While administrative management has always been important, it has become more critical in the modern, dynamic, and highly competitive markets. Today, there is a unanimous consensus among business scholars and analysts that the administration department is the backbone of any firm. An effective administrative manager is a valuable asset to a company. For one to understand the role of administrative management, an accurate definition of the term is imperative. While there is no single definition of the concept, Krutyakova & Anyushenkova (2018) regard administrative management as the process of managing information through people. Simply, it is the process of organizing people, information, finances, and other physical resources towards common organizational objectives. Although the roles of administrative managers differ across organizations, administrative management involves the following. Firstly, and arguably the most common, administrative management oversee facilities to ascertain that the workplace is not only well-organized but also for employees and other partners. Secondly, it is the role of administrative management to ensure that stakeholders have easy access to resources, supplies, and information that they need to execute their tasks. Thirdly, administrative management acts as the link between the multiple departments in an organization that must work both individually and together for the success of the whole. The administrative management has to ensure that all individuals and departments in a firm achieve optimum performance. Notably, administrative management does not only connect multiple departments but also act as a link between senior and junior employees. Administrative managers facilitate teamwork regardless of employees’ levels and motivate the workforce as it steers to organizational objectives. As Krutyakova & Anyushenkova (2018) note, workplace productivity and efficiency depend on the effectiveness of office administration. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between administrative management and the success of a firm. Finally, other roles of administrative management include setting achievable goals and deadlines for the administrative staff, directly liaising with clients and suppliers, review policies and make recommendations on how to improve overall efficacy, as well as ensuring that critical equipment is acquired and well maintained. Overall, although the role of administrative management varies across organizations, it is without a doubt, the backbone of any successful firm.
There exists a close correlation between the role of administrative managers and the function of management. For one to understand how the part of the administrative manager relates to the functions of management, it is imperative to understand the latter: functions of management. According to Krutyakova & Anyushenkova (2018), there are five functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling.
Firstly, planning entails setting objectives and the roadmap to be followed to achieving these goals. It is the role of an administrative manager to set long-and short-term goals determining how the company will accomplish these goals. For example, one of the goals could be to increase customer satisfaction, and the roadmap could entail offering training to employees. The second function of management is organizing, which entails delegating tasks to appropriate personnel, and ensuring that they have all the required resources for the job. It is the role of administrative managers to liaise with top managers to ensure that all stakeholders have the raw materials, tools, information, and capital required to workers’ to complete tasks. The idea is to nurture an environment that facilitates optimum productivity in the workplace. Thirdly, management involves staffing, which entails having a quality workforce capable of meeting the set organizational goals. Administrative managers are engaged in this management function as they engage in the recruitment and selection of employees. They plan and implement the process of enhancing employees’ skills such as training and offering better pay. For administrative managers to better perform this function, they work closely with other departments such as Human Resource, finance, and the executive. The fourth management function is directing or leading.
Contrary to popular assumptions, leading is not limited to issuing orders but instead extends to encouraging, guiding, communicating, and motivating at all times (Krutyakova & Anyushenkova (2018). Administrative managers ensure that they inspire others towards a common goal. They issue orders, receive feedback, and revaluate decisions to ensure that the workforce steers towards meeting organizational goals. Finally, the last function of management is controlling, which is the process of continuously checking results. Administrative managers tend to measure results against goals and take any corrective measures. For example, an administrative manager can evaluate the degree to which customer satisfaction rates have increased following a training program by conducting a survey. The administrator may plan for another training program, fire poor performers, or praise staff depending on the results.
