Management was introduces as
an area of study in the twentieth century by Henri Fayol, a French engineer.
His works were translated to English and the word administration was used back
then to describe his works. However, with time it evolved to management and
great relevance of Fayol’s work in otday’s world remains of paramount
importance. He is therefore known as the founding father of school of
This assignment will discuss
the major contributions made by Fayol and its analysis in the light if his own
rationales and evaluations done by other authors.
twentieth century marked an era of significant development in management. As
the world continued to experience different socio-economic models, the
management of human resource, capital and other inputs of production remained a
subject of study.
Fayol’s Theory of Management is a model of how to manage personnel. It includes
14 principles of management.
Employees have different
skill sets and in order to obtain greater productivity, it is important that
division of labor to be done according to specialization of workers. This helps
in increasing the accuracy and speed of work done by the employees.
According to Henri
Fayol, the management possess the authority to give order to subordinates.
Discipline is an
important value that needs to be inculcated in an organization’s culture. In
order for operations to run and business to perform well, discipline is ought
to be maintained in every process.
According to this
principle, an employee should receive orders from one manager and is also
answerable to the same manager. However, in today’s world the structures of
organizations have become complex. One employee may be acting as a liaison
between two or more departments or companies and hence would be answerable to
more than one managers. Similarly he or she would be receiving orders from
multiple managers too.
highlights the importance of all activities of a business to be centered upon
its strategic goals.
According to Henri
Fayol, the interest of the organization should supersede the interests of an
individual. It applies to every individual at all levels of the organization.
Remuneration is one of
the primary motives of an employee hence, Henri Fayol emphasized its
importance. The remuneration for employees must be sufficient to balance the
amount of work they do for the organization. It includes monetary and non-monetary
Centralization refers to
the amount of decision making authority vested in the top management. The
structure and degree of complexity in an organization determines the amount of
centralization required to ensure smooth running of operations. Henri Fayol
advocates the right balance of centralization and decentralization in an
organization. The structure of organizations have been evolving and with
greater market penetration at international level, the structures of
organizations have expanded. In order to reduce the delay caused in decision
making due to centralization, it is better to vest decision making authority
with managers at various levels of organizations.
In order to avoid
complication, Henri Fayol presented the principle of scalar chain. According to
him, the line of command must be very clear in an organization. This is
important not only to avoid complications but also help employees with clear
sense of direction in case they require guidance from their seniors.
For an organization to
function properly, it must have order and every employee must have sufficient
amount of resources at their disposal to function properly.
Equity plays an
important role in making employees feel valued. It is important so that
employees give their best to the organization and follow the strategic goals of
This principle holds key
importance in ensuring that the employees feel safe about the tenure of their
job. If employees feel a constant risk of firing, their productivity is bound
to be affected.
This principle allows
employees to have the freedom of expressing new ideas. In my opinion, at times
managers might not be able to understand a certain problem given their status
and position, therefore employees facing the problems may tend to have better
solutions being the first hand subjects to the problem.
Managers in an
organization are responsible for maintaining a positive spirit of work and
unity amongst the employees. It comes about with clear channels of
communication and positive culture of an organization.
The 14 principles of Henri
Fayol can be summed up in the 5 ways to interact with employees in an
organization: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling.
According to Henri Fayol,
every activity and action in an organization should be planned in order to take
into account every aspect of that process. Planning also helps in incorporating
contingency factors in order to prepare the organization and insulate it from
losses and harm.
Organizing plays a
significant role in ensuring that right amounts of resources are available at
right time in order to achieve optimal efficiency and effectiveness of
Commanding constitutes an
integral part of an organization’s management. Managers vested with authority
have to command their subordinates to bring the actions of all personnel in
line with the organization’s strategic goals.
Coordination of all of the
organisation’s efforts and activities is required to make sure that what is planned
is actually carried out. It involves determining the timing and sequencing of
activities so that they mesh properly, allocating the appropriate proportions
of resources, times and priority, and adapting means to ends (Anon., 2012).
The issue of organizational
control and the design of an optimal control system is essential for the long
term effectiveness of an organization: too little control can lead to confusion
and chaos; conversely, too great a degree of control can result in the erosion
of innovation and entrepreneurship (Flamholtz, 1996).
