Under systems theory, the administration function performs important activities to first define systems and procedures to ensure synchronization over and above a wonderful central administration and managers. Secondly, communication is vital for interrelation of the parts. Third is monitoring and controlling. Information, relevant and up-to-date is needed to drive strategic decisions and lastly, systems must be setup to meet statutory duties.
Activities undertaken by the Administration function
1. The administration function ensures that the business establishes systems and procedures that allow its activities to operate as smoothly as possible. The organizational system is defined by, e.g., its legal documents (articles of incorporation, by laws, roles of officers, etc.), mission, goals and strategies, policies and procedures, operating manuals.
The organization is depicted by its organizational charts, job descriptions, marketing materials, etc. The organizational system is also maintained or controlled by policies and procedures, budgets, information management systems, quality management systems, performance review systems, etc.
2. The administration function also has an important role to play in ensuring that systems are in place which promotes effective and efficient communications throughout the business. Towards this end, the administration function can take the lead in establishing a communications strategy and monitoring its implementation.
One instance of this is when multiple messages or mixed messaging needs to be avoided. The function can create a communications clearing house to align the company’s different messages, both internally and externally, nationally or internationally.
Alignment is critical in a communication clearing house setup to ensure that:
- The company’s teams are always consistent
- They keep confidential information safe, while being transparent
- They proactively mitigate potential risks of bad communication, internally and externally, and quickly react at negative messages to minimise the impact on the company
This will allow the administration function to ensure that systems are in place which support the needs of the other functional areas including:
- secretarial and administrative support
- production of management reports and other business communications
- business intelligence, data mining and analysis
- arranging meetings including the distribution of agenda and minutes
- producing staff newsletters and other methods of communications which provide general information for staff.
3. The administration function should also ensure that systems and procedures are controlled and monitored in order to meet the changing needs of the organisation. As such, the function will be responsible for such areas as telecommunications, information technology, security and transport. These support pillars must be resilient and dynamic to effect changes in an organization.
As such this function is also responsible for the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks (defined in ISO 31000 as the effect of uncertainty on objectives) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.
4. The administration function has an important role to play in ensuring that management information systems generate up-to-date and reliable information for managers. It will therefore be involved in drawing-up plans for the introduction, development and replacement of computer hardware like servers, networking components and associated software packages.
Management information systems support strategies for competitive advantage, they support decision making, business processing and operations. Redundancies must be built to ensure disaster recovery is possible and to mitigate or nullify the effects of downtime.
5. The administration function will also ensure that the business has systems in place to meet its statutory duties and responsibilities including Health and Safety (think of OSHA and other requirements depending on the industry), the production of the Annual Report and any information that may be required by the government including the tax authorities. This is normally referred to as business compliance. The function must ensure rules, regulations and practices are known, updated, communicated to the teams and enforced without fail.