1. You visited your family over the weekend where your nieces learned that one of the modules you are studying relate to Office Administration. They ask you to describe what the role of the administrative function within an organisation entails.
4. Further to the questions asked already, your nieces want to know what one needs to have in order to become an administrative manager.
1. An administration function can be defined as a vital part of an organisation that helps them manage people and resources in an efficient manner. The administration department is considered as the backbone of any organisation as it ensures smooth flow of information and resources from one part to another. The three primary administration functions are considered as planning, budgeting and organising. The administration function is responsible for keeping all the departments within a business functioning and operating at marketing capacity. The administration function helps in construction and development of departmental techniques, rules and objectives. It also directs and supervises the budgetary, commercial and financial activities. The administration function plays the role of arranging meetings, discussion with board members, employees and other executives about the operations within a business. The administration function also keeps effective communication channel open so that the modifications or changes made can be informed.
Figure 1: Role of Administration Function
Source: (Cassidy, Kreitner and Huss 2014)
Administration function plays the role of an assister or adviser that guides the other departments of the organisation. Further, the administration function provides logical assistance to the entire organisation where the resources and equipment are efficiently allocated. The function also serves for supervising the work done by the staff of the organisation. The administrator plans, organises, directs, staffs, and liaises. The administration function involves the role of short-term and long-term planning so set clear objectives. Further, after planning, the administration function plays the role of organising to understand where, when, how and whom of the plan. Further, the administration function leads the individuals by directing them to accomplish the set of goals and objectives. The administration function also involves actively engaging with the staffs and measuring progress. Lastly, the administration function plays the role of liaison between staff and management where the demand of both parties are met. Therefore, the administration function is vital in every organisation as it helps in running the day to day activities of a firm (Cassidy, Kreitner and Huss 2014).
2. Gaining the basic knowledge of administration function, the role of administrative manager with a focus on planning, organising, and leading is explained as under:
Planning helps an organisation to achieve its goals as it involves envisioning the results determined to achieve. The administrative manager devises short-term and long-term plans thereby setting a clear set of objectives. As the organisations have limited resources, the administrative manager plans and makes effective decisions to allocate the resources in a way that reaches objectives. The administrative manager manages the risk and uncertainty arising in the organisational environment through effective planning. The administrative manager promotes a spirit of cooperation by team building (Cassidy, Kreitner and Huss 2014).
Organising refers to the activity where things or activities are arranged systematically. The administrator identifies the responsibilities to be performed by stakeholders within the organization in different departments. They also play the role of coordinating the effort and synchronizing different elements. The administrative manager takes into account the delegation of authority and responsibility within different units. The administrative manager tries to combine related activities into departments or units. They avoid wastage of time, duplication of efforts and bring smoothness in organization’s working (Cassidy, Kreitner and Huss 2014).
Leading is accomplished by communicating, inspiring and motivating the employees to attain higher level of productivity. The administrative manager plays the role of managing multiple personalities at the workplace. The administrative manager inspires and motivates the employees to maximize their productivity level. The administrator plays the vital rol e of leading the individuals by providing an effective support system. Their interpersonal skills help in managing the multiple personalities that exist in the organization. Also, the administrator actively participates in the training of employees where they are led towards progress (Cassidy, Kreitner and Huss 2014).
3. Information constantly flows in every organization where the ideas, facts, opinions and data are discussed throughout the company. Information acts as the blood of the company and flows in five main directions:
Downward flow of information involves communication from a higher to lower level that is used by the senior managers for several purposes. They may be used for providing feedback to the employees, instructing on job performance, communicating organizational mission and vision. It is also used in group meetings where the information is specific, unambiguous and accurate.
Upward flow of information involves communication from a lower to higher level. The employees or subordinates can speak about their dissatisfaction issues. The suggestion box or job satisfaction surveys can help in building a more committed workforce. The information such as attitudes, feelings and opinions of employees flows towards the managers so that the managers can take action for improvement.
Figure 2: Flow of Information
Source: (Kaye 2012)
In case of lateral communication, the same hierarchical levels communicate. It is also known as horizontal communication as the managers or peers of same level communicate with one another. It is helpful in resolving conflicts between different departments. Information may also flow in the form of social and emotional assistance to the employees.
Diagonal flow of information involves communication between different workgroups. The information is transmitted among different structural groups also called as cross-functional communication. Such information can be transmitted to design a training module where the training manager communicates with the operations personnel to know about the methods of performing a task. It also reduces a manager's communication workload because he doesn't have to act as an intermediary between his direct reports and other managers.
External flow of communication refers to communication that takes place between managers and external parties such as vendors, suppliers, financial institutions, banks and various others. The communication is done in the form of magazines, newspapers, newsletters and social websites such as Facebook and Twitter where people of the organizations can communicate with the external parties (Kaye 2012).
4. An administrative manager oversees the support operations in an organization. Their responsibilities include planning and coordinating to streamline the processes. Administrative managers need to have certain attributes or characteristics to fulfil their job duties and responsibilities. The administrative manager must possess adaptability so that they demonstrate flexibility in the face of change. The administrators have to deal with multiple personality types and flexibility is one of the most important attributes. The administrative managers must possess technical skills having analytical ability and specialized knowledge. The administrative managers also possess human skill where they communicate with others and understand the people in the organization by their words or behaviour. Human skills are important to understand the relationship between operational processes and people. The administrative manager must possess time management attributes so that they can meet deadlines and conduct activities in an efficient manner (Katz 2014).
