Thursday, February 13, 2014

Definition of Administration as defined by various Authors

When we first think about Public Administration what comes to our mind - May be this.....

"Public Administration simply means administration of public in the most effective and cost efficient manner so that best quality services and facilities can be provided to the citizens."

However this is an incomplete definition of Public Administration. For understanding Public Administration in detail we need to first understand what administration means as Public Administration is a specialised form of administration and in order to understand Public Administration we need to first understand what Administration means.

Below bracket will give you an small idea about it.


Administration = to administer = ad + ministrare

ad means to serve

ministrare means to manage


It would now be best to have an idea what renowned scholars had thought about administration.

E.N. Gladden says “Administration is a long and slightly pompous word, but it has a humble meaning, for it means, to care for or look after people, to manage affairs… is determined action taken in pursuit of a conscious purpose.”

F.M. Marx says “Administration is a determined action taken in pursuit of a conscious purpose. It is the systematic ordering of affairs and the calculated use of resources aimed at making those things happen which one wants to happen and foretelling everything to the contrary.”

Felix A. Nigro says “Administration is the organism and use of men and materials to accomplish a purpose.”

Herbert A. Simon says “In its broadest sense, administration can be defined as the activities of groups cooperating to accomplish common goals.”

Luther Gullick says “Administration has to do with getting things done; with the accomplishment of defined objectives.”

George E. Berkley says “Administration is a process involving human beings jointly engaged in working towards common goals.”

Pfiffener says “Administration is the organisation and direction of human and material resources to achieve desired ends.”

L.D. White says “The art of administration is the direction, co-ordination and control of many persons to achieve some purpose or objective.”

Brooks Adams says “Administration is the capacity of coordinating many and often conflicting social energies in a single organism, so adroitly that they shall operate as a unity.”

Ordway Tead says “Administration is a variety of component elements which, together in action, produce the result of a defined task done. Administration, primarily is the direction of people in association to achieve some goal temporarily shared. It is the inclusive process of integrating human efforts so that a desired result is obtained. Administration is the central power house of the motivational impulsion and spirit which makes the institution drive to fulfil its purpose.”

Keith Henderson says “Administration is the arrangement of men and materials in the rational carrying out of purposes.”

D. Waldo says “Administration is a type of co-operative human effort that has a high degree of rationality.”

James McCanny says “Administration is the organization and use of men and materials to accomplish a purpose. It is the specialized vocation of managers who have skills of organizing and directing men and materials just as definitely as an engineer has the skill of building structures or a doctor has the skill of understanding the human ailments.”

John A. Veig says “Administration is determined action taken in pursuit of conscious purpose. it is the systematic ordering of affairs and the calculated use of resources, aimed at making those things happen which we want to happen and simultaneously preventing developments that fail to square with our intentions. It is the marshalling of available labour and materials in order to gain that which is desired at the lowest cost in energy, time and money.”

So after reading the views of above authors regarding administration it can be inferred that the concept of administration is based on two fundamental premises -

1. A purpose to be achieved   2. by the collective effort of all of those involved in it.

All the employees, workers, resources, assets, bureaucracy, infrastructure etc. involved collectively in order to achieve a common goal based on mutual cooperation and effort is termed as ADMINISTRATION.

From the ground level perspective of studying Administration more deeply it would be better if we divide this wide field of Administration in two categories -

a. Public Administration - Administration that is basically performed and acted upon by Governments of various countries.

b. Private Administration - Administration that is basically performed and acted upon by business organizations and entities.


  1. Thanks a lot as some definitions well prepared although some authors repeat ideas of others authors,,,,

  2. most of those definitions of administration sound like they just removed management and put administration into definitions by the Fayols, and Koontz's of management theory.

  3. The Year please

  4. Why administration as been defined as those activities directed towards achieving predetermined objective or goals

  5. Thanks for the answers. But am not seeing references


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