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Literature review essay: Henri Fayol’s management theories

Management refers to the act of getting things done by other people. Some scholars hold that, management refers to the act the process of planning, organising, coordinating and controlling in order to achieve the predetermined goals and Objectives. Henry Fayol was born in 1841 in Istanbul and he is one of the pioneers who developed theories of management during industrialization period. According to Fayol, management refers to the act of forecasting, planning, organising, commanding and controlling (Brunsson, 2008). He brought up fundamental basis of understanding management and through his management theory other philosophers have developed their theories with respect to management and hence, he is being referred to as the father of classical school of management (Parker & Ritson, 2005). Therefore, this study focuses on Henry Fayol theory of managements, its evolution and application in management of the organisations today.
Henry Fayol joined coal mining factory as a chief executive officer after graduating with an Engineering degree. He recognised that, for managers to be efficient and effective they must apply some principals of management when managing their business entities (Brunsson, 2008). Therefore, he came up with fourteen principles of management that help managers in managing their organisations. However, he disagreed with the notion that management requires an individual to possess some management traits and emphasize on application of fourteen principles of management. He further argued that, management is not static but rather it’s a continuous process which keeps on evolving .Therefore, for managers to be efficient and effective, they must continuously improve their principles of management (Parker and Ritson, 2005). Fayol come up with a book called the General and industrial management. In his book, he explained the functions of management as; planning, organising, staffing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. The book divided General and Industrial management into six groups namely: Technical undertakings which involve production, manufacturing and adaptation. Commercial undertakings which focuses exchanging, buying and selling. Financial undertakings, which focuses on optimum utilization of capital when carrying out organisation operations. Security undertakings which dealt with personal and property protection. Accounting activities which focus on taking the stocks of the company as well as maintaining the books of accounts. Lastly, he divided the activities into managerial activities which focus on planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling activities (McLean, 2011). Fayol argued that, apart from employing the fourteen principals of management, decision makers should incorporate the activities for effective management of their organisations.
Henry Fayol formed the basis of management by providing the managers with a conceptual framework through his fourteen principles of management as discusse (Pryor and Taneja, 2010): The first principles are principle of division, in this principle, Fayol argued that, task should be apportioned among employees based on employees’ ability. For example, in Volkswagen Company based in Germany worker were allocated task of manufacturing the vehicles based on their expertise. The second principle is the principal of authority and responsibility. This means that, managers have the right to give orders to employees and to extract obedience from their employees. On the other hand, employees have the obligation to execute the allotted task. This principle is widely applied in Barrick’s mining in company based in US. The third principle is the principle of discipline which emphasize that all the stakeholders should respect the laid down rules and regulations in an organisation in order to ensure order and efficiency prevails (Wren, 2001).The principle is commonly applied in Cadillac car manufacturing general motors based in Detroit Michigan. The fifth principal involves unity of command, whereby, employees should receive commands from only one superior only. The principle is commonly applied in Barrick’s mining company because it helps managers to avoid conflict within the organization especially when giving out commands to their employees (Sahni and Vayunandan, 2010). The fifth principal that Fayol brought forth was the principle of unity direction. The principle emphasize the importance of grouping similar activities together especially those activities which are directed to a single manager. This helps Volkswagen Company based Germany towards ensuring that, all activities are executed effectively without having any activity being left unexecuted.
Fayol put fourth the sixth principle which state that, there should be subordination of individual interest to general interest. This means that, the interest of the organisation should be given the first priority prior the interest of individuals. The principle is commonly applied in Barrick’s company based in U.S and has enhanced productivity of this company substantially. The seventh principle holds that, employee’s remuneration should be fair. This is because any perceived inequity among the employees may make employees feel demotivated and hence, leading to low productivity. The eighth principal emphasizes on centralization whereby, Managers are referred to as the focal point were the authority originates while employees are referred to be the ones to execute the allotted task (Sapru , 2006). This principle helped managers of Honda Company based in Manito Tokyo Japan to ensure there are seamless operations in production of Honda products. The ninth principle of emphasized that there should be a scalar chain in an organisation whereby, the chain of command flows from the top to bottom. The top management should give commands which should flow from top management to lower levels of management .The principle is normally applied in Forbes Company based in U.S which has recently emerged to be among the giant companies in the world. The tenth principle holds that, there should be order in an organisation. Employees, managers, decision makers and all the stakeholders should observe punctuality. This is crucial in order to ensure that time is not wasted and that, all the stakeholders execute the task promptly (Dzimbiri, 2009).The principle is commonly applied by Chinese construction companies like Civil Crafts Structure. In this company employees are very conscious with time.
