResourcesIt is concerned with leading and motivation of middle level executives.It is concerned with leading and motivation of operative workforce for the execution of plans.
6. EnvironmentAdministration has direct interaction with external environment of business and making strategic plans to deal effectively with the environmental forces.Management is mainly concerned with internal forces, i.e., objectives, plans and policies of the organisation.
7. StatusAdministration refers to higher levels of management.Management is relevant at lower levels of management.
8. Usage of TermThe term ‘administration’ is often associated with government offices, public sector and non-business organisations.The term ‘management’ is widely used in business organisations in the private sector.

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