The characteristics of the administration are features that make this discipline unique, they are attributes that contribute to its deployment in any organization and allow it to be complemented with other specialties, to methodically coordinate organizational resources and thus achieve the objectives set.

From the properties of the administration that are exposed in Table 1, you will learn to differentiate it or to find the similarities that it has with other fields of study, you will be able to appreciate that its characteristics may vary according to the philosophy and criteria of different authors. In addition, so that you can remember them more easily and understand the essence of administrative discipline, the meanings of each one are explained: universality, specificity, temporal unity, hierarchical unity, flexibility, interdisciplinarity, and instrumental value, among others.

Table 1. Characteristics of the administration according to Reyes, Münch & García, and Terry
Augustine Reyes Munch and Garcia  George Terry
universality universality The purpose of the administration
specificity specificity Have an impact on human life
temporary unit temporary unit Relationship of the administration with the interests of a social organization
hierarchical unit hierarchical unit Group effort to manage
Flexibility Administration as an activity
interdisciplinarity Knowledge of administrative effectiveness
Instrumental Value Management is intangible
administrative practice

Characteristics of the administration according to Agustín Reyes

According to the perspective of Reyes (2004), the characteristics of the administration are 4, universality, specificity, temporary unit, and hierarchical unit:

  • Universality: Because administration is a science that contributes to the methodical coordination of resources, it can be deployed anywhere where groups of people interact to achieve certain purposes. These groups of people are called social organisms.
  • Specificity: The administration exercise is complemented by other disciplines. However, the characteristics that are being named in this writing, which are specific to the administration, are not shared with other specialties (possibly with some, but not entirely).
    Therefore, these characteristics distinguish administration from other professions, which at a given moment may be perceived as equivalent. The administration has a specific purpose, therefore, different from that of any other discipline.
  • Temporary unit: The administration consists of stages, phases, and elements that, in theory, would be developed individually and successively.
    However, in general, these occur simultaneously, that is, while the administrator is planning, he is also in charge of directing, organizing, and controlling.
    This characteristic of the administration is a clear example of interdependence and dynamism since all the stages, phases, and elements must always interact reciprocally so that the final product, that is, the performance of the organization, is perfected.
  • Hierarchical unit: Due to the reciprocity between stages, phases, and elements, which must be encouraged in administrative work to achieve perfect coordination, it is necessary to avoid contradictions of authority.
    This administrative characteristic indicates that the organizational structure must have levels of authority, tasks, and staggered responsibility, with the upper part being the maximum authority and the lower part, the group of collaborators who must only carry out their work without exercising authority over others. employees (Reyes, 2004).
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The characteristics of the administration that Reyes (2004) exposes, universality, specificity, temporal unity, and hierarchical unity, focus on the capacity of this science for the coordination of resources, disciplines, people, stages, and phases, to ” achieve maximum efficiency.

Characteristics of the administration according to Münch and García

For Münch and García (2009), there are 7 characteristics of administration, universality, specificity, temporal unity, hierarchical unity, flexibility, interdisciplinarity, and instrumental value.

The first 4 characteristics are the same as those exposed by Reyes, even in their meaning, for the above, the remaining 3 will be defined:

  • Flexibility: Each entity or social organization has its peculiarities, that is, different objectives, principles, and interests, so the administration must be flexible to adapt to each organization.
  • Interdisciplinarity: It refers to the relationship it has with other sciences, that is, in its exercise, it needs and/or can be complemented with other disciplines.
    How they complement each other is not isolated, but as a system, they must interact and communicate with each other, in this way synergy is generated.
  • Instrumental value: The administration can be applied in any social organization, so it is capable of helping to achieve any objective set.

Münch and García (2009) like Reyes, name these characteristics, adding flexibility, interdisciplinarity, and instrumental value, since the administration adapts to all objectives, organizations, and disciplines efficiently.

In the following video, the topic of administration and its characteristics are deepened, explaining one by one, what is referred to. It also answered, what is administration? Addressing it at an organizational and personal level. Each of the elements that make it up is explained in detail, such as the objective, efficiency, effectiveness, social group, coordination of resources, and productivity.

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Characteristics according to George Terry

george terry

George Terry believes that it cannot be managed without a philosophy, even if it is not explicit. According to his approaches, the success of good administration lies in the basic concepts that are taken into account to guide administrative actions and decisions. In this order, the characteristics or criteria to take into account according to Terry (2000) are those presented in the following image:

george terry


  • The purpose of the administration: Terry indicates as the first characteristic that it is impossible to manage without an objective. These can be explicit or implicit. Implicit objectives are those that have hidden intent, not immediately visible. In this case, the increase in employee productivity sought through training is an example of an implicit objective. Explicit goals are those that have direct intent. Human resource management, like training, is an explicit objective.
  • Having an impact on human life: The second administrative characteristic according to Terry is that all administrative activity has an impact on human beings and the environment. Consequently, it is necessary to take into account the conjugate influences that arise from such interaction.
  • Relationship of the administration with the interests of a social organization: The administration is in charge of structuring and managing social organizations, but it is necessary to take into account the collective interests of said organizations.
    So the third characteristic of management for Terry is that it cannot be managed efficiently and effectively, guided by individual interests.
  • Group effort to manage: To manage well, it is necessary to delegate and learn to do it. It is impossible to meet the objectives if you intend to do everything on your own. The delegation of functions can be external or internal.
  • Administration as an activity: The act of managing is carried out by group effort, it is an activity, not a person or a group. Good administration depends on the activities that are carried out to achieve the objectives and these must be delegated correctly. In this way, the heads of the area also administer, what is ordered and proposed by whoever is at a higher level in the chain of command.
  • Knowledge for administrative effectiveness: Although delegation is important, it is necessary that the collaborator in charge of fulfilling an administrative function, have skills and practice for what was assigned, otherwise training must be offered.
  • The administration is intangible: One of the characteristics of the administration is that it is intangible, so its management is not reflected in the number of actions or decisions that are taken, but in the result of the group effort.
  • The administrative practice: As indicated previously, the administration is not a person, it is an activity that is carried out through group effort. Therefore, an owner or person in charge is not synonymous with a manager.
    The administrator must put into practice the administration to achieve duly outlined objectives.
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Terry (2000), implicitly takes into account some of the characteristics that Münch & García, and Reyes name, complementing with actions and administrative decisions that impact the human being and the environment, the collective purposes, the good delegation, the competencies of the group, the group efforts and the results obtained from said actions.

In conclusion, administration is a discipline that has the necessary characteristics to guarantee that “things are done” (Simon, 1945), using methods and techniques that efficiently guide the activities and processes of the organization. Thanks to its attributes, it is possible to carry out in a delimited way, even tasks that are not part of the prevailing system, since administrative practice contributes to the coordination of actions, actors, and elements effectively and efficiently.

Bibliographic references

  • Münch, L., & García, J. (2009). Fundamentals of Administration. Obtained from Mexico: Trillas.
  • Kings, A. (2004). Modern Administration. Obtained from LIMUSA Grupo Noriega Editores México 480 p. ISBN: 968-18-4214-6.
  • Simon, H. (1945). Administrative behavior. Retrieved from New York: Free Press.
  • Terry, G. (2000). Principles of administration. Obtained from Continental Publishing Company. 4th minor. 824p-2h. Editorial cardboard with dust jackets. *W046173