What Is Administrative Management? (With Theories)

Updated February 6, 2023

Managing an organization or business is a complex and challenging job. For companies to succeed, it's often essential for managers to implement specific strategies that help ensure effective administration and suit the company's operations or strategies. Understanding how to implement strategies to maintain a business can help ensure that the company operates smoothly. In this article, we discuss administrative management, explain its theories, review relevant skills for administrators, highlight implementation strategies, and provide the benefits of adopting them.

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What is administrative management?

Administrative management refers to the process of maintaining and running an organization or business. The primary objective of this management style is to create a formal structure that encourages success for a particular organization or business. In addition, employees in this management style create a hierarchy of authority, assign the different areas of responsibilities, decide their key functions, and divide labour across the company's departments.

Related: What Is Administrative Work? (With Definition and Skills)

Theories of administrative regulation

Effective administrative regulation has developed through the gradual creation and application of various theories. Some of the most popular theories for this management style include:

Fayol's principles of management

A theorist, Henri Fayol, introduced some principles of administrative management based on his experience as a director and engineer in a mining company in the 1800s. These principles are one of the earliest theories of administrative regulation:

  • Division of work: This involves sharing tasks evenly among employees.

  • Authority: This involves creating a chain of command and deciding how it functions in the organization.

  • Discipline: This involves setting policies on how to enforce standards of behaviour.

  • Unity of Command: This involves choosing a single team or individual to be the executive branch.

  • Unity of direction: It emphasizes sharing common goals or visions within an organization.

  • Subordination of individual interests: This emphasizes sacrificing individual needs for the collective good of the company.

  • Order: This involves communicating instructions and expectations.

  • Equity: This emphasizes prioritizing just and fair dealings and treatment.

  • Stability of personnel: This involves sustaining long-term relationships between employer and employee.

  • Initiative: This emphasizes acting with a sense of urgency and taking advantage of every opportunity.

Related: What Is Leadership in an Organization? (With a How-to Guide)

James D. Mooney's management theory

James D. Mooney was a corporate executive and an engineer. He was also one of the early leaders in managerial theory. He identified coordination, hierarchy, and functional differentiation as the three primary principles that make companies distinctive social entities. Based on these principles, he worked with Alan Reiley to develop a systems theory of organization that allocated a process and effect to each principle. Most professionals regard his work as critical in developing administrative regulation theory.

Luther Gulick and the POSDCORB theory

Luther Gulick is an American political scientist who was a professional in public administration. He drew inspiration for this theory from Henri Fayol's principles. Luther Gulick believed organizations can have more success managing projects if they apply seven elements, represented by the POSDCORB acronym. This acronym stands for:

  • planning

  • organizing

  • staffing

  • directing

  • coordinating

  • reporting

  • budgeting

Related: A Guide to Project Management Leadership Styles (With Tips)

Essential skills for administrative regulation

Administrators direct the activities of teams and employees and focus on achieving the objectives of a particular company or business. Effectively performing these tasks requires you to develop and apply certain skills. Some of these skills include:

Technical skills

Technology and technological devices are essential in a modern business environment. It's critical for successful administrators to be proficient and understand how to use relevant technologies to perform their duties. This includes having general computer knowledge and knowledge of specific programs and software unique to their disciplines and industries.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills involve attributes and capabilities that allow you to work effectively with others. For example, an administrator's human skills encompass how you interact with colleagues, team members, and supervisors. It's important to understand your colleagues, accept their perspectives, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and understand their expectations. In addition, interpersonal skills involve communicating effectively and being sensitive to the feelings and needs of those you work with and supervise.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Conceptual skills

Conceptual skills refer to the ability to understand how each aspect of an organization relates to its other functions. These skills help you monitor proper coordination because effectively managing an organization depends on how every aspect of an organization relates to each other. In addition, conceptual skills allow you to understand where the organization fits in the industry and the economic and market forces that affect the industry. With this skill, you can also assess the effects of social and political policies on the success and challenges of the company.

Related: 10 Administrative Skills for the Workplace

Strategies for effective administrative regulation

Here are some strategies to help you implement an effective system for administrative regulation and management:

Budget control and cost management

Budget control and cost management are essential for the smooth operation of various organizations. It's useful for a successful administrative manager to have strategies in place to manage risks, administer budgets, and report any variances. In addition, a sub-strategy of budget control includes implementing various cost improvement strategies, such as waste elimination, automation, and monitoring productivity.


Delegating responsibilities is an essential strategy for most business operations. This strategy helps ensure the business operates smoothly and gives you more time to handle other important tasks. In addition, it's important that you specify the levels of authority when delegating tasks so that the most qualified employees may handle the tasks and finish them on time.

Related: Delegation Strategies for the Workplace (With Tips)

Change control and management

Managing change at the team and functional levels may be difficult. Implementing an administrative strategy to manage the change processes, evaluate them, create budgets, and implement them is often necessary. In addition, creating these strategies helps you enforce these changes and encourages employees in various departments of the organization to accept them.

Related: What Is a Change Management Process and How Does It Work?

Goal setting

Goal setting is a company-wide strategy, so it may require input and contributions from the entire administration. It's often necessary for you to implement a strategy that sets specific targets and outlines an action plan for employees to achieve these goals. You can adapt the SMART methodology when setting goals to ensure they're specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Related: How to Write a SMART Goal (With Importance and Examples)

Leadership development

Effective administrative regulation includes adopting strategies to promote employees into leadership positions. Promoting employees into leadership positions requires developing employees' abilities and preparing them to thrive in such positions. Leadership development is also similar to succession planning, as both strategies help ensure that the company can continue functioning even when it has to replace essential employees.

Performance management

Monitoring employee performance is essential for any organization. Successful administrative strategies include measures for managers and supervisors to provide direction and feedback to team members. These measures help ensure that employees understand their responsibilities and value to the organization. It also helps them focus on working toward a common goal.

Problem management

Every company experiences setbacks and challenges. Usually, implementing problem management strategies can help the company overcome them. These strategies help you identify the problems, investigate their causes, and propose solutions to mitigate their effects and prevent them from occurring in the future.

Related: Sample Interview Questions for an Administrative Manager

Setting standards

The primary focus of most organizations is providing value to their customers and stakeholders. As a result, it's important to set standards to help ensure that the company's products and services are of the highest quality and meet the customers' demands. When setting standards, it's important to consider the company's resources and allocate them effectively to get the best results.

Team building

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for a company to succeed. It's necessary to implement strategies to foster team building and motivate employees. These strategies can improve employee satisfaction and help the company attract and retain top talents.


Administrators are responsible for providing accurate information to employees and stakeholders. It's useful to ensure that all reports are accurate and that employees and stakeholders can access relevant information about the company and its operations. In addition, transparency shows customers and employees that you respect them.

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Benefits of implementing administrative regulation strategies

Some advantages of implementing effective administrative regulation strategies include:

  • Healthy financial situation: Effective management strategies help you manage the company's finances efficiently and keep expenditures under control and within the budget. They also help you prevent wasting resources, maintain the financial books, and sustain a steady cash flow.

  • Maximum productivity: Good management leverages employees' strengths and allocates responsibilities to the most competent individuals in the organization. This can result in effective time management, faster results, greater productivity, and higher motivation among team members.

  • Facilitating achievement of goals: Effective strategies focus on helping the company achieve its goals. Adopting administrative regulation strategies helps ensure that each company's project, action, or policy works toward its overall goals.

  • Data-based decisions: Effective management strategies use relevant data associated with the business processes as their basis for decision-making. This can improve problem-solving and help you choose the most appropriate solution for every situation.

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