What is the difference between "management" and "administration"?

Despite using these two words under similar situations, I think there are subtle differences between these two words.

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    An administrator may be a clerk, not a manager, and at the other end of the scale a political 'administration' is not 'management'. In UK that would be the civil service which is not supposed to be aligned with any political party. Sep 16, 2020 at 15:30

3 Answers 3


These 2 words don't mean the same.

  • Management consists of actions and plans whereby administration entails setting objectives and policies.

  • Management aims at managing not only people but also their work. Whereas Administration focuses on how best the resources of an organization can be utilized.

  • Administration typically has a role in all management decisions, whereas not all administrative decisions require the input of management.

  • Administration is focused on setting and creating policies and procedures. Management however is more likely to deal with the broader functions of an organisation and how tasks are executed.

  • Administrative functions typically are more defined, whereas how managers act and operate in an organisation can differ person to person.

  • The management style of an organisation can also change with the removal or installation of a new Manager/Leader. Administrative policies or procedures however are slower to change and may remain in place for many generations of management.

  • The administrative functions of a business can often be guided or influenced by legislation or law. Whereas how a manager chooses to guide or lead their team is often a function of their experience and the company culture.

Here are some articles for a deeper explenation:

First article
Second article


These two words mean different things.

  • A manager's job is to determine needs, allocate resources, and delegate tasks/responsibility. This often includes hiring, evaluating, and firing people.

  • An administrator's job is to perform defined processes as needed/indicated by a system, such as a business or technology.

A manager would delegate tasks/responsibility to administrators, who then complete the tasks and report back to the manager.

The typical situation where "administrator" could be construed to mean something like "boss" is in a school, but a school administrator is not delegating tasks to students, but rather performing defined processes such as disciplinary action, etc. as indicated. The students may think the administration is something like a boss, though.


There are no rules to determine this simplly and effectively. Cultures that use these words vary so greatly and definitions are typically chosen arbitrarily to fit specific duties. There can be no consensus. This is one reason the distinction can seem unclear to English learners.

Recommended advice is to conform to whatever culture in which you find yourself using these words. Whichever word they use, conform to that. If you have no intended audience, use them interchangeably and many English speakers will understand.

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