Essay Henri Fayol or Henry Mintzberg

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Henri Fayol or Henry Mintzberg;

Management, management today is one of the subjects with the most widely branched areas. Management is an area under discussion and criticised since many years before till today by many contributors and authors. There have been developed many ideas and notions regarding the right way to manage and been successful manager. Some of the most important contributors are Henri Fayol and Henry Mintzberg with two different views but, in the same time very similar. Henri Fayol came first with his revolutionary principles and elements to change and establish a new model of ideas regarding how a manager can manage effectively, he also writes a book which can be used as a guide for new inexperienced managers and anyone who is interested in how to manage. After some years when Fayol published his book an associate professor Henry Mintzberg will reject his ideas by researching what really managers do, today. The ideas and arguments presented will show if Mintzberg was wrong or not.

Henri Fayol is the initial and fundamental designer of the whole idea how to manage efficiently. Fayol spent almost his entire life in a French company as a manager. During that time he creates and forms concepts and elements from his personal way of managing and his own experiences. His five basic elements in order to manage are “to forecast and plan, to organize, to comma, to coordinate, and to control” (Fayol, 1949, p. 141). Fayol believed that with these five elements and the rest fourteen principles he introduced, if a manager can understand completely Fayol’s ideas and succeed to adjust them in his own needs, he and his company can be successful. Since his book was published, Fayol’s work was deeply investigated and then heavily criticized by researchers, academicians and many others.

Henry Mintzberg is a associate professor of management at McGill University in Montreal, and one the first individuals to disagree with Fayol’s five important elements, which managers need to follow in order to run an effective organization. Mintzberg “addresses the basic question: What do managers do?” (Mintzberg, 1975, p.49). Mintzberg after many researches and observations supported that managers today do not have any contact with what Fayol introduced.

The main Mintzberg’s argument after all his work is that managers today say and think that they devise plans for the future, organize all the departments of the organisations, command the personnel, co-ordinate the whole structure in order that everything flows smoothly right and as it should, and lastly they control that all the rules and commands are followed with consistence (Fayol, 1949, p.141). But through Mintzberg’s research, in reality they do not apply what they say.

Mintzberg try to pass an idea that Fayol’s elements have nothing to do with what really managers do. He describes exactly how, and the way managers work today. Mintzebrg forgot to consider that there have been passed many years since Fayol introduce his concepts. Through all these years it is normal that the structures, the policies, the technology, the competition, the resources, etc. in the organisations have been changed. As a consequence managers had to change in order to keep in track. All the managers have changed and adjust Fayol’s elements based on his/her needs or the needs of the organisation. As a fact that managers would not act exactly by the way Fayol proposed.

Mintzberg was researching only the surface of the managerial acts and not where they derived from. This is why he could not see the influence of Fayol’s elements on the work of managers, because they are only the basic and theoretical tools in order to build their own way of managing. “Tsoukas argue that Mintzberg was dealing with the most directly observable practices of managers, while Fayol was dealing with specific management functions as necessary conditions...
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