Classical Management Function

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Are the Classical Management Functions Useful in Describing Managerial Work?

Introduction
The functions of management uniquely describe managers' jobs. With his work General and Industrial Management (1949, 1916 in French), Henri Fayol was a pioneer on the field of management theory. Many more were to follow, some supporting Fayol’s thoughts and some, i.e. Henry Mintzberg in The Nature of Managerial Work (1973) saying that Fayol’s views are not holding true today.

Academy of Management Review, 1987, Vol. 12, No. 1, 38-51

This paper done by Carrol, S. and Gillen, D. attempts to evaluate the usefulness of classical management functions perspective for describing managerial work and for serving as the basis for management education. It also examines some of the newer conceptualization of the manager's job and relates these to each other and to the earlier classical approach.

Fayol (1949) introduced five classical management functions; planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. These are further subdivided by many management books, although the function, coordinating, is not used as often as the others.

A number of writers, especially Mintzberg (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975), questioned the usefulness of the five functions for classifying managerial work activities. Based on Mintzberg research, he identified three sequential managerial roles; Interpersonal role, Information role, and Decision-making role. They are further subdivided into: * Interpersonal Roles: Figurehead, leader, and liaison.

* Information Roles: Monitor or nerve center, disseminator, and spokesman. * Decision-making Roles: Entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator.

Preliminary empirical pilot studies done by Mahoney, Jerdee, and Carroll (1963, 1965) indicated that Fayol's five functions missed managerial work activities such as "representing the organization to outside groups". Therefore the five classical management functions...
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