If analysis of managerial
studies is done, Fayol is rightly named as the founding Father of school of
Administration. He was the first to look at an organization with a “top down”
identified management as a process, broke down this process into subdivisions,
and laid down principles to guide personnel in an organization to perform
efficiently and effectively. The influential classical formula of PODSCORB:
planning, organizing, directing, coordination, reporting and budgeting is a
proof of the immense amount of influence that Fayol has borne on this area of
study. According to Fayol, management functions are universal and can be
performed by any manager in different fields such as business, government,
religious, military and other fields (Lamond 1998, pp. 5). The importance of
his work can be judged by the fact that even today his work is being taught and
organizations follow his principles and functions to pursue success.
Theorists such as
Mintzberg(1973) and Kotter(1982), tend to affirm Fayol’s classical view. In the
current organizational frameworks, planning for long term goals is an important
activity. It involves managerial functions such as forecasting, controlling,
coordinating and commanding.
If we look at the details of
Fayol’s five management activities, we see that the issues and conflicts, roles
and responsibilities, styles and problems which he highlighted 100 years ago
are still relevant today. Managers still focus on introducing strong moral
fabric in organizations, ensuring the subordination of personal interests over
organization’s interests, encouraging employees to present new and innovative
ideas and ensure proper accountability. What is problematic for organizations
even today is the relevance of paperwork and red-tapism despite the progress in
technology and faster means of communication.
In my opinion his work
lacked the emphasis on ‘implementation” part of management. Planning and
organizing are two important activities but there is no use of all the effort
put in by employees in these activities if proper execution is not done. What
is to be monitored and controlled if implementation of the plans is not
emphasized in an organization?
Fayol’s last two management
activities: command and control, have been used to describe the management
style and hierarchical structure adopted by large organizations from 1950s to
1980s. During that era the world was experiencing globalization, the expanse of
operations of companies were getting larger. The organizations were overcoming
the barriers of geographical boundaries. Significant amount of labor force was
being hired by companies to manage their overseas operations. Therefore, what
was called commanding in centralized organizations at that time might be
described as empowering personnel in today’s circumstances given the fact that
dynamics of an organization determine the style of management required to run
Fayol’s work has been
criticized for weak analysis and assessment, for the overlap in his principles,
duties and elements and for an over-reliance on top down bureaucracy. His work
was based upon the observations made in the public sector and this draws
criticism for lack of clarity in his ideas and their implementation.
Fayol developed many
theories in his life and his major works were centered upon managerial, human
and behavioral factors in an organization. He is often compared with Frederick Winslow Taylor whose main
focus was to improve worker efficiency. On the other hand, while Fayol believed
in top down approach, Taylor supported bottom up approach.
Anthony (1988) defines management control as the process by which managers
influence members of the organization to implement corporate strategies. Controlling
is an important part of management. Flamholtz (1996) advocates the importance
of control systems including:
planning, measurement and feedback, evaluation and reward sub-systems.
Control systems play an important role in organizations however times
are more turbulent now. The unpredictability in demands of consumers and
volatility in market increase the potential risk that an organization is
exposed to. Therefore, rigid control systems are bound to get inflexible and
hence give erroneous results that are incapable of showing the direct bearing
of circumstances on organization’s performance.
Kotler and Lee (2005) show
business leaders how to choose social causes, design charity initiatives, gain
employee support, and evaluate their efforts. They identify that in today’s world,
it is not only the employees that require attention from employers but it is
the society that has to be taken care of by the organizations too. Fayol did
not incorporate the societal aspect of management in his theories, however over
time various authors have identified the importance of how organizations must
include the welfare of society at large through its operations.
The world today is starkly
different from what it used to be a century ago. Technology and innovation have
brought about revolutionary changes in the lives of individuals and operations
of organizations. The time never stays still and it was true in the times of
Fayol as well. Moreover, the phenomenon of change was equally important at that
time given the abrupt changes in world politics and its direct impacts on the
world economy. In my opinion, one of the major functions of management is to
adapt according to changing dynamics of the world. It holds true not only in
terms of capital and technology but also for human resource and organizations
With the passage of time,
organizations have incorporated new technology, adopted faster means of
communication and acquired more complex equipment. All this requires constant
training and appraising of employees. Their performance is based upon the
amount of knowledge and training they are imparted to make use of new capital
and run the day to day operations in an organization.
Adaptability also paves way
for flexibility. This helps in taking into account the contingency factors that
may deem very harmful for an organization’s progress. Therefore, in my opinion,
it is the role of management to adapt and help its personnel to adopt newer and
rationales presented by Fayol and major support of his work done by authors, it
is evident that Fayol’s work stood the test of time. It is still relevant for
organizations today. It remains an important part for academia as well as