Henri Fayol 14 Principles of Management with examples  | Free Management Blogs

Henri Fayol 14 Principles of Management with examples

Henri Fayol 14 Principles of Management with examples
Henri Fayol 14 Principles of Management with examples

Henri Fayol 14 Principles of Management

Henri Fayol (1841-1925) was a French management theorist whose theories concerning scientific organisation of labour were widely influential in the beginning of twentieth century. He graduated from the mining academy of St. Etienne in 1860 in mining engineering.

The 19 year old engineer started at the mining company ‘Compagnie de commentary-Fourchambean-Decazeville, ultimately acting as its managing director from 1888 to 1918.

His theories deal with organisation of production in the context of a competitive enterprise that has to control its production costs. Fayol was the first to identify four functions of management – Planning, Organising, Directing and Controlling although his version was a bit different – Plan, Organise, Command, Coordinate and Control.

According to Fayol, all activities of an industrial undertaking could be divided into: Technical; Commercial; Financial; Security; Accounting and Managerial. He also suggested that qualities a manager must possess should be — Physical, Moral, Education, Knowledge and experience. He believed that the number of management principles that might help to improve an organisation’s operation is potentially limitless.

Based largely on his own experience, he developed his concept of administration. The 14 principles of management propounded by him were discussed in detail in his book published in 1917, ‘Administration industrielle et generale’. It was published in English as ‘General and Industrial Management’ in 1949 and is widely considered a foundational work in classical management theory.

For his contribution he is also known as the ‘Father of General Management’ The 14 principles of management given by him are:

1) Division of Work

Work is divided into small tasks/ jobs. A trained specialist who is competent is required to perform each job. Thus, division of work leads to specialisation. According to Fayol, “The intent of division of work is to produce more and better work for the same effort. Specialisation is the most efficient way to use human effort.” In business work can be performed more efficiently if it is divided into specialised tasks; each performed by a specialist or trained employee.

This results in efficient and effective output. Thus, in a company we have separate departments for finance, marketing, production and human resource development etc. All of them have specialised persons. Collectively they achieve production and sales targets of the company. Fayol applies this principle of division of work to all kinds of work – technical as well as managerial. You can observe this principle at work in any organisation like hospital or even a government office.

2) Authority and Responsibility

Authority is the right to take decisions. It is necessary to get the things done appropriately from subordinates. Authority always comes with the responsibility. If the manager is given the authority to complete a task within a given time, he should be held responsible if he does not complete the work in given time. Manager should have proper authorities to take managerial decision on his own in respect to the goal.

For example, a sales manager has to negotiate a deal with a buyer. She finds that if she can offer credit period of 60 days she is likely to clinch the deal which is supposed to fetch the company net margin of say Rs 50 crores. Now the company gives power to the manager to offer a credit period of only 40 days. This shows that there is an imbalance in authority and responsibility.

In this case the manager should be granted authority of offering credit period of 60 days in the interest of the company. Similarly, in this example this manager should not be given a power to offer a credit period of say 100 days because it is not required. A manager should have the right to punish a subordinate for wilfully not obeying a legitimate order but only after sufficient opportunity has been given to a subordinate for presenting her/his case.

3) Discipline

Discipline is the obedience to organisational rules and employment agreement which are necessary for the working of the organisation. According to Fayol, discipline requires good superiors at all levels, clear and fair agreements and judicious application of penalties.

Suppose management and labour union have entered into an agreement whereby workers have agreed to put in extra hours without any additional payment to revive the company out of loss. In return the management has promised to increase wages of the workers when this mission is accomplished.

Here discipline when applied would mean that the workers and management both honour their commitments without any prejudice towards one another.

4) Unity of Command

According to Fayol there should be one and only one boss for every individual employee. If an employee gets orders from two superiors at the same time the principle of unity of command is violated. The principle of unity of command states that each participant in a formal organisation should receive orders from and be responsible to only one superior. Fayol gave a lot of importance to this principle. The principle resembles military organisation. Dual subordination should be avoided. This is to prevent confusion regarding tasks to be done.

Suppose a sales person is asked to clinch a deal with a buyer and is allowed to give 10% discount by the marketing manager. But finance department tells her/ him not to offer more than 5% discount. Now there is no unity of command. This can be avoided if there is coordination between various departments.

5) Unity of Direction

All the units of an organisation should be moving towards the same objectives through coordinated and focussed efforts. Each group of activities having the same objective must have one head and one plan. This ensures unity of action and coordination.

For example, if a company is manufacturing motorcycles as well as cars then it should have two separate divisions for both of them. Each division should have its own incharge, plans and execution resources. On no account should the working of two divisions overlap.

6) Subordination of Individual Interest to General Interest

The interests of an organisation should take priority over the interests of any one individual employee according to Fayol. Every worker has some individual interest for working in a company. The company has got its own objectives.

