This assignment is all about the management thinker Henri Fayol. Fayol was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management. Fayol has been described as the father of modern operational management theory.
Henri Fayol (1841-1925)
Fayol graduated from the mining academy of St. Etienne. Fayol suggested that it is important to have unity of command: a concept that suggests there should be only one supervisor for each person in an organization. Like Socrates, Fayol suggested that management is a universal human activity that applies equally well to the family as it does to the corporation. The primary functions of management are (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) commanding, (4) coordinating, and (5) controlling. Fayol’s career began as a mining engineer. He then moved into research geology and in 1888 joined, Comambault as Director. Comambault was in difficulty but Fayol turned the operation round. On retirement he published his work – a comprehensive theory of administration – described and classified administrative management roles and processes then became recognized and referenced by others in the growing discourse about management. He is frequently seen as a key, early contributor to a classical or administrative management school of thought. His theorising about administration was built on personal observation and experience of what worked well in terms of organization. His aspiration for an “administrative science” sought a consistent set of principles that all organizations must apply in order to run properly. F. W. Taylor published “The Principles of Scientific Management” in the USA in 1911, and Fayol in 1916 examined the nature of management and administration on the basis of his French mining organization experiences. His motivation was to create a theoretical foundation for an educational program for managers who lacked formal training in those days. Basing his work on his experience as a successful managing director of a mining company, he developed generic ‘Principles of Management’ to help organisations achieve optimum performance working toward their goals
Fayol’s five functions are still relevant to discussion today about management roles and action.
- to forecast and plan – prevoyance
examine the future and draw up plans of action
- to organise
build up the structure, material and human of the undertaking
- to command
maintain activity among the personnel
- to co-ordinate
bind together, unify and harmonise activity and effort
- to control
see that everything occurs in conformity with policy and practice
Principles of Henri Fayol
Fayol introduced 14 principles of management. Fayol thought that his principles would be useful to all types of managers. He truly advocated the notion that if a manager wants to be successful, he only needs a certain set of management principles.
specialisation/division of labour
Achieving the maximum efficiency from labour through specialisation across all aspects of organisation (commercial, financial, security, accounting, managerial) rather than just technical activities. Fayol did not provide the level of detail that Taylor’s competing Scientific Management School prescribed. Scientific Management broke individual operational tasks into its basic elements. Fayol claimed that division of labour is limited as an instrument to achieve optimum performance.
Establishment of authority
having the legitimate standing to give orders. Authority arises from two sources: official and personal. Experience, intelligence, integrity and leadership ability are indispensable complements of a manager’s official authority. Managers need to act knowing that authority and responsibility are positively correlated.
Enforcement of discipline
upholding discipline is a core activity when running an organisation, although its form varies across organisations. Management can sanction employees with warnings, penalties, demotions or even dismissals.
Unity of command
an employee should receive orders from one supervisor only. Dual command generates tension, confusion and conflict, and results diluted responsibility and blurred communication.
Unity of direction
a common objective for a group of activities is an essential condition to obtaining unity of action, coordination of strength and the focusing of effort.
Subordination of individual interest to the interests of the organisation
reconciling general interest with that of the group or the individual is one of the greatest problems managers face and applies to the relationship between staff and supervisor as well. Too often, managers pursue personal interest rather than the common good.
Fair remuneration for all
Fayol determined compensation for services by considering both financial and non-financial factors and held that employee satisfaction is dependent on the composition of this mix.
Centralisation of control and authority
Fayol choose the ‘living organism’ as metaphor for an organisation when considering centralisation versus decentralisation. The level of centralisation is a matter of proportion as is the division of labour.
Adoption of a ‘scalar chain’
the chain of supervision that connects the managing director to the lowest ranks. Fayol combined hierarchy that makes employees aware of their place and duties, with an organization’s lines of communication. When swift action is required, Fayol’s grasp of the limitations of the formal organisation made him propose a system of delegated authority that facilitates horizontal communication.
A sense of order and purpose
a place for everything and everything in its place. Facilities must be tidy, materials orderly stored and staff selected according to strict procedures and clear job descriptions. Fayol advocated the creation of detailed organisational charts to support this Principle.
Equity and fairness in dealings between staff and managers
equity is the combination of justice and kindness. Managers must constantly apply the correct balance between equity and discipline.
Stability of jobs and positions
Fayol viewed personnel planning, management development and turnover as one activity. Both staff and management require suitable induction periods to familiarise themselves with new work habits and situations.
Development of individual initiative
Initiative is the power to conceive a plan and ensure its success. Although Fayol regarded management as the first responsible level, he made clear that the Principle extended to all employees through delegated authority.
