What Is Administrative Management Theory? - Definition & Functions

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is Motivation In Management? - Definition, Process & Types

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:28 Theorists
  • 1:42 Key Components of an…
  • 4:57 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Administrative management is concerned with the design and management of an organization. In this lesson, you'll learn what administrative management theory is as well as its key components.

Administrative Management Theory Definition

Administrative management theory attempts to find a rational way to design an organization as a whole. The theory generally calls for a formalized administrative structure, a clear division of labor, and delegation of power and authority to administrators relevant to their areas of responsibilities.

Administrative Management Theorists

  • Henri Fayol (1841-1925): Fayol was born in France, where he worked for a coal-mining business. He developed 14 administrative principles for organizational structure and management.
  • James D. Mooney (1884-1957): Mooney studied mechanical engineering and eventually became a key member of General Motors' top management team. In 1931, he wrote Onward Industry! The book is considered by many scholars to be a significant contribution to administrative management theory.
  • Luther H. Gulick (1892-1993): Gulick is often considered the 'Dean of Public Administration.' He applied administrative management theory principles to government.

Key Components of an Organization

Administrative management theory involves many important concepts, but these concepts can usually be placed into the following broad categories:

  • Formalized administrative structure - According to this theory, you should design an organization using a very formalized structure with clear lines of authority from the top down. This is a hierarchical structure.

For example, consider a large corporation. At the top is the board of directors who give directions to the CEO, who in turn gives directions the vice presidents of each corporate division. The vice presidents will then give directions to their middle managers, who in turn give directions to supervisors down to individual employees.

  • Division of labor - A second key structural feature of an organization designed by administrative management theory is a clear division of labor between the organization's departments. Each department is responsible for a particular aspect of the organization's activities towards the achievement of organizational goals.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account