Management and administration are two terms that seem to be quite similar to each other. However, they are completely different from one another with respect to their functionality as well as usage or applicability. Management basically refers to the actions carried out to implement the plans and objectives that have been determined by the administration. Administration is essentially involved in identifying the plans, objectives and critical policies of an organization.

Definitions and meanings


Management refers to the process of carrying out a series of actions to get work done with and through others in an efficient and effective manner. It is essentially the process through which people and their work is managed, so as to make sure that the mutual objectives of the organization are achieved by making use of organizational resources.

Management is performed by a group of people who are skilled and experienced in carrying out the operations of the organization. It includes different activities, for example, planning, organizing, controlling, motivating, coordinating and taking decisions.

Management is carried out at the business and functional level of the organization. It usually involves people who are employed in the organization and who use their skills and expertise to get work done from their subordinates so as to attain organizational objectives.


Administration refers to determining policies of the entire organization, establishing key objectives, determining the general aim and presenting the major programs and projects to be pursued by the organization.

Administration involves activities pertaining to the higher level of organization, where the fundamental elements of the organization are determined. It signifies the systematic process through which the management of an organization is carried out. It basically focuses on developing plans, processes and policies, establishing goals and objectives and ensuring that rules and regulations are followed. The basic framework of an organization is determined during administration, which will then be used by the management to perform its functions.

Administration is bureaucratic in nature. It comprises of different activities like planning, forecasting, organizing and decision-making at the top most level of an organization. Administration represents the highest layer of the management hierarchy within the organization, which may be made up of owners or business partners who have made investments for commencing business operations.

Difference between management and administration

The difference between management and administration is discussed below:

1. Meaning

Management is a systematic process through which people and resources of an organization are managed. It is a means of coordinating the actions of employees by guiding them to work in such a way that the predefined objectives of the organization are accomplished. On the other hand, administration is carried out by a group of people as a means of administering the entire organization. It pertains to the development of objectives, policies, plans, rules, regulations, etc.

2. Function

Management represents an executive function as it pertains to the act of regulating and implementing decisions within their domain, while administration is a decision-making function, which is responsible for taking decisions pertaining to the entire organization.

3. Focus

Management is concerned with implementation of policies, while administration formulates the policies.

4. Functional domain

Management is responsible for carrying out the major decisions that have been taken by the administration. The administration decides the plans, policies, rules, regulations, and objectives of the organization and the management works within these to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

5. Decision regarding organizational tasks

Management decides who to allocate the work to and how it should be carried out. On the other hand, administration decides what should be done and the time-frame within which it should be done.

6. Carried out by

Management involves a group of employees of the organization, who use their expertise to achieve the objectives of the organization. On the other hand, administration is made up of the owners of the organization, who make investments in the company and receive profits.

7. Organizational level

Management is carried out at the middle-level of the organization (at the business and functional level), while administration is a high-level function.

8. Skills required

Those involved in the management function possess human and technical skills, whereas administration requires conceptual and administrative skills.

9. Applicability

Management is mainly carried out in business organizations that are concerned with profit-making, whereas administration is mainly a part of non-profit making organizations, such as government bodies, education and religious institutions, hospitals, etc.

Management versus administration – tabular comparison

A tabular comparison of management and administration is given below:

Management vs Administration
A systematic process to manage people and resources of an organization A process of administering the entire organization and developing  objectives, policies, rules, regulations, etc.
Executive function Decision making function
Policy implementation Policy formulation
Functional domain
Works within the policies, plans and decisions determined by the administration to achieve organizational objectives Decides the policies, plans and objectives of the organization
Decision regarding organizational tasks
Decides who should be allocated organizational tasks and how to execute them Decides the tasks need to be done and the time available for completing them
Carried out by
Employees of the organization Owners and directors of the organization
Organizational level
Middle lever High level
Skills required
Human and technical skills Administrative and conceptual skills
Applicable in
Profit-making business organizations Non-profit making organizations, such as government bodies, educational organizations, hospitals, etc.

Conclusion – management vs administration

It can be concluded from this discussion that management and administration are both extremely important functions of an organization. Though there are several differences between the two terms, in practice, the two functions are almost similar to one other. When managing the employees of an organization, managers have to carry out administrative as well as functional duties. The managers at the highest level of the organization are believed to be part of administration, while those working at the middle-level are considered to be the management. Hence, it may be claimed that administration is at a higher level than management, and management is driven by it.