This paper will start off with examining the definition of administrative management. Then it will be preceded with evaluating the role and level of administrative management whether it varies according to the size and type of the organisation or not.
Next, the paper will state the value of information in an organisation. Then will be followed up with how technology is use in administrative management to maximise productivity by interacting with each other, and how it affects interpersonal skills of a manager. After that, this paper will consider the relationship between communication with job performances and job satisfaction within administrative management. Subsequently the fourth aspect of administrative management will be touched that is, the importance of people management.
Finally before concluding, this paper will evaluate which one of those four are considered as the most important key aspect of administrative management.
DEFINITION OF ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT
'Administrative management focuses on the manager and basic managerial functions' (Hellriegel, Jackson & Slocum, 2005, p. 46). However, according to Odgers (2005, p. 7) 'Administrative management can be defined as the management of information, the systems that house information and the technology and people that maximise productivity'. It can be argued that administrative management not only focuses on the manager, as the whole people in the administration are needed to manage the information together, in order to add value to the organisations' management.
THE ROLE AND LEVEL OF ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT VARIES ACCORDING TO SIZE AND TYPE OF ORGANISATION
Quible (p. 10) define role as 'set of behaviours and job tasks they are expected to perform'. The role of management compromises of three roles namely; interpersonal, informational and decisional. Whereas for the levels of management, consist of the top level, middle level and supervisory level.
Within each levels of the management, it includes different kind of manager that portrays different role in control. Therefore, the size of the organisation also matter in this situation, because the larger the organisation, it needs different administrative managers to specialize in specific tasks. As stated in Diversity working (2006), 'in small organisations, a single administrative services manager may oversee all support services. In the larger ones, however, first-line administrative services managers often report to mid-level managers who, in turn report to owners or top-level managers'.
Apart from the size of small or large, the organisational structure is also taken into account too. Nowadays, most of the organisational structure is relatively flat. Therefore the size of the organisation from being a narrow-shaped has change to a wider-shaped organisation, which means that there are fewer management levels and fewer differences in responsibility across levels. As stated in Odgers (2005, p. 28) 'workers at all levels in an organisation are becoming more responsible for decision-making for improving productivity'. The problem-solving group in the administrative management will change their communication pattern and individual managers will adjust their roles, as the management team faces different tasks.
Not only that, the role of administrative manager change from managing up and down to managing across horizontal organisation. The people in the administrative management that known as the cross functional team would work together by sharing ideas and information to achieve the objectives.
As for the types of organisation, different kind of jobs and job titles are required in each level of organisation. The types might be primary, secondary or tertiary. In any industry, administrative management do still exists. According to Simmering (2010), 'there are differences across the management levels as to what types of management tasks each does and the roles that they take in their jobs'. As the managerial jobs vary, the roles of the managers required by certain organisation also vary along with at which level it might be situated. Taking for an example from Diversity working (2006), 'administrative services managers who work as contract administrators oversee the preparation, analysis, negotiation, and review of contracts related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services. In addition, some administrative services managers acquire, distribute, and store supplies, while others dispose of surplus property or oversee the disposal of unclaimed property'.
Therefore, it can be said that the role and level of administrative management do varies according to the size and types of the organisation.
INFORMATION AS KEY ASPECT
Information can be defined as 'data that has been converted into a meaningful and useful context for the receiver' (Samson & Daft 2009, p. 747). Information is organisation's most important asset. Without relevant information, the management will not run smoothly especially in the world today as changes occurs radically. Therefore, it is crucial for any kind of organisation to keep up with the latest information and roam it around the administrative management effectively and efficiently. As stated in Ferreira, Erasmus & Groenewald (2009, p. 5) 'the administrative function is able to make a significant contribution to the success of the organisation through the provision of specialised support in the management of information'. The management of information is important for any organisation to run effectively in a competitive global market.
In a traditional pyramid organisation, information flows down the hierarchy from the top to bottom. Nowadays the traditional pyramid of the organisation are inverted where the commanding role of administrative management become the supporting role. This is because the supervisory level employees in the administrative management are working closely with the external people (resources). According to Quible (2005, p.2) 'in the past, a lack of information often stymied employees as they attempted to carry out their job tasks. Today, the information they may find useful likely exists; a more common stumbling block involves how to find the desired information'.
