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QuestionWhat is the relevance of the administrative approach to an organisation?
AnswerAdministration is a crucial but often over looked element of an organisation. Much academic literature is dedicated to the functions of each department but the administration that is vital to the functioning of all departments receives much less attention. Administration is a broad term, but is typically used to refer to routine activities of information processing and support functions. Some examples are: hierarchies of responsibility, reporting, controlling filing systems (digital and physical), receiving and processing internal and external messages, organising schedules and internal events, and data entry tasks. These tasks are underpinning activities that support the rest of the functions within a business. A good administrative approach is essential to allow a company to work efficiently, but is surprisingly difficult to achieve. In most companies the administrative systems develop organically as the business grows, but this can lead to a complicated structure that may include redundant or repeated systems. As company requirements change over time the systems may be adapted, replaced or abandoned and this is a key reason for complex and inefficient structures appearing. For example, messaging systems within a company may over time move from paper memos, to a simple phone system, to emails then to instant messaging clients. Each may be completely replaced, or may have parts that remain, particularly where specific individuals prefer the older systems. A good administrative approach will avoid these problems by designing clear and holistic systems which are fully integrated throughout the company. Hierarchies and responsibilities should be set out to ensure that there is effective control and that activities are appropriately allocated. There should be clear lines of communication and procedures that govern how staff interact, especially between departments. A strong administrative structure creates efficiency for a company and supports it in being competitive – so it is clear that administration is a highly relevant issue for businesses.
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