For example, the company would want to get maximum output from its employees at a competitive cost (salary). On the other hand, an employee may want to get maximum salary while working the least. In another situation an individual employee may demand some concession, which is not admissible to any other employee like working for less time. In all the situations the interests of the group/company will supersede the interest of any one individual. This is so because larger interests of the workers and stakeholders are more important than the interest of any one person.

For example, interests of various stakeholders, i.e., owners, shareholders, creditors, debtors, financers, tax authorities, customers and the society at large cannot be sacrificed for one individual or a small group of individuals who want to exert pressure on the company. A manager can ensure this by her/his exemplary behaviour.

For example, she/he should not fall into temptation of misusing her/his powers for individual/ family benefit at the cost of larger general interest of the workers/ company. This will raise her/his stature in the eyes of the workers and at the same time ensure same behaviour by them.

7) Remuneration of Employees

The overall pay and compensation should be fair to both employees and the organisation. The employees should be paid fair wages, which should give them at least a reasonable standard of living. At the same time it should be within the paying capacity of the company.

In other words, remuneration should be just and equitable. This will ensure congenial atmosphere and good relations between workers and management. Consequently, the working of the company would be smooth.

8) Centralisation and Decentralisation

The concentration of decision-making authority is called centralisation whereas its dispersal among more than one person is known as decentralisation. According to Fayol, “There is a need to balance subordinate involvement through decentra lisation with managers’ retention of final authority through centralisation.” The degree of centralisation will depend upon the circumstances in which the company is working. In general large organisations have more decentralisation than small organisations.

For example, panchayats in our country have been given more powers to decide and spend funds granted to them by the government for the welfare of villages. This is decentralisation at the national level

9) Scalar Chain

Scalar chain means the hierarchy of authority from the top level to the lower level for the purpose of communication. This helps to ensure the orderly flow of information and communication. Traditionally, organizations used to frame large scalar chain which is time consuming.

For example, a General Manager informs the decision to respective Functional Manager, then Functional Manager will pass it to supervisor, the supervisor will inform it to Foreman and so on according to level of authority. For avoiding this longer chain and to take speedy decisions cross communication or direct communication is followed by various organizations which is known as Gang Plank.
For direct communication, proper permission of the authorities is necessary.

Scalar Chain and Gang Plank

In the above diagram, the communication between ‘D’ and ‘G’ should flow through proper hierarchy.But to avoid delay or in emergency situation there will be direct communication. It is termed as Gang Plank. 

10) Order

According to Fayol, “People and materials must be in suitable places at appropriate time for maximum efficiency.” The principle of order states that ‘A place for everything (everyone) and everything (everyone) in its (her/his) place’. Essentially it means orderliness.

If there is a fixed place for everything and it is present there, then there will be no hindrance in the activities of business/ factory. This will lead to increased productivity and efficiency.

11) Equity

Good sense and experience are needed to ensure fairness to all employees, who should be treated as fairly as possible,” according to Fayol. This principle emphasises kindliness and justice in the behaviour of managers towards workers. This will ensure loyalty and devotion. Fayol does not rule out use of force sometimes. Rather he says that lazy personnel should be dealt with sternly to send the message that everyone is equal in the eyes of the management. There should be no discrimination against anyone on account of sex, religion, language, caste, belief or nationality etc. In practice we can observe that now a days in multinational corporations people of various nationalities work together in a discrimination free environment. Equal opportunities are available for everyone in such companies to rise.

12) Stability of Personnel

“Employee turnover should be minimised to maintain organisational efficiency”, according to Fayol. Personnel should be selected and appointed after due and rigorous procedure. But once selected they should be kept at their post/ position for a minimum fixed tenure.

They should have stability of tenure. They should be given reasonable time to show results. Any adhocism in this regard will create instability/insecurity among employees. They would tend to leave the organisation. Recruitment, selection and training cost will be high. So stability in tenure of personnel is good for the business.

13) Initiative

Workers should be encouraged to develop and carry out their plans for improvements according to Fayol. Initiative means taking the first step with self-motivation. It is thinking out and executing the plan. It is one of the traits of an intelligent person. Initiative should be encouraged.

But it does not mean going against the established practices of the company for the sake of being different. A good company should have an employee suggestion system whereby initiative/suggestions which result in substantial cost/time reduction should be rewarded.

14) Esprit De Corps

Management should promote a team spirit of unity and harmony among employees, according to Fayol. Management should promote teamwork especially in large organisations because otherwise objectives would be difficult to realise. It will also result in a loss of coordination.

A manager should replace ‘I’ with ‘We’ in all his conversations with workers to foster team spirit. This will give rise to a spirit of mutual trust and belongingness among team members. It will also minimise the need for using penalties. 

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