Fayol or Mintzberg –
Who is right?
Student Number: 110369257
The task: Henri Fayol presented his analysis of the management function in 1916 and it has largely been superseded by the more descriptive approaches of what managers actually do, such that favored by Henry
Mintzberg. However, it could be argued that the image portrayed by Fayol is superior to that of Mintzberg, and the latter’s description is of rather ineffective management! Who do you think is right?
Fayol or Mintzberg – Who is right?
By Henry Amm
With his work General and Industrial Management (1949, in French 1916) Henri Fayol was a pioneer on the field of management theory. (Pryor & Taneja, 2010) Many more were to follow, some supporting Fayol’s thoughts and some, i.e. Henry Mintzberg in The Nature of
Managerial Work (1973) saying that Fayol’s views are not holding true today.
This essay will take a closer look at strengths and weaknesses of both Fayol and Mintzberg and conclude that Fayol’s work still is not only relevant to our contemporary understanding of management but also superior to Mintzberg in terms of its conceptualization and applicability to modern organizations.
Description of Fayol’s work
According to Fayol (1949) all industrial organisations consist of six different groups of activities: technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and management. As he was a manager himself, or in other words an administrator, he devoted his work to the latter activity, management.
Fayol identified five key functions or “elements” of managerial work, which is regarded as the classical theory and often referred to as the “management process” (Dessler, 1985, p. 4):
(1) Planning and forecasting: examining the future and laying out the actions to be taken
(2) Organising: laying out lines of authority and responsibility.
(3) Co-ordinating: laying out timing and sequencing of activities; binding and
References: Archer, E. R., 1990. Towards a revival of the principles of management. Industrial Management, 32(1), pp Brooks, I., 2009. Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation. 4th ed. Dessler, G., 1985. Management fundamentals: modern principles & practices. 4th ed. Reston, VA: Reston Pub Fayol, H., 1949. General and Industrial Management. London: Pitman. Fells, M. J., 2000. Fayol stands the test of time. Journal of Management History, 6(8), pp. Lamond, D., 2004. A matter of style: reconciling Henri and Henry. Management Decision, 42(2), pp Mintzberg, H., 1973. The Nature of Managerial Work. New York, NY: Harper & Row. Mintzberg, H., 1975. The Manager 's Job: Folklore and Fact. Harvard Business Review, 53(4), pp Mintzberg, H., 1979. The Structuring of Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Pettinger, R., 2007. Introduction to Management. 4th ed. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Pryor, M. G. & Taneja, S., 2010. Henri Fayol, practitioner and theoretician – revered and reviled Wren, D. A., 1994. The Evolution of Management Thought. 4th ed. New York, NY: John Wiley.