Esprit de Corps
building and maintaining staff and management morale and unity. Fayol considered the management style of ‘divide and rule’ counter productive.
Importance of Managerial Principles
A principle refers to a statement which reflects the fundamental truth about some phenomenon. It is a basic statement that provides understanding and guidelines to thinking and action. These principles explain relationship between two or more sets of variables under a given situation. It establishes cause and effect relationship and serves as a guide to thought and action. The management principles are derives on the bases of observation and analysis of events which managers have to face in actual practice. For instance, it was observed that efficiency can be increased by dividing work into certain well defined jobs. This led to the formulation of the principle of division of labour. A part from direct observation , another method of deriving principles is conducting experimental studies.
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Without principles one is in darkness and chaos; interest, experience and proportion are still very handicapped, even with the best principles. The principle is the lighthouse fixing the bearings but it can only serve those who already know the way into port. Without theory no teaching is possible. The ideal manager would be one who, possessed of all requisite knowledge for settling managerial, technical, commercial, financial and other questions before him, also enjoyed sufficient physical and mental vigor and capacity for work to be able to meet all the weight of business contacts, command and control incumbent upon management. There is no man alive whose knowledge embraces every question thrown up in the running of as large concern, and certainly none possessed of the strength and disposing of the time required by the manifold obligations of large-scale management. Hence the need to fall back on the staff. The management practices and techniques are based on well defines principles. Proper understanding of these principles makes the managers more realistic in their profession.
The importance of management principles are stated below:
- Helps in setting objectives
Management principles help an organization in setting their objectives. Thus, in turn contribution to goal setting process. When goals and objectives are appropriately set, it would contribute towards efficiency in achievement if results.
- Optimum utilization of resources
Optimum utilization of resources is possible through proper monitoring of the performance of employees. The principles of management clearly spell the best way of doin the work and attaining effectives in action. It points out how money, time, money, materials and human efforts can be used economically to improve productivity. This fact is clearly seen in the principles of division of work, delegation of authority, fair remuneration etc.
- Scientific decisions
By following the principle of decentralization of authority, managers can take decisions scientifically as the situation demands. Taking appropriate decisions at the right time is essential for the smooth running of organization.
- Change in technology
Managers must face the challenges of the competitive world. They keeps a close watch on changing technology being adopted in various fields. By following the principle of division of labor, managers are able to identify where and for what activity the technology are changed.
- Effective administration
By following certain principles like unity of command, unity of direction etc managers can manage their respective areas effectively. This removes confusion in the minds of the employees.
- Social obligation
A business enterprise is an integral part of the society. It derives its inputs from the society and supplies its output to the society. It has to supply quality products at reasonable price to the employees. The principle of fairness , equity and justice help in protecting the interests of all concerned with the existing growth and development of the organization
- Research and development
Just as management principles evolved through scientific observations, current management practices too should be based on rational judgment. There should be continuous process of research in all the functional area of management. Marketing research helps in identifying the demand for a product and promoting it, research in finance helps in evaluating the financial feasibility of projects and so on. Management principles emphasise on such research.
Nature of principles
The nature of principles is as follows:
- Empirical in nature
Management principles evolved out of systematic research undertaken by certain renounced management thinkers. The new findings lead to development of new principles.
- Aimed at influencing human behavior
Human behaviour is unpredictable. It is often situational and at other times driven by inner feelings and thoughts. The complex human behaviour needs guidance and directions. Management principles attempt to such guidance in human action. These principles guide action in a given context and situation changes, application of such principles would require change. This principle remains same but the application is different. Team work as a principle is good for attainment of organizational goals.
Management principles are relative in nature and not absolute. They have to be applied keeping in view the prevailing situation and organizational requirements.
Management principles never remain static. They are applied according to change in situation after considering the condition prevailing there and circumstances which necessitated the application. Span of control may vary for similar organizations when qualities in the superiors and subordinates vary. The principles of management can be applied with variation under different condition in different ways .
- Universal application
Management principles have universal application I all types of organization in all types of organization and in all places. Thus principle of management fin application in the police force, religious organization, business organization, or sport club. They find application with a multinational corporation as well as small sole trading firm. It is true that such principles are applied with flexibility. Thus decentralization has its own relevance everywhere.
Management principles are the life blood of each and every organization with which the organizational objective can be achieved. Henri fayol is one of the important management thinkers whose theories, importance and principles are discussed above.
Dessler G (2001) management, leading people and organization in the 21st century, prentice hall, smith KG & Hitt MA 2005, Oxford University Press
Business studies (SCERT)
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