The administrators must possess organizational skills in which they have the ability to shift gears quickly, finish a task and go back to an old task without getting busted. One of the most underrated attribute in the administrative managers is having a positive attitude. Without having positive attitude, the administrators cannot respond well in difficult situations and might get trapped in tricky situations. The administration managers must possess space management skills to handle all the paperwork and maintaining control over the physical environment. Having proactive attributes, the managers can foresee problems and prevent them by acting properly. Administrators must possess communication skills where they listen effectively. Also, written skills help them in producing well-processed and thoughtful correspondence free of grammatical errors. High quality oral skills allow them to speak with confidence and present their thoughts in a professional manner thereby projecting positive business image. The administrators should work as a team player by providing back-support when required and achieve common organizational goals. Sound judgment skills shall allow them to make reasonable and rational business decisions. Therefore, the above profile or attributes help the person to become a successful administrative manager (Katz 2014).
5. a) Importance of Meeting
A meeting can be defined as a gathering of people to exchange or present information, make decisions or conduct actions that have been predetermined in the agenda. Meetings have their own importance in a corporate or business environment for the following reasons. Firstly, meetings are a powerful business weapon as it is a convenient and quick means of interaction for sharing ideas and increasing contact. Secondly, meetings keep the organizations on track by constantly updating the progress of the meeting. Thirdly, meetings help the team arrive at a consensus where the decisions need to be made urgently and email may not be a suitable mode of communication. Fourthly, meetings are important to increase accountability as higher levels of personal ownership can be achieved and people can contribute to decisions more often. Lastly, meetings can help in conflict resolutions where the emotions can be shared and true resolution can take place (Goodall, Goodall and Schiefelbein 2013).
b) Creating an Agenda
An agenda is defined as an outline of items to be discussed in a meeting. Assuming an imaginary case for the performance appraisal meeting, the agenda used could be as under:
Performance Appraisal Meeting Agenda
Name of the Organisation: ABC Ltd.
Date and Time of the Meeting: 14th April 2017, 10:30 am- 12:30 pm
Location: Conference Room C
- All Employees of XYZ Department
- A- CEO of ABC Ltd.
- B- General Manager
- C- Facilitator
- Appraising existing performance
- Identification of performance gaps
- Suggestions to improve performance
- Motivating employees
Agenda 1- Welcome all members to the employee performance appraisal meeting
Notes- The employees can be reminded about the objective of performance appraisal and its importance.
Agenda 2- Review of performance against objectives
Notes- The employees can be asked to review their own performance against the objectives and feedback shall be provided later.
Agenda 3- Review performance objectives and agree any new objectives
Notes- The performance objectives shall change if the needs of business change.
Agenda 4- Discuss and agree development plans
Notes- The development plans must strengthen the areas requiring improvement and help meeting future objectives of company.
Agenda 5- Discuss job satisfaction
Notes- The factors affecting employee job satisfaction shall be discussed.
Agenda 6- Review and summarise the meeting
Notes- Highlight the success, weaknesses and generate feedback from the employees (Singh 2013).
c. Creating Minutes of the Meeting
Minutes can be defined as the action steps taken or decisions made for the agenda.
Minutes of Performance Appraisal Meeting
Name of the Organisation: ABC Ltd.
Date and Time of the Meeting: 14th April 2017, 10:30 am- 12:45 pm
Location: Conference Room C
Mr. C opened the meeting and welcomed all the members. The purpose of the meeting was stated where the performance of the members of XYZ department was reviewed.
Firstly, the employees stated that they would recap events since the last meeting and summarize about their performance. It was decided that the employees shall be taught about the business goals. The short-term business goals shall be formulated so that the long-term business goals can be achieved.
Secondly, it was decided that efficient communication shall be made with the employees. Better understanding needs to be developed with the employees so that self-assessment can be made. Any areas of training and mentoring are identified so that the performance can be improved.
Thirdly, the skills required by employees will be assessed where a thorough review shall be made on their abilities and experience. The employee goals shall be specified timely and accurately as it is problematic when they are broad or vague.
Fourthly, an action plan shall be created where development programs like one-on-one coaching and training shall be provided to the employees. After identification of specific learning opportunities, a schedule shall be created to help employees pursue their goals.
Lastly, new skills shall be applied where adequate time and money shall be allocated. Opportunities shall be set where the employees can quickly apply the new skills to the job and get feedback.
The employees agreed and assented that the discussion was clear. The strategies to improve performance were agreed upon after which Mr. B closed the meeting (Mannering 2014).
Cassidy, C., Kreitner, B. Huss, S. 2014. Administrative Management: Setting People Up for Success. 1st ed. USA: Cengage Learning.
Goodall, H., Goodall, S. and Schiefelbein, J., 2013. Business and professional communication in the global workplace. 1st ed. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Katz, R., 2014. Skills of an effective administrator. 1st ed. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Press.
Kaye, M., 2012. Communication management. 1st ed. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Australia.
Mannering, K., 2014. Make meetings work. 1st ed. London: Hodder Education.
Singh, P., 2013. Professional communication. 1st ed. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.