TECHNOLOGY AS KEY ASPECT
Administrative management is making use of technology to maximise productivity. That is by using the technology to have the ability to interact with each other. As stated in Quible (2005, p. 2) 'because the technology facilitates and supports continual change, many of the applications and processes affecting the administrative office management function are quite different from what they were few years ago'.
By using technology, an administrative management are able to get vast amount of reliable information faster and easier. The administration is making use of emails and instant messaging for fast feedback, video conferencing for meetings and many more to communicate and interact with one another anywhere and anytime. Especially in the world today where everything changes faster than it used to be. Therefore, heavily reliance on technology is common for any type of organisation where the administrative management is also taking advantage of using it. As stated by, Dan Pelino of Health Care/Life Sciences, IBM, ABC News: The Future of the Workplace: No office (2007), 'we don't care where how you get your work done, we care that you get your work done'. Hence, by using technology, it is like turning the impossible to possible. As for a Multinational Company (MNC) where headquarter situated in the mother country and the other branch disperse around the world, technology is helping much for headquarter to keep in contact with the other branches around the globe. Technologies also help the administrative management employees to find information about the country and the working condition they were transferred to.
However the pitfall of using technology to communicate and finding information is that, it affects the interpersonal skills of a manager who works in the administrative management. Human skills are needed in every section and department of an organisation. In Spitzber & Cupach (cited in Dwyer 2005, p. 112) refer to axiomatic syllogism: 'interpersonal skills are vital to the development of human relationships; human relationships are vital to personal well-being; therefore interpersonal skills are vital to well-being'. By using technology, firstly, it reduces the confidence level of being comfortable to interact with other people in a new situation. Secondly, it is hard to read the interaction of the other party as it lowers the chance to read important message through nonverbal signals. The human element is detracts from personal interaction by emailing or messaging each other rather than meeting one another to have conversation or sharing information.
COMMUNICATION AS KEY ASPECT
'Communication is any behaviour, verbal or nonverbal, that is perceived by another' (Dwyer 2005, p. 4). In addition, according to Deresky & Christopher (2008, p. 127) 'Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another'. Administrative management practices three kinds of communication flow that is; downward direction, upward direction, and, horizontal direction.
Communication skill is crucially required for administrative services managers to have. As stated in Quible (2005, p. 58) 'no matter how well developed his or her decision-making skills are or how well he or she manages a unit, an individual with weak communication skills will be limited in his or her managerial effectiveness'. This is because, usually for those administrative office managers that communicate well to their subordinates is considered as successful. The administrative office managers communicate the job-related function, inform organisational policies and procedures, and, provide feedback regarding performance (Quible 2005).
On a downward communication basis, as the administrative officer communicate information to the subordinates, study shows that it results in productive job performances and also derive job satisfaction from their work. This is due to, the employees are told about their job descriptions and job specification on hand so they know what is expected from them. 'Managers are often responsible for communicating information to their subordinates about key aspects of job analysis activities' (Quible 2005, p. 271). Job description is a written statement of what a job holder does, how it is done and why it is done. Typically portrays job content, environment and conditions of employment. Job specification states the minimum acceptable qualifications that an incumbent must possess in order to perform a given job successfully. It identifies the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to do the job effectively.
Moreover during performance appraisal which is defined as 'a systematic, face-to-face discussion of employee's work performance, training and development needs, future job goals and job aspirations' (Cole 1998, lecture notes) is an important part of administrative management process. By this, the performance standards (the information) that are expected from the employees are conveyed directly to them. Where, this may result in strengthening the relationship (human element) and improving the communication skills between the supervisor and the subordinates.
All these also applies to nowadays in a fast changing world where to communicate for implementing the changes occurred/ing is the most effective way, because it may overcome the resistance to change. As the employees are updated with the current information about the environment of the organisation and also what is required from them.
Administrative management work requires a very good understanding of lines and extent of authority within the organisation and at higher levels, and the kinds of practical problems employees encounter in their work (handsout). As for the employees nowadays, they do believe that they know better than the administrative manager because they are the one who is dealing with work related problems. Hence, they can give suggestion on how to improve the existing practices to the administrative officer. So, this may also improve employees' job performances and job satisfaction within the administrative management.
