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General and Industrial Management
School of Business
University of Alberta
T6G 2R6 CANADA
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
On the importance of managerial principles
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Unity of command. An employee should receive orders from one superior only.
- Unity of direction. One head and one plan for a group of activities having the
same objective (centralization of authority).
- 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
- Remuneration of personnel. Remuneration should be fair (!?). It shall not go
beyond reasonable limits. But who defines "fair?"
- 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.)
- 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).
- 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!?).
- 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!?).
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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).
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
The Core Activities of