Henri Fayol's 14 Principles

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  • Topic: Chain of command, Division of labour, Productive and unproductive labour
  • Pages : 13 (4761 words )
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  • Published : September 12, 2011
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Fayol’s 14 principles derive from the circumstance that Fayol felt that management was not well defined. In his striving to change this circumstance he suggested “some generalized teaching of management” to be a main part of every curriculum at places of higher education and even beginning in “primary schools” . Fayol’s dedication to this idea is demonstrated by the fact that after retirement he went on to not just write books about management ideas, but more importantly, he found the Centre For Administrative Studies (CAS) in 1917 in Paris . The CAS mainly functioned as a centre of discussion between professionals from a large variety of professions, in order to further the knowledge and understanding of management principles. Discussion is what Fayol had in mind, when he presented his 14 principles . In Fayol’s own words: “Are they [the principles] to have a place in the management code which is to be built up? General discussion will show”. In the following I will discuss each of his principles under the aspect of a comparison with examples, historic or modern, and in relation to other theoreticians of management, in order to examine how Fayol’s principles hold up as “management code” today. Principle 1: Division of work

The idea of division of work, or as Adam Smith called it “division of labour”, in 1776 probably goes back to the beginning of work itself. Fayol recognizes this in considering specialization as part of “the natural order” comparing it to the organs of the body . “The object of division of work is to produce more and better work with the same effort”, Fayol describes. This very objective has not been altered in today’s labor. In a sense this principle is the fundamental feature of modern economy, allowing for the largest increases of productivity. Peter F. Drucker informs us, that the 20th century has seen a rate of 3% productivity increase per year, hence productivity has risen 50 fold since the time of Frederick Taylor, who acted as a catalyst in the development of division of work . An example of this fact can come from early industrialization, namely the Ford motor company , where Taylor’s system of a scientific approach was applied. Taylor was interested in skill development by means of standardization and functional specialization . One worker would assemble the dashboard, another would assemble the wheels, and yet another would paint the exterior. The effects of this are well known and lead to Ford becoming not just the predominant car maker but also the inventor of the conveyer-belt production system- revolutionizing many industries. However, one could argue that extremes of division of work could lead to undesired effects. Division of labor can ultimately reduce productivity and increase costs to produce units. Several reasons as causes for reduction in productivity can be thought of. For example, productivity can suffer when workers become bored with the constant repetition of a task. Additionally, productivity can be affected when workers lose pride in their work because they are not producing an entire product they can identify as their own work. Douglas M. McGregor for instance cautions that “people, deprived of opportunities to satisfy at work the needs which are now important to them, behave…with indolence, passivity,…lack of responsibility,…unreasonable demands for economic benefits” . This circumstance was probably well recognized by Fayol, when he states that the “division of work has its limits which experience and a sense of proportion teach us may not be exceeded” . In more recent years management thinkers have recognized and addressed this issue more intensely, as will be discussed further below. Principle 2: Authority and Responsibility

Fayol defines authority as the “right to give orders”, but he emphasizes that responsibility arises with it . He “demands high moral character, impartiality and firmness.” Fayol thinks of responsibility as something that is “feared as...
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