Management in organizations is a dynamic discipline. Many had been trying means and ways to improve or invent management methods for the betterment and ease of managers. Old ideas are revisited and new ideas are churned out to come out with more effective management concepts and practices.
Many of these current management concepts and practices, in fact, can be traced back to early management theories. One prominent management pioneer behind the general administrative approach was Henri Fayol. He was the key figure in the turn-of-the-century Classical School of management theory with his own development of a universal set of four management functions thats consist of Planning, Organizing, Leading (Commanding and Coordinating) and Control, which is seen very much applicable in today's business world.
Fayol's 14 principles of management are also linked to his four functions to assist managers to manage effectively. His principles of management are as follows:
1. Division of work
2. Authority and responsibility
4. Unity of command
5. Unity of direction
6. Subordination of individual interest to general interest
7. Remuneration of personnel
9. Scalar chain
12. Stability of tenure of personnel
14. Esprit de corps.
Although there is still a great deal of validity of Foyal's principles in current management practices, there are still some principles which might be too general and thus become inapplicable to certain cases, in other words, it is not tailored to suit every businessmen's management strategy. Four principles (Authority, Division of work, Unity of Direction, and Unity of Command) will be elaborated and discussed in further details to examine how relevant or irrelevant Fayol's management principles are in today's business world.
2. Four Principles to Illustrate the Relevancy Today
"Authority is the right to give orders and to exact obedience."
As defined by Fayol, the "principle of authority and responsibility is apparently connected to the importance of authority initiated by the managers. The organization is driven by the commands of managers, and runs based on the work that is carried out by workers in obedience to that commands."
In the past, authority were emphasized and required to a great extent when it comes to getting work done. The "top down" approach was widely used back in the older days. This was the case as it was thought to be more effective when one has to report to and carry out instructions from just one person. And in most cases, the one person would be someone who has authority. Back then, that someone who has authority would normally be the person at the top of the management.
However, this is not the case in today's context. Authority is not as widely practiced as compared to the past. Instead, communication is encouraged as it promotes two-way information exchange, and it has also been proven to be more effective and efficient. In doing so, employees also feel empowered rather than pressured by authority.
An example to illustrate this point is the case of the AT&T Company. AT&T improves their internal communication, which helped to empower their employees and change the latter's values towards the firm and themselves as a whole. This was helped with the decision of downsizing, which at the same time helped reduced its management cost, making it cheaper and easier to manage. Also, because of its smaller headcount, the management was able to be more responsive towards their important stakeholders - their employees. To make it even clearer, the President of AT&T global business communication system unit never shuts his office door, in other words, he "had the lock removed", and this cultivated a sense of transparency and openness for the employees in AT&T.
Empowerment is important in order to have "happy" employees in the...