Administrative Management – Theories, Strategies and Tips

What Is Administrative Management?

Administrative management is defined as “the systematic planning, controlling, assessing and reporting of resources.” This role is most commonly found in large businesses or government agencies.

Administrative management is vital for any business, whether public or private. It performs several functions, including data entry, bookkeeping, invoicing, and managing files. In addition, administrative management may also include handling duties and responsibilities for an individual under the directorship or control of another person.

What Does An Administrative Manager Do?

The job of an administrative manager is fairly straightforward. However, you will need a vast amount of experience before taking on this role. The aim of this role is to ensure an efficient operation across several departments within an organization.

You will have to be comfortable communicating across departments and being proactive in developing relationships with clients, employees, and external parties.

An administrative manager serves as a liaison between upper management and lower-level staff. This role is crucial to the smooth running of an organization, as it helps to coordinate projects, activities, resources, and communication between various departments.

By identifying outdated practices and developing continuous improvement processes, the administrative manager effectively contributes to the organization’s development, enhancing its success.

Apart from these few other responsibilities include

managing applications, processes, funding, staff, assets, and risks reviewing business processes, 

  • developing and maintaining policies and procedures, 
  • creating marketing strategies, 
  • overseeing the execution of projects as well as communicating with senior management regarding strategy, 
  • maintain systems for data processing and communication,
  •  provide education to employees 
  • facilitate communications with external partners.
  • preparing reports;
  •  leading activities;
  •  growing departments and offering training;
  •  providing technical and operational support; and 
  • managing budgets and internal controls.

Theories of administrative management

Theories of effective administrative management have long been a topic of deliberation among scholars. The following are some of the most well-known theories

Fayol’s Principles of Administrative Management

Henri Fayol (1841-1925) believed that management achieved organizational goals through effective planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. He came up with the 14 principles of administrative management based on his experience as an engineer and a mining company director in the 1800s.

The principles are-

  1. Division of Work- The division of work into manageable parts allows employees to manage their workload more effectively.
  2. Authority- Authority is a key principle in management theory. It describes how power is delegated within structures.
  3. Discipline- Discipline is a series of guidelines set in place to help regulate the behavior of employees.
  4. Unity of Command- Companies employ a strategy to select an individual or team as the executive branch.
  5. Unity of direction – Unity of direction helps prevent conflicts, misunderstandings, and redundancy. It leads to a company with a strong vision that is easily realized, efficiently executed, and communicated.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interests- Making sacrifices for the good of the group
  7. Order- Being able to communicate expectations and instructions is crucial in any organization.
  8. Equity- An essential part of management, equity is often associated with the concept of fairness.
  9. Stability of Personnel- Personnel stability refers to ensuring a long-term relationship between an employee and employer.
  10. Initiative- Every employee is required to be proactive and take the initiative.

James D. Mooney’s Administrative Management Theory

James D. Mooney was a distinguished engineer and corporate executive, focusing his research on organizational management and development. He believed in three basic principles that most successful organizations follow today.

  • Coordination
  • Functional differentiation
  • Hierarchy

James D. Mooney and Alan Reiley developed their Administrative Management Theory in 1939. This theory was based on the 1938 work, which had been critical in developing organizational management systems.

Luther Gulick and the POSDCORB Theory

The POSDCORB Theory was first introduced by Luther Gulick, a political scientist who believed in the effectiveness of planning and was an advocate of public administration. POSDCORB stands for-

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Directing
  • Coordinating
  • Reporting
  • Budgeting

Luther Gulick developed this theory in the 1940s. According to him, organizations can be more successful at managing projects if they use these 8 elements.

Essential skills for administrative management

An administrator ensures that his organization’s objectives are being met. He must lead the way, using his experience, skills, and resources to achieve goals. 

Below are skills every administrator manager should possess-

1. Technical skills

A successful administrator needs to have a broad knowledge of technology and the ability to apply it appropriately. Today’s business environment is dominated by technology.

Understanding and applying technology helps the administrator do their job better and make their department more productive.

2. Human skills

To be a successful administrator, you need both technical skills and human skills. All good administrators are good communicators and can interact with people from different groups and backgrounds. They prioritize tasks according to their subordinates’ needs and have the ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

A good administrator must have the ability to understand and appreciate the feelings and ideas of fellow workers, a high degree of communicative skill, and the flexibility to bring out the best in those around him.

3. Conceptual skills

You must be able to understand where each part of the business fits in and how it works independently. This will help you oversee proper coordination and avoid any unnecessary overlaps.

Being able to view an organization from a bird’s-eye view is critical to the success of any complex organization. An Administrator who understands all aspects of a business has greater control over how well it functions.

This control comes from understanding how each process in the organization interacts and depends on other parts. The administrator who can intuitively grasp what is happening on a day-to-day basis within an organization may foresee a problem in advance and solve it, or at least be able to deal with it immediately if one arises.

