Today's managers have access to an amazing array of resources which they can use to improve their skills. But what about those managers who were leading the way forward 100 years ago? Managers in the early 1900s had very few external resources to draw upon to guide and develop their management practice. But thanks to early theorists like Henri Fayol (1841-1925), managers began to get the tools they needed to lead and manage more effectively. Fayol, and others like him, are responsible for building the foundations of modern management theory.
Fayol was born in 1841 in a suburb of Istanbul, Ottoman Empire. His father, an engineer, was appointed superintendent of works to build the Galata Bridge, which bridged the Golden Horn. The family returned to France in 1847, where Fayol graduated from the mining academy "École Nationale Supérieure des Mines" in Saint-Étienne in 1860.
The nineteen-year old engineer started at the mining company "Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambeau-Decazeville" in Commentry. By 1900 the company was one of the largest producers of iron and steel in France and was regarded as a vital industry. Fayol became managing director in 1888, when the mine company employed over 10,000 people, and held that position over 30 years until 1918.
Based largely on his own management experience, he developed his concept of administration. In 1916 he published these experience in the book "Administration Industrielle et Générale", at about the same time as Frederick Winslow Taylor published his Principles of Scientific Management.
Fayol's work became more generally known with the 1949 publication of General and industrial administration, the English translation of the 1916 article "Administration industrielle et générale". In this works Fayol presented his theory of management, known as Fayolism. Before that Fayol had written several articles on mining engineering, starting in the 1870s, and some preliminary papers on administration.
Since the 1870s Fayol wrote a series of articles on mining subject, such as on the spontaneous heating of coal (1879), the formation of coal beds (1887), the Sedimentation of the Commentry, and on plant fossils (1890),
His first articles were published in the French Bulletin de la Societe de l'Industrie Minerale, and since early 1880s in the Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences, the proceedings of theFrench Academy of Sciences.
Fayol's "14 Principles" was one of the earliest theories of management to be created, and remains one of the most comprehensive. He's considered to be among the most influential contributors to the modern concept of management, even though people don't refer to "The 14 Principles" often today. The theory falls under the Administrative Management school of thought (as opposed to the Scientific Management school, led by Fredrick Taylor).
Controlling is described in the sense that a manager must receive feedback on a process in order to make necessary adjustments. Fayol's work has stood the test of time and has been shown to be relevant and appropriate to contemporary management. Many of today's management texts including Daft (2005) have reduced the five functions to four: (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) leading, and (4) controlling. Daft's text is organized around Fayol's four functions.
Fayol believed management theories could be developed, then taught. His theories were published in a monograph titled General and Industrial Management (1916). This is an extraordinary little book that offers the first theory of general management and statement of management principles.
Fayol suggested that it is important to have unity of command: a concept that suggests there should be only one supervisor for each person in an organization. Like Socrates, Fayol suggested that management is a universal human activity that applies equally well to the family as...
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