Henri Fayol

Henri FayolHenry Fayol was a key figure in Classical Management School and the father of Administrative Management Theory. Henry Fayol's contributions to modern management concept has been significant and many researchers followed his pattern. Henry Fayol contributed most widely to the theory and practice of organizational management. Henry Fayol claimed that, by focusing on managerial practices misunderstandings could be minimized and efficiency in organizations could be increased.


Henri Fayol (born 1841 in Istanbul; died 1925 in Paris) was a French management theorist. Henri Fayol was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management, having proposed that there are five primary functions of management:



Functions of Management

1. Planning,

2. Organizing,

3. Commanding,

4. Coordinating, and

5. Controlling (Fayol, 1949, 1987).


Controlling is described in the sense that a manager must receive feedback on a process in order to make necessary adjustments. Fayol's work has stood the test of time and has been shown to be relevant and appropriate to contemporary management. Many of today's management texts including Daft (2005) have reduced the five functions to four: (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) leading, and (4) controlling. Daft's text is organized around Henry Fayol's four functions.


Henry Fayol believed management theories could be developed, then taught. Henry Fayol's theories were published in a monograph titled General and Industrial Management (1916). This is an extraordinary little book that offers the first theory of general management and statement of management principles.


Henry 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.


Henry Fayol has been described as the father of modern operational management theory (George, p. 146). Although his ideas have become a universal part of the modern management concepts, some writers continue to associate him with Frederick Winslow Taylor. Taylor's scientific management deals with the efficient organisation of production in the context of a competitive enterprise that has to control its production costs. That was only one of the many areas that Fayol addressed. Perhaps the connection with Taylor is more one of time, than of perspective. According to Claude George (1968), a primary difference between Fayol and Taylor was that Taylor viewed management processes from the bottom up, while Fayol viewed it from the top down. George's comment may have originated from Fayol himself. In the classic General and Industrial Management Fayol wrote that "Taylor's approach differs from the one we have outlined in that he examines the firm from the "bottom up." He starts with the most elemental units of activity — the workers' actions — then studies the effects of their actions on productivity, devises new methods for making them more efficient, and applies what he learns at lower levels to the hierarchy…(Fayol, 1987, p. 43)." He suggests that Taylor has staff analysts and advisors working with individuals at lower levels of the organization to identify the ways to improve efficiency. According to Fayol, the approach results in a "negation of the principle of unity of command (p. 44)." Fayol criticized Taylor's functional management in this way. The most marked outward characteristics of functional management lies in the fact that each workman, instead of coming in direct contact with the management at one point only, receives his daily orders and help from eight different bosses(Fayol, 1949, p. 68.) Those eight, Fayol said, were (1) route clerks, (2) instruction card men, (3) cost and time clerks, (4) gang bosses, (5) speed bosses, (6) inspectors, (7) repair bosses, and the (8) shop disciplinarian (p. 68). This, he said, was an unworkable situation, and that Taylor must have somehow reconciled the dichotomy in some way not described in Taylor's works.


Fayol graduated from the mining academy of St. Etienne (Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne) in 1860. The nineteen-year old engineer started at the mining company Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambeau-Decazeville, ultimately acting as its managing director from 1888 to 1918. Based largely on his own management experience, Fayol developed his concept of administration. The 14 principles of management were discussed in detail in his book published in 1917, Administration industrielle et gerale. It was first published in English as General and Industrial Management in 1949 and is widely considered a foundational work in classical management theory. In 1987 Irwin Gray edited and published a revised version of Fayol's classic that was intended to free the reader from the difficulties of sifting through language and thought that are limited to the time and place of composition (Fayol, 1987, p. ix). Gray retained the 14 principles of management shown below.


Henry Fayol's 14 Principles of Management

1. Specialization of labour. Specializing encourages continuous improvement in skills and the development of improvements in methods.

2. Authority. The right to give orders and the power to exact obedience.

3. Discipline. No slacking, bending of rules. The workers should be obedient and respectful of the organization.

4. Unity of command. Each employee has one and only one boss.

5. Unity of direction. A single mind generates a single plan and all play their part in that plan.

6. Subordination of Individual Interests. When at work, only work things should be pursued or thought about.

7. Remuneration. Employees receive fair payment for services, not what the company can get away with.

8. Centralization. Consolidation of management functions. Decisions are made from the top.

9. Chain of Superiors (line of authority). Formal chain of command running from top to bottom of the organization, like military

10. Order. All materials and personnel have a prescribed place, and they must remain there.

11. Equity. Equality of treatment (but not necessarily identical treatment)

12. Personnel Tenure. Limited turnover of personnel. Lifetime employment for good workers.

13. Initiative. Thinking out a plan and do what it takes to make it happen.

14. Esprit de corps. Harmony, cohesion among personnel. It's a great source of strength in the organisation. Fayol stated that for promoting esprit de corps, the principle of unity of command should be observed and the dangers of divide and rule and the abuse of written communication should be avoided.