Fayol’s Management Theory Is Still Relevant Today.

Topics: Management, Leadership, Henri Fayol Pages: 6 (1694 words) Published: January 2, 2013

Henri Fayol’s theory was almost a century old and was originally written in French. Further review on several journal articles has led to an overview background of Fayol’s working life which provided the foundation that conceptualized his theory. According to Wren (2001), Fayol was appointed as the Director in a mining company, Decazeville, where he succeeded to turnaround the company to become profitable. Fayol was the first person to classify the functions of a manager’s job. Fayol (1949; as cited in Wren, 2001) identified five key functions in managerial works.as planning, organising, command, coordination and control. Planning consists of any managerial work that involves setting goals and coordinating actions to attain the goals (Bartol, Tein, Matthews, Sharma & Scott-Ladd, 2011). Bergman, Stagg and Coulter (2009) defines organising as activities where managers manages and allocates resources to ensure that goals can be achieved. Command can be interpreted as leading function which involves the process of manager influencing others to work towards the goals (Bergman et al., 2011). All managers are also expected to control where regulation of actual work to conform with established goals (Newman, 1975 as cited in Bartol et al, 2011).

Many modern scholars like Hale, Kotter, Mintzberg have put forth their theories and debunked Fayol as out of the current context (Fell, 2000; Pryor & Taneja, 2010). This essay sets out to determine whether Fayol’s management theory is still as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Wren, Dedelan and Breeze (2002) ascertained that the interpretation of Fayol’s elements and principles of management to be flexible and relevant. This essay begins with the classification of today manager’s job based on Fayol’s functions which are planning, organizing, leading and controlling. The importance of each function will also be highlighted and application examples from real-life companies will be used to support the discussion. Within the discussion, some contemporary management such as Kotter and Mintzberg will also be evaluated to demonstrate their relationship with Fayol’s theory.

Today’s companies published their vision and mission on their official website so that all stakeholders are aware of the overall goals and direction or position the company seek to establish for itself. The vision and mission are categorised as strategic goals which were set by top management (Robbins et al., 2009). Other managers at various levels will then break down the strategic goals into operational objectives or targets and integrate these into individual employees’ key performance index. In the case of Autodesk Asia Pte Ltd (Autodesk), the vision for its people is to unleash talent and potential to drive business success in creating a better world (Autodesk Inc., 2012). Lamond (2005) indicated that every company has a revenue stream to achieve as they are answerable to the stakeholders especially those listed on the stock exchange and to be profitable year on year. To achieve this, managers at all levels will need to able plan and set goals for individuals or team. This will provide a focused direction on how to achieve the possible best outcome of the goals set. Without a plan, employees have no common direction and will be confused with their expected performance. In Autodesk, a new financial year starts with a 3-days planning session to identify both internal and external task environments, total addressable markets and specified tactics for execution.

Parker and Ritson (2005) mentioned about Frederick Taylor’s fours principles in scientific management. One of the principles stated that there should be a scientific formula to select and train the job holder for the allocated tasks and today’s human resource department incorporate these functions as their recruitment activity. Managers of different departments of a company will participate in this...
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