Fayol’s Principles of Management

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Henri Fayol (1841-1925)

Henri Fayol contributed much to early principles of management theory and is also considered a founding father of modern project management. The tools we have today as managers have roots in or were at least influenced by the works of the men we have been looking over so far. Fayol’s “14 principles of management” were released in almost one hundred years ago, 1914, but are still relevant today, as are his “six primary functions of management” – the core today of project management.

Fayol was born in Istanbul and began working as an engineer at a large mining company in France when he was 19, eventually becoming the director. In the following years he developed what he called the 14 most important principles of management, explaining how managers should organise and handle workers.

Fayol’s principles are listed below:

  1. Division of Work – when employees are specialised, output can increase because they become increasingly skilled and efficient.
  2. Authority – managers must have the authority to give orders, but they must also keep in mind that with authority comes responsibility.
  3. Discipline – discipline must be upheld in organisations, but methods for doing so can vary.
  4. Unity of Command – employees should have only one direct supervisor.
  5. Unity of Direction – teams with the same objective should be working under the direction of one manager, using one plan. This will ensure that action is properly coordinated.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interest – the interests of one employee should not be allowed to become more important than those of the group. This includes managers.
  7. Remuneration – employee satisfaction depends on fair remuneration for everyone. This includes financial and non-financial compensation.
  8. Centralisation – this principle refers to how close employees are to the decision-making process. It is important to aim for an appropriate balance.
  9. Scalar Chain – employees should be aware of where they stand in the organisation’s hierarchy, or chain of command.
  10. Order – the workplace facilities must be clean, tidy and safe for employees. Everything should have its place.
  11. Equity – managers should be fair to staff at all times, both maintaining discipline as necessary and acting with kindness where appropriate.
  12. Stability of Tenure of Personnel – managers should strive to minimise employee turnover. Personnel planning should be a priority.
  13. Initiative – employees should be given the necessary level of freedom to create and carry out plans.
  14. Esprit de Corps – organisations should strive to promote team spirit and unity.

Fayol’s “six primary functions of management”, which go hand in hand with the “Principles”, are as follows:

  1. Forecasting.
  2. Planning.
  3. Organising.
  4. Commanding.
  5. Coordinating.
  6. Controlling

Henri Fayol’s “14 Principles of Management” have been a significant influence on modern management theory. His practical list of principles helped early 20th century managers learn how to organise and interact with their employees in a productive way.

Although the 14 Principles aren’t widely used today, they can still offer guidance for today’s managers. Many of the principles are now considered to be common sense, but at the time they were revolutionary concepts for organisational management.

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