1.3. Evaluate The Role Of The Administrative Manager In The Context Of The Administrative Management Function.
Undoubtedly, administrative managers play an important, yet critical role, in the context of administrative function. Simply, as Favoreu et al. (2015) note, the administrative manager is the one who holds the most significant responsibilities in managing and synchronizing a firm’s internal activities to enhance performance and achieve organizational goals. As earlier noted, the roles of administrative managers include recruiting, planning, delegating tasks, motivating, liaising with customers and suppliers, and ensuring coherency among staff and departments. Therefore, the importance of the role of the administrative manager cannot be underestimated. Any weakness in a subsystem can cause a deficiency in another. For example, poor recruitment of employees can lead to undesirable customer service, and low productivity, which in turn has adverse impacts on a company’s revenue. According to Favoreu et al. (2015), there are three ways in which the role of the administrative manager fits in the context of administrative management. These ways are interpersonal, informational, and decisional. Interpersonal management means managing through people while informative management entails management through information. Decisional management means management through action.
Organizations that have administrative managers who engage in administrative management functions tend to use resources more efficiently than their counterparts without administrative managers. Also, there is better coordination between the different departments as well as greater control over the staff’s work.
2.1. A Description Of Main Features Of Administrative Systems Employed In Different Types Of Organizations
For a firm to comply with management policies and operate efficiently, it must establish administrative controls which encompass systems, organization plans, and procedures. While there is no single definition of the term, Kuhlmann & Wollmann (2019) regard administrative systems as a specific set of arrangements or processes for financial management, internal communication, phone call management, visitor management, office correspondence, recording keeping, and other administrative duties. For optimum performance, all stakeholders within a firm should understand and adhere to by all staff members. Naturally, the primary purpose of administrative systems is to facilitate responsiveness, reliability, and predictability. Given that organizations differ in size, scope, and purpose, different types of organizations are bound to have diverse administrative systems.
There is a unanimous consensus among scholars that accurate information enhances the decision making processes, efficiency, and offers a competitive advantage to the organization by having more knowledge than the competitor. However, in the modern, dynamic, and highly competitive markets that are highly dependent on data, only organizations with adequate means of receiving, processing, and disseminating information can succeed. Information flow is the process through which information transfers between people and systems (Kuhlmann & Wollmann, 2019). Given that information is the bloodline of every organization, its flow should be well managed. Besides information being vital for strategy formation, the modern organization has the responsibility of handling information ethically to comply with emerging legal regulations. Overall, information flows in four directions: upward, downward, horizontally, and diagonally. Size, scope, structure, and nature of the organization influence the flow and management of information.
In some organization, the flow of information is from junior to senior employees. An excellent example of a company that has an upward communication flow is Uber, the American international organization that offers vehicles for hire and package delivery services. Uber has a system that allows drivers and customers to report information to regional supervisors. Typically, the information best managed through this approach include information from progress reports, budget estimates, complaints and grievances, compliments and suggestions, and project proposals, among others. Although managers try to motivate junior employees to air out their concerns freely without senior managers having to ask for it, most upward communication flows are triggered by downward communication.
While some organizations prefer information to move from junior to senior employees, some firms embrace downward communication management. As Yansen & Supriyati (2019) notes, in the downward-focused information management style, information flows from the company owners and senior management to lower-level employees. In most cases, the information that flows downward is generated by the executives who rarely expect or want a response. Apple Inc. is one of the organizations that use the downward-focused information management style. In such an organization, only a single individual or a group of limited people can disseminate information. Examples of information that is passed downward include the announcement of a new CEO, an announcement of a merger between the company and former competitor, or the decision to lay off employees following economic crises. Everyday directives by the head of departments to junior employees are also a form of downward communication flow management.
In some instances, information neither flows upwards neither downwards but rather horizontally and diagonally. On the one hand, communication flows horizontally, when the exchange of information is between departments on the same level in an organization. In most cases, horizontal communication occurs when one department is asking for support, additional information on an issue, or when coordinating activities (Yansen & Supriyati, 2019). Communication may also flow horizontally when two or more colleagues who report to the same manager are exchanging ideas. On the other hand, communication flows and is managed diagonally when it is between workers of different levels in the organization.
