The Relevance of Henri Fayol’s Principles of Management to the management of organizations today
Henri Fayol (1841-1925) is generally hailed as the founder of the classical management school-not because he was the first to investigate managerial behaviour, but because he was the first to systematize it. Fayol believed that sound management practice falls into certain patterns that can be identified and analyzed. From this basic insight, he drew up a blueprint for a cohesive doctrine of management, one that retains much of its force to this day.
To the extent that Fayol believed in scientific methods, he was like Taylor, his contemporary. However, while Taylor was basically concerned with organizational functions, Fayol was interested in the total organization and focused on management, which he felt had been the most neglected of business operations.
Before Fayol, it was generally believed that “managers are born, not made. “Fayol insisted, however, that management was a skill like any other-one that could be taught once its underlying principles were understood.
Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management and their Relevance to Management Today:
1. Division of Labour: The more people specialize, the more efficiently they can perform their work. This principle is epitomized by the modern production assembly lines.
2. Authority: Managers must give orders so that they can get things done. While their formal authority gives them the right to command, managers will not always compel obedience unless they have personal authority (such as relevant expertise) as well.
3. Discipline: Members in an organization need to respect the rules and agreements that govern the organization. To Fayol, discipline results from good leadership at all levels of the organization, air agreements (such as provisions for rewarding superior performance),and judiciously enforced penalties for infractions. In organisations today one finds a handbook that outlines rules and regulations.
4. Unity of Command: Each employee must receive instructions from only one person. Fayol believed that when an employee reported to more than one manager, conflicts in instructions and confusion of authority would result.
5. Unity of Direction: Those operations within the organization that have the same objective should be directed by only one manager using one plan. e.g. the personnel department in a company should not have two directors, each with a different hiring policy.
6. Subordination of the individual interest to the common good. In any undertaking, the interests of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole. It is common practice today to find organisations that prohibit leave in peak seasons.
7. Remuneration: Compensation for work done should be fair to both employees and employers.
8. Centralization: Decreasing the role of subordinates in decision making is centralization; increasing the role is decentralization. Fayol believed that managers
should retain final responsibility, but should t the same time give their subordinates enough authority to do their jobs properly. The problem is to find the proper degree of centralization in each case.
9. Hierarchy of Authority: The line of authority in an organization (often represented by the neat boxes and lines of the organization chart) runs in order of rank from top management to the lowest level of the enterprise.
10. Order: Materials and people should be in the right place at the right time. People, in particular, should be in the jobs or positions in which they are best-suited. In organisations it is common practice for management to allocate people specific sitting positions in the office.
11. Equity: Managers should be both friendly and fair to their subordinates.
12. Stability of staff: A high employee turnover rate undermines the efficient functioning of an organization.
13. Initiative: Subordinates should be given the freedom to conceive and carry out their plans, even though some mistakes may result.
14. Esprit de Corps: Promoting team spirit will give the organization a sense of unity. To Fayol, even small factors should help to develop the spirit. He suggested, for example, the use of verbal communication instead of formal, written communication whenever possible. The 14 principles are relevant today since they are still being applied in modern organisations.