Before studying the administrative disciplines in detail, it is useful to set them into the broad context within which they operate. Following on from the introduction, this chapter briefly reviews how the administrations have developed historically and how two overarching characteristics have generally influenced their administrative policies and practices; these are, the multilateral nature of their governance and the bureaucracy that forms the background within which the administrations work. In turn, these overarching features lead to a more detailed consideration of some major and minor “environmental” conditions that have shaped the administration of international organizations at the present time. Some, but not all of these environmental factors, are substantially different from the conditions impacting upon their programme activities or on a national civil service.