The task complexity and size of public service organizations are arguably key determinants of the proportion of resources devoted to administration. Moreover, the combined effect of these two variables is also likely to have important implications for the scale of the administrative function. To explore the separate and combined effects of task complexity and size on administrative intensity in public service organizations, we examine the determinants of the relative proportion of resources allocated to central administration rather than academic departments in UK universities between 2003 and 2008. The results suggest that there is a non-linear U-shaped impact of both task complexity and size on administrative intensity, and that in combination these characteristics lead to a bigger central administrative component in universities. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.