Henri Fayol (1841-1925)
Principles & Functions of Management
Henri Fayol, a French engineer and director of mines, was born in a suburb of Istanbul in 1841, where his father, an engineer, was appointed Superintendent of Works to build a bridge over the Golden Horn. They returned to France in 1847. Fayol studied at the mining school "Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines" in St Etienne. At nineteen years of age he started as an engineer at a mining company "Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambeau-Decazeville" in Commentry. Although Fayol's career began as a mining engineer, he moved into research geology and in 1888 joined Comambault as Director. Fayol turned the struggling Comambault operation round with his entrepreneurial approach to management thinking. On joining the company in 1888, the mine company employed over 1000 people; he held that position over 30 years until 1918. By 1900 the company was one of the largest producers of iron and steel in France, and regarded as a vital national industry. He was little known outside France until the late 1940s when Constance Storrs published her translation of Fayol's 1916 work Administration Industrielle et Generale. On retirement he published his work - a comprehensive theory of administration - where he described and classified administrative management roles and processes which led to his recognition by others in the emerging debate about management. He is rightly seen as a key and early influential contributor to a classical or administrative management school of thought (even though he himself, it is thought, would never have recognised such a "school" - Jarvis 2005). His theorising about administration was built on personal observation and experience of what worked well in terms of organisation. His aspiration for an "administrative science" sought a consistent set of principles that all organisations must apply in order to run properly. F. W. Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management in the USA in 1911, and Fayol in 1916 examined the nature of management and administration on the basis of his French mining organisation experiences. Fayol synthesised various tenets or principles of organisation and management and Taylor on work methods, measurement and simplification to secure efficiencies. Both referenced functional specialisation. Both Fayol and Taylor were arguing that principles existed which all organisations - in order to operate and be administered efficiently - could implement. This type of assertion typifies a "one best way" approach to management thinking. Fayol's five functions are still relevant to discussion today about management roles and action. He has proposed that there are five primary functions of management : planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. The five functions are set out below here and later in the paper some Industrial Engineering training applications (Six Functions) from the 1960's adds further food for thought - (the author sees these Six Functions as a pre-requisite to the management thinking of the day):- to forecast and plan - prevoyance
examine the future and draw up plans of action;
build up the structure, material and human, of the undertaking; to command
maintain activity among the personnel;
bind together, unify and harmonise activity and effort;
see that everything occurs in conformity with policy and practise. Fayol also synthesised 14 principles for organisational design and effective administration. It is worthwhile reflecting on these and comparing the conclusions to contemporary utterances by Peters, Kanter and Handy to name but three management gurus - Jarvis 2005. Fayol's 14 principles are: specialisation/division of labour
A principle of work allocation and specialisation in order to concentrate activities to enable specialisation of skills and understandings, more work focus and efficiency, where efficiency is the direct ratio...
Bibliography: * Lucey, T. (1991), Management Information Systems, 6th Edition, London: DP Publications.
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