Management or Administration – Relevance in today’s Ecosystem

IBS H (6)

It’s a lazy weekend. I finally manage to wake up to my mother’s rebuking on the laziness that I display despite the coming of age and entering this so called “adulthood” phase. Dragging myself to freshen-up and eventually getting hold of my cuppa coffee, I open my newsfeed app. So here I am, an ardent member of the Gen Y; getting my dose of daily news on the go- unlike my predecessors who were stuck to the newspapers.

Browsing through the hullabaloo of reports on SAARC meetings, Syrian Crisis, et al, I held my gaze on an article by a management guru of a leading tech firm. What struck me here is, why call him a ‘Management Guru’? Why not call him an ‘Administrative Expert’?

Is Guru not an Indian word? How ironic to see such management pundits guiding us on different ways to ideate and manage! Indian history is brimming with examples of men running enterprises beyond the notions of their times. The west has learnt what we conveniently unlearnt. Today, what has survived here is a tangled mess of chaos where “babus” in various government and public service departments administer chores to their subordinates. It’s a stark contrast to see when the likes of many national and international corporate manage themselves effectively in the same country.

Now what brings this difference? How is it that the public nee government sector loses its sheen whereas the private sector is growing by leaps and bounds? Despite having the resources from the same roots, what is the secret to this success in private companies?

The answer lies in the approach. In the vision which adapts to the speed of human development, the ability to look at the bigger picture and in realizing that the world has shrunk. We have evolved from the era of bosses to an age of leaders. Just the term “leader” evokes more positivity than that of a “boss.”

However, when people dream of attaining higher positions in life, business or politics, they aspire to embrace the position of bosses, rather than leaders. While a boss is mostly concerned with outcomes, a leader feels responsible for the process of that outcome and the people who see the process through. Here we encounter the fact that the difference of approach by a boss and a leader is through the ideologies of administration and management.

In principle, the concept of administration is defined by the process of organizing a business’s people and resources in order to ensure that objectives are achieved. Administrators are followers who take direction and oversee the flow of work. Meanwhile, management narrows the focus from the beginning by stressing on the business skills that make an effective business leader. This includes the ability to implement change in a company, establish a consensus among key contributors and maintain a creative strategy for the business’s success. It encompasses decision-makers who often run the company. The duties of the management team often involve organizing the operations and overseeing its continuity.

Today, many multinational businesses are functioning in a globally distributed manner. Working on a single project from diverse locations requires definitive management skills and thanks to the internet, it links the entire mankind into one big producer as well as consumer. This can only happen when we look beyond the paradigms of administering controls and withholding power in limited hands, recognizing the importance of changing the attitude of an organization and its members from ownership to the sense of belonging.

We may say that the administration forms a part of the management function. All that is administration is also management, but all that is management is not administration. Administration has an ‘outside- in’ approach, whereas management has an ‘inside-out’ view. An example would be the administration deciding that casual Friday would no longer be allowed. The management would then pass on this information to employees and see to it that everyone follows the new rules.

IBS G (3)

Let us take an example of the film industry where the production has gone beyond the layers of acting, direction, screenplay and composition. If we ask the older generation about the way films were promoted back in the day, the maximum answers would be through movie posters or by the radio/TV commercials. With the advent of times, the scope has widened, the viewers have more options thus it’s imperative for the production house to create an impact by entering the mindsets of all its audience through every medium possible.

We are looking at a shift in the focus from the director to the producers who facilitate the post production which is a very important factor of marketing. All modes of communication are tapped right from print, visual to the growing world of social media for providing the accurate platform in order to connect with the viewers. Thus, we see that the administrative function of movie-making has become a subset of the overall management of producing a movie package.

Looking back at the initial thoughts on Gen Y being more ‘on the go’ as compared to our earlier counterparts, the way we have built our lives also takes some sense of management. The young people of today are able to lay hands on volumes of relevant information, irrespective of experience or position. Talking in terms of work environment, Gen Y recruits are raised on social media, have special skills in pulling together solutions and they know how to mobilize their networks. This ability to gather, collate, make sense of information and respond in real time often trumps experience.

Then comes the aspect of resource availability, where we can be groomed and equipped to lead, not only the baby boomers or Gen X but also the succeeding generations. One of the examples of such a knowledge transfer is a business degree. It helps in developing a broad knowledge of trade operations as well as gaining targeted skills in specific fields, such as customers, markets, finance, operations, strategy, business policy, communications and IT.

With the advent of technology and internet, the world has shrunk in size which makes exploring international contexts in various functions quite feasible. Such academic learning exposes a person to more than just theoretical data. It helps them exhibit the practical implications of the same. One can also gain many valuable transferable skills, which can be put to use in everyday life or to take a completely different career path.

Knowing the importance of every resource and optimum utilization of the same is what makes a true manager. In these dynamic times, the environment within every sphere is stimulating with energy. This untapped energy is where a true leader shines to become a ‘Guru’.

Suddenly, I was awakened from my enlightened reverie by my father’s shouts to help with his work outside the house. It’s time this sage lets the world know – “I have arrived”!

Contributed by Deeba ( Class of 2013, IBS GURGAON )

Linkedin Profile of Deeba :

3 thoughts on “Management or Administration – Relevance in today’s Ecosystem

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *