What are the 4 administrative functions? The role of these functions​

In general, what are the 4 administrative functions  concept? Why do businesses have to implement the administration process regularly and continuously? Let's find out the 4 important functions of administration with Viindoo!

1. What are the 4 administrative functions?

Administrative functions refer separate activities of management as the method for leaders to make an influence in the areas of business management.

Not until the beginning of the 20th century that scientific researchers on administration categorized management functions in a systematic way. The research has agreed on four functions of administration including planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. Here are the details of these 4 types of functions.

4 Administrative functions in business activities

4 Administrative functions in business activities

2. Planning function

The first among the 4 functions of business administration is planning. This function helps leaders define organizational goals as well as develop business strategies. Leaders will next plan additional projects and sub-plans to serve these overall goals.

Key roles of planning function:

  • Set clear goals: The planning process helps identify clear and specific objectives that an organization or individual wants to achieve.
  • Predict and forecast future trends: Planning includes predicting and forecasting future trends and events. This helps anticipate potential situations and prepares for possible changes.
  • Make informed decisions: The planning process involves making decisions about specific actions and alternatives to achieve the established goals.
  • Develop effective strategies.
  • Allocate tasks efficiently: Planning helps develop an overall strategy to achieve the organization's goals in the medium and long term. Strategies provide direction for actions and guidance for all activities within the organization.
  • Optimize resource usage: The planning process ensures that organizational resources, such as budget, personnel, materials, and equipment, are used efficiently and with the highest performance.
  • Create a supportive environment: Planning establishes a supportive environment for achieving the set goals. It creates favorable conditions for the development and success of the organization.
  • Adapt to changes flexibly: Planning allows the organization to adapt to changes and adjust strategies or actions when necessary. Flexibility in planning enables redirection when the operating environment changes.
  • Measure progress and evaluate outcomes: The planning process involves measuring progress and evaluating the effectiveness of activities. This enables the organization to assess goal attainment and make adjustments as needed.
The planning function helps leaders define organizational goals

The planning function helps leaders define organizational goals

Setting the Planning function involves the following steps:

  1. Define Objectives
  2. Gather Information
  3. Analyze the Situation
  4. Develop Strategies
  5. Resource Allocation: Identify the necessary resources (financial, human, technological, etc.) required to implement the strategies effectively.
  6. Create a Timeline
  7. Coordination and Communication
  8. Flexibility
  9. Monitor and Evaluate
  10. Learn and Improve

The planning function plays a decisive role in the development orientation as well as the operational goals. Any business process of all business types, from production to service delivery, needs people with planning skills for effectiveness. The planning function defines the purpose and destination for business members. Therefore, this benefits managers in reasonably and effectively allocating human and material resources.

See More: 12+ most commonly applied company organization chart templates 2023

3. Organizing function

The next function among the 4 functions of administration is organizing, mostly suitable for administrators. This function requires administrators to define tasks as well as employees and departments in charge and their responsibilities.

  • Create a positive internal environment within the company to accomplish goals
  • Build an organizational structure as well as appropriately empower departments and individuals to corresponding tasks.
  • Deliver necessary information, instructions, or commands for task performance and receive feedback.

While the "planning" function is about the operational goals, the "organizing" function mentions the human element. Therefore, among the 4 functions of administration, “organizing” is an important function that ensures the growth and survival of the business.

Setting up the Organizing function involves the following steps:

  1. Identify goals and strategies
  2. Build the organizational structure
  3. Assign tasks and responsibilities
  4. Establish procedures and rules
  5. Foster unity and collaboration
  6. Evaluate and adjust
  7. Apply technology
  8. Develop human resources

According to the Pareto principle, only about 20% of personnel can produce 80% of the results, while 20% of incidents can come from the remaining 80%. Therefore, if the process of organizing and dividing tasks has problems, all jobs will be ineffective.


The planning function helps leaders define organizational goals

4. Leading function

After planning and organizing the tasks, the "leading" function will play the role of stimulating and motivating personnel. This function also supports the leader in coordinating personnel to implement goals and solve arising problems.

The "leading" function includes guiding and leading people to perform activities. In addition, this function helps subordinates perform work quickly and efficiently, avoiding delays and backlogs of work.

Moreover, the "leading" function supports smooth coordination among departments towards a common goal. When operating the 4 administrative functions, only when the “leading” function goes effective, will the “planning” and “organizing” make sense.


Directing function with faster work coordination

Setting up the Leading function involves the following steps:

  1. Effective Communication
  2. Inspire and Motivate
  3. Lead by Example
  4. Build Trust and Relationships
  5. Empower Employees
  6. Provide Support and Development
  7. Recognize and Reward
  8. Conflict Resolution
  9. Adaptability
  10. Continuous Improvement
  11. Team Building
  12. Visionary Leadership

For example, a business sets the goal of product launch (planning), then arranges jobs for individuals with suitable capabilities (marketing, sales, customer service, etc.). The "leading" function will take care of urging and coordinating personnel to togetherly work effectively. The final goal is to bring the product to customers as quickly as possible and achieve good sales.

5. Controlling function

The last function is the “controlling” function. To ensure good work completion, administrators need to closely monitor the business activities and actual performance results. Then, they can track progress compared to set objectives as well as adjust if there is a deviation.

In addition, the “controlling” function helps smooth operations with fewer errors. Not only do senior managers perform the function but also the subordinates sometimes use to check and re-evaluate their work to prevent errors.

With the controlling, depending on the purpose and requirements of the job, it will be in different forms:

  • Anticipated Control - Take actions before errors happen: This process will anticipate possible errors or mistakes during the work process. For example, when launching a product, the business will have to predict the product adaptation, the customers’ most reacted parts, and problem handling.
  • Simultaneous control - Execute during work: This process helps people grasp obstacles and difficulties in the process of working. From there, businesses can immediately adjust to avoid errors.
  • Feedback control - Conduct after work completion: Feedback control refers to the stage of recognizing and re-evaluating whether the plan followed the set goals. This is a premise to draw lessons for the next activities.  
The controlling function makes smoother operation

The controlling function makes smoother operation

Setting up the Controlling function involves the following steps:

  1. Establish Performance Standards
  2. Measurement and Monitoring
  3. Comparing Actual Performance with Standards
  4. Identifying Deviations
  5. Analyzing Deviations
  6. Taking Corrective Actions
  7. Feedback and Communication
  8. Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment
  9. Documentation and Reporting
  10. Review and Improvement

Through the above article, Viindoo hopes to provide useful information about the 4 administrative functions. Follow Viindoo to update other useful information!

What are the 4 administrative functions? The role of these functions​
Jane Nguyen (CCO) December 3, 2022