PEOPLE AS KEY ASPECT
People management is where it is the tasks of a manager to manage as in controlling and monitoring the people. Therefore, the manager has to lead, motivate, inspire and encourage them in the administrative management. People are important in an organisation because they are the heart of the organisation. Without people to do all the jobs, then there is no organisation and the organisation does not function.
The people should be informed of clear roles and accountability for managing the administration. With that, they are able to look after the knowledge of the team, the department, the function or even the organisation. This is where a manager plays its role to lead. Leadership can be defined as 'both a strategic and people-related activity that required creating a vision for the business; setting the direction; motivating people; ensuring the professional development of workers; and leading by example' (Graetz, Rimmer, Lawrence & Smith 2006, p. 231). Any new knowledge that is gain by the people in the organisation should be shared and re-use. To achieve this, administrative manager should motivate employees to be more engaged and productive. To boost the trust issues within the administration, the people are given empowerment by giving them authority and motivation to discharge their responsibilities as they are the resources to turn information into something useful. A two-way of communication is practise for people management by promoting open and upward feedback.
People in the administrative management who process the information must be connected with the others around their surroundings, not only within the same department but also with the whole organisation and outside. Moreover, people should be innovative and flexible since they are the ones who will face the changes that are happening. Therefore, to make sure they are able to cope with it and work productively, they are given training to handle the issues.
SHOULD INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION, TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE MANAGEMENT BE RATED AS THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT?
To determine which of these four aspects are the most important in administrative management is hard. This is likely because, as been stated above individually, all four have own part to play. And all four are dependent on each other for the administrative management to work efficiently and effectively.
If communication is taken away from the four, only the other three are considered as the key aspects, then the administrative management would not run smoothly. In order to gain information nowadays, the administration needs to communicate with the people and its surroundings. This is due to people are considered as the main resources who will make use out of the information available. Moreover, according to Bacharach & Aiken (1977), information exchange and coordination are dependent upon communication. Apart from having people around, technology also have its functions to operate. That is by making the information available for the people to process it out and turn it into something more useful and value added. Therefore, communication is also considered as the key aspect.
Moreover, if technology is not considered as important, then it is hard for any kind of organisation nowadays to run effectively. This is because as stated previously most of the operations in administrative office management are quite different than it used to be few years ago. This is due to the radical change happening around the world, where people also plays it role to be more flexible than ever. As a result, people need to be open to change. To store and get fastest information, technology is needed to enhance it. Technology is the mean of communication for integrating and passing information through the whole organisation to the managers. Ferreira, Erasmus & Groenewald (2009, pp. 5-6) found that technological development 'not only creates large amounts of new information but it also makes existing information more readily available, accessible and convenient to use'.
As for information, even in the definition, it is stated clearly that administrative management is the management of information. Hence, without information of what is happening than there is no use for the administrative management to exist because there is nothing to manage. Moreover as stated in Ferreira, Erasmus & Groenewald (2009, p. 12), 'the information needs at the different management levels within the organisation are also different'. With the availability of new information, it is possible for the people in the administrative management to strive for continuous improvement.
Lastly about people, where has been stated previously that people is the heart of the organization. So it is likely to be considered as the core for administrative management. People are the one who works in the administration. They are the one who distribute and manage the information by communicating with each other. It may be in the form of seeing face to face or virtually. Therefore, here people are making use of technology to reduce the burden especially now when changes happen rapidly and they are the one who operate and build the complex system (be innovative). According to this Briscoe (2008), 'computers will never take the place of a committed well-trained individual who has the empathy for staff of all abilities who make up the lifeblood of an organisation'.
In conclusion, the role and level of administrative management do vary according to the size and types of the organisation. In any administrative management whether it is large or small, both size have the same managerial role in it. That is, in a small organisation, one manager is able to oversee all support services in every level. On the other hand, in a large organisation, different manager hold different role in each level of management. And nowadays, the organisation structure is flatten, hence, the manager is managing horizontal organisation.
However, irrespective of the size or type of organisation, the information, communication, technology and people are considered as the key aspects of administrative management. To interject which of these four are the most important key aspects is hard to identify individually because it is interrelated with each other.
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