2.3. Evaluate The Role Of Information And Communication Technology (ICT) In Supporting Administration
The importance of ICT in the administration cannot be underestimated. As Krutyakova & Anyushenkova (2018) notes, ICT allows the administration to be both practical and efficient. According to the scholar, ICT helps supports administration perform its duties by making critical public function quick and straightforward. Additionally, automation and internal computerization work more accurate and open, thus facilitating accountability and transparency. Thirdly, ICT makes policy formulation easy and quick since multiple stakeholders can participate in the decision making processes regardless of the individual’s time or geographical location. Through ICT, the administration can benefit from the ideas of a vast pool of sources ranging from academicians, civil society organizations, communities, media, and individuals.
Marinov & Tsankova (2015) insist on the impacts of ICT on internal administration. More specifically, ICT has not only decentralized administration but also made it more accountable and transparent. In the past, data collection, recording, and filling were done manually. These processes were not only inaccurate but also time-consuming. Today, ICT has enabled file processing and data transfer to be conducted purely online. Also, the centralized storage of data and files has storage easy and safer since electronic data, unlike manual data, cannot be destroyed by conditions in the environment such as humidity.
Further, electronic data takes up less space, and its storage and retrieval are quick. Technology has facilitated both communication and connectivity. Therefore, ICT has significantly reduced wastage of time since members of different departments can communicate regardless of time and place (Marinov & Tsankova, 2015). Reduced time of communication does not only benefit employees but also clients who witness a shortened turnaround. Finally, ICT significantly shapes the administrative environment. ICT encourages administrators and other staff members to acquire new knowledge and skills critical in the innovative modern world.
Despite the many benefits of ICT on administration, the use of technology has its limitations. For starters, it may be expensive and difficult to install and maintain information and communication technologies in the workplace. Since only some organizations can afford, ICT tends to widen the rift between the rich and the poor administrators. Secondly, though ICT supports the administration in multiple ways, it necessitates additional management and training. In the modern world, being an effective administrator requires new skills.
Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication: The Shannon and Weaver Model of communication is arguably one of the most popular. The model holds that a message emanates from the person who has the idea or information (McQuail & Windahl, 2015). The sender is the source of information that gets processed in the brain; the message leaves the mouth as a signal, which later reaches the recipient after interacting with multiple disturbances. Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple Inc., mostly used this linear communication model as he communicated innovative ideas to his team. Under Tom Cook, however, Apple Inc. does not use this linear communication model.
Transactional Model: as the name suggests, the transactional model is based on the simple concept of “give and take.” In the transactional model, the sender and receiver can play the same role simultaneously. Although the transactional model can seem chaotic, they facilitate people’s daily interaction. For example, a presidential debate is characterized by the transactional model since opponents and moderators talk simultaneously.
JetBlue Airways, known simply as JetBlue, is a popular low-cost airline. It is the seventh-largest airline in the US in term of the number of passengers carried annually. Since 1988, JetBlue has focused on enhancing its communication, especially with its customers. The company uses a radio communication system to communicate with clients at the airport. In the radio communication model, communication is one-way where the sender transmits a message via radio frequency, and the receiver absorbs and interprets it. The strengths of this model are that there is only one sender at a time; therefore, the message is clear every time. Secondly, it reaches the receiver straight forward. There is no third party between the sender and the receiver. However, the primary disadvantage is that receiver cannot offer feedback even after receiving and interpreting the message (Adler, Rodman, & Du Pré, 2016). The lack of interaction between the two parties leads to miscommunication. It is for this reason that most travellers voted for JetBlue as one of the companies with poor communication.
A critical analysis reveals that JetBlue’s challenges are caused by one-way communication generated by the radio communication system. The problem is in two folds. One, although the sender transmits information, it is impossible to receive feedback, a fact that makes it impossible to evaluate the degree to which the receiver has understood the message. Two, the receiver feels excluded from the communication since it is impossible to ask questions or contribute new ideas. To resolve this communication problem, JetBlue should replace the radio with an interactive communication model. More specifically, the airline can introduce a system where travellers can seek clarifications for the sender of the message if the need arises. For example, the public address system in KLM airlines allows travellers to press and talk to the operator. Alternatively, there can be customer care officers in strategically placed booths where travellers can ask questions or air their ideas.
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