How relavent is Fayol's five functions of management in a modern meduim sized building firm?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 214
  • Published: January 3, 2006
Read full document
Text Preview

Henri Fayol, a French engineer who worked his way up to become the director of mines, published "Administration Industrielle et Generale " in 1916. Constance Sorrs did not translate the publication to English until the 1940s. Fayol was therefore mostly overlooked by the American writers of the time. Fayol was at the forefront of the classical school of management theory, which helped develop the principles of a modern manager.

The main points to come out of his publication were his 14 principles of management. That all activities within a firm can fit into six functions technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and managerial activities.

In response to the question "what is managerial activates?" he developed his five functions of management. He believed that these five functions could be taught and were not something that you were born with. So to what extent can a theory on management published almost 100 years ago still be relevant in a modern, medium sized building firm? First we should look at what his five functions are.

Fayols five functions of management

Fayol defined five functions that any manager must perform. These are

Plan and forecast

Planning is the setting out of goals and objectives of the company as well as the employee. The manager must also specify the means to achieving these goals. Forecasting is closely linked to planning and involves making sure your plans take account of what is expected to happen in the future. In today's world forecasting and planning would mean the same thing.


Organising involves creating a structure to help achieve these goals and objectives. The manager must determine all the tasks that have to be done and allocate these tasks to the employees. Organising, involves translating the planned steps into a reality through the means of an infrastructure. At this stage it is necessary to assign tasks, to set deadlines, allocate resources, to decide what structures are yet to be created and to whom additional responsibilities should be delegated.


Giving out orders so that the work is done. ( states that commanding is making sure work is done based on commands and obedience to commands. This can be done by the setting out of company rules and regulations.


This is the binding together, unifying and harmonising all activity and effort. It involves setting the structure of the hierarchy to allow greater communication. It is also making sure that work can progress in unity with other departments. Sometimes unifying different groups of labour can achieve better quality of work.


Control involves monitoring performance, comparing performance with goals and correcting the system. Having effective control methods can allow you to make better decisions as your more informed.

Background of the firm

The firm I am going to look at for comparisons with Fayols functions is W J Harte Construction. This is a medium sized building firm of about 50 staff directly under its control. Hartes is owned by the Mancunians Merkintile cooperation and is around 50 years old. It is had to change its management structure and goals to keep up with the ever changing environment of the construction industry. They are currently working on 70 developments throughout Scotland. The Harte Group can provide a "one-stop-shop" for all site servicing requirements, from inception to completion. We can project manage the works or act as principal contractors. There management structure is

I have also made the following assumption regarding a medium sized building firm

1. That all medium sized firms are managed the same

2. That a medium sized firm employees between 10 to 100 other people.

The functions in a modern world?

So how well does Fayol's five functions fit into a modern medium sized building firm? To analyse this question we need to look for parallels between what...
tracking img