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Henri Fayol

General and Industrial Management

Yonatan Reshef
School of Business
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta

The work of Taylor and Fayol is essentially complementary. They both realized that the problem of HR and their management at all levels is the key to business success. Both applied scientific method to this problem. Taylor worked primarily on the operative level, from the bottom of the organizational hierarchy upward. Fayol concentrated on the Managing Director (his term) and worked downward.

Unlike Taylor, Fayol's work reflects a tension between his recognition that managers are not supermen and yet employees should not be allowed enough autonomy and responsibility to solve second-order problems (problems for which there are no precedents, or previous exemplary solutions).

Additionally, Fayol's work provides much more insights into the intellectual underpinnings of the approach.

On the division of labor (9, 13): The most important ability of the worker is "technical" (physical) ability. As one goes up the organization ladder, the relative importance of managerial ability increases, while that of technical ability decreases. To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, coordinate and to control (p. 6).

General Principles of Management

  1. Division of work. Specialization belongs to the natural order (a religious belief!?). Management should pursue standardization of work. The object of work is to produce more and better with the same effort. The worker always on the same part, the manager concerned always with the same matters, acquire an ability, sureness, and accuracy which increase their output.
  2. Authority and responsibility. The good manager should have official authority deriving from office and personal authority, compounded of intelligence, experience, moral worth, ability to lead, past services, etc. Responsibility is a corollary of authority, it is its natural consequence and essential counterpart, and where authority is exercised responsibility arises.
  3. Discipline. Discipline is obedience, application, energy, behavior, and respect. Discipline is absolutely essential for the smooth running of business and without discipline no enterprise could prosper.

    When a defect in discipline is apparent or when relations between superiors and subordinates leave much to be desired, responsibility for this must not be cast heedlessly, and without going further afield, on the poor state of the team, because the ill mostly results from the ineptitude of the leaders.

  4. Unity of command. An employee should receive orders from one superior only.
  5. Unity of direction. One head and one plan for a group of activities having the same objective (centralization of authority).
  6. Subordination of individual interest to general interest. The interest of the home should come before that of its members and that the interest of the State should have pride of place over that of one citizen or group of citizens. Constant supervision is needed to ensure that the general interest will not be lost sight in favor of individual interest.
  7. Remuneration of personnel. Remuneration should be fair (!?). It shall not go beyond reasonable limits. But who defines "fair?"
  8. Centralization. Centralization belongs to the natural order (a religious belief!?). The degree of centralization must vary according to different cases. If the moral worth of the manager, his strength, intelligence, experience and swiftness of thought allow him to have a wide span of activities he will be able to carry centralization quite far and reduce his seconds in command to mere executive agents. (Interestingly, the quality of the employees is not taken into account at all.)
  9. Scalar chain (chain of command). The scalar chain is the chain of superiors ranging from the ultimate authority to the lowest ranks. In short, it is the line of authority. It is an error to depart needlessly from the line of authority, but it is an even greater one to keep to it when detriment to the business ensues. When an employee is obliged to choose between the two practices, and it is impossible for him to take advice from his superior, he should be courageous enough and feel free to adopt the line dictated by the general interest. But for him to be in this frame of mind there must have been previous precedent, and his superiors must have set him an example -- for example must always come from above (employees should be empowered enough to deal with second-order problems).
  10. Order. In the case of material things -- "A place for everything and everything in its place." In case of human order -- "A place for everyone and everyone in his place" (another religious belief!?).
  11. Equity. For the personnel to be encouraged to carry out duties with all the devotion and loyalty of which it is capable it must be treated with kindliness, and equity results from the combination of kindliness and justice (as defined by!?).
  12. Stability of tenure of personnel. It seems that the whole idea of job security is really geared toward stabilizing management. Generally, the managerial personnel of prosperous firms is stable, that of unsuccessful ones is unstable.

    However, he does mention employment stability re "employees." Time is required for an employee to get used to new work and succeed in doing it well. If when he has got used to it, or before then, he is removed, he will not have time to render worthwhile service. (Interestingly, there is no mention of such "soft" elements as commitment, moral, and satisfaction.)

  13. Initiative. Thinking out a plan and ensuring its success is one of the keenest satisfaction for an intelligent man to experience. It is also one of the most powerful stimulants of human endeavor. Hence, it is essential to encourage and develop this capacity to the full.
  14. Esprit de corps. Harmony, union among the personnel of a concern, is great strength in that concern. Effort, then, should be made to establish it (this seems to mean, making sure that front-line employees buy into his managerial system).

On the importance of managerial principles

Without principles one is in darkness and chaos; interest, experience and proportion are still very handicapped, even with the best principles. The principle is the lighthouse fixing the bearings but it can only serve those who already know the way into port. Without theory no teaching is possible (pp. 14-5)

On the ideal manager

The ideal manager would be one who, possessed of all requisite knowledge for settling managerial, technical, commercial, financial and other questions before him, also enjoyed sufficient physical and mental vigor and capacity for work to be able to meet all the weight of business contacts, command and control incumbent upon management. There is no man alive whose knowledge embraces every question thrown up in the running of as large concern, and certainly none possessed of the strength and disposing of the time required by the manifold obligations of large-scale management. Hence the need to fall back on the staff.

The Core Activities of Managers:

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