Strategies for effective administrative management

1. Budget control and cost management

The effective administration of any company needs to include a budgeting strategy. Managers need to evaluate specific metrics and devise plans and methods for the improvement of these metrics.

A sub-strategy of budget control would include implementing cost improvement strategies such as automation, waste elimination, and productivity monitoring.

2. Change control and management

The process of change in administrative management can be challenging. A strategy needs to be in place to evaluate, budget for, and implement organizational changes, all of which require the cooperation of all corporate departments. 

It’s always a challenge to manage change, and administrative management is no exception. Change comes in different sizes and affects companies, but efficient management begins with the administrative team.

3. Delegation

When you establish administrative duties within your team, delegate various tasks, and outline authority, decision-making requirements can be made more accessible.

4. Goal setting

Goal-setting is a vital part of any organization’s success. The process is systematic and requires clear communication from the top-down and the bottom-up.

The organization has to define its strategy as far as goal setting goes to ensure that all its employees are on the same page. It’s common to use the SMART methodology when setting goals for administration.

5. Leadership development

Effective administrative management requires a decision about the development of leaders that can be promoted from within. When developing leaders, organizations must focus on promoting from within and developing existing team members’ skills. Skills include communication, professionalism, etc.

Leadership development and succession planning are significant for any organization to continue growing to a mature company. The development of successors is essential for the long-term security of the corporate throne.

6. Performance management

Performance reviews can be used to provide feedback, and most importantly, direction to team members. This helps team members know where they stand and what they need to do to get where they want to be.

7. Problem management

Administrative management lends solutions to the problems that organizations face in their business practices. It plays a vital role in making all business operations are accurately and efficiently tracked.

Administrative management ensures that each company’s employees are appropriately trained and have the skills needed to perform their work duties.

8. Setting standards

Upgrading the standards of an organization is a crucial factor in keeping its image intact. To deal with this, certain rules need to be put in place to function smoothly. The workplace should be a place that encourages professionalism and productivity.

No matter the size of your business, standardization of the administrative process is crucial. These standards can ensure that your business processes are streamlined and run efficiently.

9. Team building

If you want to maintain a productive and successful workplace, you need to promote team collaboration. To do that, use effective administrative strategies to motivate your employees and strengthen their relationships.

A few of these include training seminars and corporate retreats. An emphasis on teamwork and customer service should be incorporated into each employee’s daily schedule.

10. Transparency

All information should be communicated to all core team members and clients on a timely basis. Reports should be accurate and include all necessary details. No actions that produce secrecy should be allowed in your system.

Benefits of implementing strong administrative management strategies

1. Healthy financial situation

Administrative managers are specialists in areas that facilitate efficiency within a company’s administrative functions; they make sure that the company’s finances are managed efficiently so that expenses remain under control and within budget. These professionals ensure that unnecessary wasting of money or resources does not occur and that the company’s financial documents are in perfect order.

2. Maximum productivity

The goal of using good administrative management strategies is to increase overall productivity within the organization. This includes identifying which members of the team will be successful at performing a certain task and capitalizing on the strengths of each member, hence avoiding any mismanagement of time or slowing of productivity.

3. Facilitating achievement of goals

A business has multiple goals. Every project, policy, and action must support the achievement of those goals. Inaccurate or inefficient processes can slow down or stop a company from reaching its goals. As an administrative manager, it is your task to create efficient processes and ensure their successful implementation.

4. Maximum employee and customer satisfaction

The benefits of implementing strong administrative management strategies include efficient management, proper distribution of work, and increased motivation among employees. This will lead to a proper distribution of work and enhance employee performance. Satisfied clients will be more likely to recommend your services to others.

5. Data-based decisions

Your administrative management strategy must be based on data-driven business process design to ensure you’re always on the path to success. And when changes occur, they should be documented to reflect system upgrades and enhancements.

More tips for effective administrative management

1. Plan strategically

When the administrative management team and the strategic objectives of organizational goals become aligned, then processes and functions implemented within the organization will directly affect achievement goals.

Clear strategic objectives for an organization help to ensure the implementation and support of effective administrative management processes. As a result, the processes and functions that are implemented within the organization will have a direct impact on achieving those goals.

2. Focus on all processes

The right administrative management strategies keep the business running smoothly. Several common traps can cause expenses to increase beyond a business’s budget. It’s essential to avoid these issues as they can easily cost you money and waste your time.

3. Evaluate company performance

Good administrative management allows organizations to operate effectively. Effective administrative management will require regular evaluation of an organization’s performance, progress, and key functions.

Biweekly, weekly, and monthly or quarterly meetings can reflect the industry you work in and the competition.

4. Prioritize communication

Communication in the professional environment is essential for the smooth functioning of a business. Effective communication can lead to better decisions that can positively impact the company and its employees and reduce the chances of complaints against the organization.

An inefficient communication system can lead to a lack of motivation among employees, which may reduce employee effectiveness and satisfaction.