According to Henri Fayol, to Manage Is to Forecast and Plan, to Organize, to Command, to Co-Ordinate and to Control.

Topics: Management, Henri Fayol, Organization Pages: 6 (2070 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Henri Fayol was born in 1841 into a French middle class family. Graduating from the National School of Mines at the age of 19 as a mining engineer, he started out his career at Commentry Fourchamboult Company where he remained throughout his working life. Progressing into general management during his early thirties he later became Managing Director, instigating the company’s rise from being on the verge of bankruptcy to becoming one of the leading steel producers and mining operators. He wrote many technical papers on mining engineering and the geology of coal fields, later turning his focus to general administration, publishing Administration Industrielle et Générale in 1916 which was translated in 1949. Many theorists have attempted defining management, but Fayol was a true pioneer, the first to identify management as a process of six major activities. Namely to plan: examine the future and lay out the actions to be taken. To organize: lay out the lines of authority and responsibility; build up the dual structure, material and undertaking. To coordinate: layout the timing and sequencing of activities; bind together, unify, and harmonize all activities and efforts. To command: put the plan into action; set the work in operation. To control: monitor and correct; see that everything occurs in conformity with established rules and expressed command. (Fayol 1984) From this, Fayol established 14 principles of management which has been seen to greatly influence how organisations are managed, yet these principles were not uncommon in organisations before his writings and although hugely influential his ideas have been challenged by modern developments in organisations. For instance Fayol refers to unity of command as one of the principles of management, however as stated in Brooks (2003) unity of command, where each person has one superior to whom they report, although still the norm is contravened in many matrix or project based organisations. Thus the rigidity of Fayol’s narrow model fails to explain certain progressions in management theory. Nevertheless other principles of management are seen to be vastly significant and influential such as equity, the notion employees should be treated fairly which was later developed into a theory by J. Stacy Adams (1963, cited in Schermerhorn, 1996: 151). According to equity theory, employees compare their situations to that of their co-workers to determine whether they are being treated fairly. More specifically they compare their ratio of outcomes (pay, status and promotions) to inputs (effort, education and experience). This theory clearly links to the humanist viewpoint of the like of Maslow and Herzberg, being concerned with the individual and satisfying their physiological and psychological needs, hence Fayol’s early concepts can be seen to widely reflect subsequent theorist’s views and thus profoundly influence management concepts to this day. One of the major criticisms of Fayol’s work does not question his views and ideas, but to what they actually illustrate. Henry Mintzberg in particular has been extremely critical of Fayol and his view on management processes. “If you ask a manager what he does, he will most likely tell you that he plans, organizes, coordinates and controls... but don’t be surprised if you can’t relate what you see to these four words”. He believed Fayol’s words failed to depict what managers actually do and only indicate some “vague objectives managers have when they work” (Mintzberg 1975). Mintzberg conducted as well as collated empirical support for his views on what managers did before publishing his findings. Mintzberg alone found evidence to challenge Fayol on the basis managers are effective planners. Observing five chief executives intensively he found that 93% of verbal contacts were arranged on an ad hoc basis and half the activities they engaged in lasted less than nine minutes (Mintzberg 1975). Although this is only one study which can be heavily...
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