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Administrator vs. Manager: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on October 17, 2023
An administrator oversees and implements systems or procedures, while a manager directs and oversees the work of individuals or teams.

Key Differences

An administrator typically handles the systems, processes, and structures within an organization, ensuring smooth operations. A manager, in contrast, leads a team or department, focusing on achieving specific objectives and goals.
While an administrator concentrates on the broader aspects of an organization, like system optimization and procedural adherence, a manager emphasizes individual and team performance, guiding and mentoring their members.
Administrators often operate at a larger scale, implementing processes that affect multiple departments or the entire organization. Managers usually focus on a specific department, team, or project, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently.
An administrator often makes decisions related to infrastructure, tools, and policies. A manager's decisions frequently concern team dynamics, task delegation, and performance evaluations.
While administrators may not always have direct daily interactions with all employees, managers maintain close ties with their team members, regularly offering feedback and guidance.

Comparison Chart


One who oversees and implements systems or procedures.
One who directs and oversees the work of others.

Primary Focus

Systems, processes, structures.
Team performance, task completion.

Scale of Operation

Organization-wide or multi-departmental.
Departmental or team-specific.


Infrastructure, tools, policies.
Team dynamics, task delegation, performance.

Interaction Dynamics

May not interact daily with all employees.
Regularly interacts and guides team members.

Administrator and Manager Definitions


Someone appointed to manage the assets and liabilities of a deceased person.
The court-appointed an administrator for the estate.


A person skilled in the efficient and effective management of tasks or people.
The project manager ensured the tasks were completed on schedule.


A person responsible for the operation of a system or network.
The administrator ensured the servers were running smoothly.


A person who handles and trains someone in a specific field.
The band's manager arranged their upcoming tour.


An individual overseeing the implementation of specific processes.
The database administrator set up secure access for all employees.


An individual who controls or directs a part of a company or similar organization.
The store manager addressed customer complaints effectively.


The head of a government, business, or other organization.
The hospital administrator addressed the concerns during the meeting.


A person in charge of a business unit, department, or team.
The manager reviewed the team's progress on the project.


One who administers, especially one who works as a manager in a business, government agency, or school.


Someone responsible for the control or administration of an organization or group.
The finance manager prepared the annual budget report.


(Law) One appointed to administer an estate.


One who directs a business or other enterprise.


One who administers affairs; one who directs, manages, executes, or dispenses, whether in civil, judicial, political, or ecclesiastical affairs; a manager


One who controls resources and expenditures, as of a household.


(legal) A person who manages or settles the estate of an intestate, or of a testator when there is no competent executor; one to whom the right of administration has been committed by competent authority


One who is in charge of the business affairs of an entertainer.


(computing) One who is responsible for software installation, management, information and maintenance of a computer or network


One who is in charge of the training and performance of an athlete or team.


One who administers affairs; one who directs, manages, executes, or dispenses, whether in civil, judicial, political, or ecclesiastical affairs; a manager.


A student who is in charge of the equipment and records of a school or college team.


A man who manages or settles the estate of an intestate, or of a testator when there is no competent executor; one to whom the right of administration has been committed by competent authority.


(management) A person whose job is to manage something, such as a business, a restaurant, or a sports team.


Someone who administers a business


The head coach.


The party appointed by a probate court to distribute the estate of someone who dies without a will or without naming an executor


(music) An administrator, for a singer or group. en


Someone who manages a government agency or department


(software) A window or application whose purpose is to give the user the control over some aspect of the system.


An official in charge of managing the affairs of an institution or organization.
The school administrator set new guidelines for student conduct.


One who manages; a conductor or director; as, the manager of a theater.
A skillful manager of the rabble.


A person who conducts business or household affairs with economy and frugality; a good economist.
A prince of great aspiring thoughts; in the main, a manager of his treasure.


A contriver; an intriguer.


Someone who controls resources and expenditures


(sports) someone in charge of training an athlete or a team


Which position holds more responsibility?

It varies by organization; both roles are crucial, but their focuses differ.

Can a manager be an administrator?

Yes, in some organizations, roles may overlap, and a manager might perform administrative duties.

What does an administrator do?

An administrator oversees systems, processes, and ensures smooth organizational operations.

How does a manager improve team performance?

Through guidance, feedback, training, and ensuring access to necessary resources.

What education do administrators typically have?

Often a bachelor's or master's degree in business, management, or a related field.

What is the role of a manager?

A manager directs, oversees, and ensures the efficiency of a team or department.

Is an office manager an administrator?

An office manager can have administrative duties but focuses on office operations and staff.

Do administrators make company policies?

Often, administrators are involved in policy-making or its implementation.

Are administrators always higher in rank than managers?

Not necessarily; hierarchy varies by organization and the specific roles.

What skills should a good manager possess?

Leadership, communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

Can an IT administrator manage a team?

Yes, IT administrators can manage teams, especially if their role involves overseeing IT staff.

Is a system administrator the same as an IT manager?

Not exactly; a system administrator focuses on IT systems, while an IT manager oversees the IT team.

What challenges do administrators often face?

Implementing change, ensuring compliance, managing resources, and handling operational issues.

How do managers handle conflicts?

Through mediation, open communication, and sometimes involving HR or higher authorities.

Do all organizations need both administrators and managers?

While both roles are beneficial, some small entities might have one person handling both duties.

Are managers always experts in their department's focus?

While beneficial, expertise in the subject isn't always required; managerial skills are crucial.

How do organizations select managers?

Through interviews, assessments, and sometimes internal promotions or referrals.

Is people management the only responsibility for managers?

No, managers also handle tasks, budgets, strategies, and more within their department.

Can an administrator handle finance and budgets?

Yes, especially if their role involves overseeing the financial aspects of an organization.

What's the key difference between the two roles?

An administrator focuses on systems and processes, while a manager emphasizes team performance and objectives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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