The eleventh principles hold that there should be equity. Managers should ensure that, all employees are treated fairly and with a lot of dignity without favouring either side (Sapru, 2006). This principle is commonly applied in Volkswagen Company based in Germany. Fayol put forth his twelfth principle of his classical school of management which focused on personnel stability of tenure. According to this principle, managers should promote a stable work force by encouraging employees’ long-term dedication and commitment. This will further ensure that, there is increased organisation productivity and profitability as well (Dzimbiri, 2009). The thirteenth principle of initiative was also emphasized by Henry Fayol, according to this principle, employees are suppose to come up with new ways of doing things. The fourteenth principle emphasized on Esprit de Corps which means that, managers should embrace and promote unity within an organisation by encouraging team work among the employees. The principle has promoted cohesiveness among Chinese Engineers in Civil Structure Company .The principles formed a fundamental basis for management practice during the industrialization period. However, the principles are not widely applied by managers today but they still remain relevant in (Dzimbiri, 2009). Additionally, Henry Fayol emphasized that managers should possess the six the primary qualities of effective management in order to conduct management functions more effectively. He argued that, for managers to apply the six concepts of management they must be in a position to define what they intend to achieve within a predetermined time frame. Managers should also create the authority lines through which there is efficient flow of commands. The commands should further be issued such that, the entire organisation is set towards execution of those activities (Sahni and Vayunandan 2010).
Henry Fayola classical theory of management has also proved to have a wide rage of applications and advantages even in business today. This is because; his fourteen principals of management are still applied by managers to manage enterprises. The principle of division of labour helps human resource managers to allot task among employees so us to ensure that, work is evenly distributed among workers. This in turn helps to ensure that, the effort of each worker is being utilised more productively (McLean, 2011). The principle of equity helps managers to treat employees with fairness. Equal treatment of employees make employees feel valued and recognised this in turn lead to in crease in employees output. The principle of initiative enables managers to encourage employees to be creative and innovative. Employee’s creativity and innovativeness enable organisation to cope with dynamism that may be facing the organisation. This in turn enables the organisation to have a continuous performance improvement (Wren, 2001). The Principle of Esprit de Corps enhance unity and team work within the organisation. Unity and team work promotes corporation among the employees and hence increased organisation productivity. The principle of stability tenure enables employees to feel that their contributions are being is appreciated by making them feel dedicated to work extra harder to meet organisation goals and objectives. Additionally, the principle promotes the stability of the work force by ensuring that there is long term employees’ commitment and dedication towards attainment of the anticipated outcomes. Fayol principle of unity direction helps to prevent confusion and conflict within the organisation. According to this principle, employees are supposed to receive commands from only one superior and hence, multiple commands to a single worker are avoided (Dzimbiri, 2009).
However, despite having the advantages the theory is being faced by some limitations. The theory is being criticized for neglecting the needs of workers by failing to take into account their plights and therefore, the theory is said to be management oriented rather than employees oriented (Dzimbiri, 2009). This means that, the theory put more emphasize towards increasing the productivity of the organisation without considering the needs of it workers. The theory has the disadvantage of failure to embrace the fundamental managerial aspect such as; promoting both vertical and horizontal communication (Sapru, 2006). Fayol theory of classical school of management was based on military context and not in business context and therefore, the theory emphasize on commanding employees rather than directing them (Cole, 2004). Additionally, the theory has the disadvantage of failure to encourage informal groups and informal communication. Lack informal groups within the organisation deny employees a vital tool via which they can air their grievances to the top management (Sahni and Vayunandan, 2010). The theories further tend to describe Henry Fayol’s vision rather than the actual reality on the ground. This is because, it lack substantial facts and evidences to support its assertions. This means that the theory has not been substantiated by empirical research evidence but rather it is based on mare Fayol personal experience (Parker and Ritson, 2005). In connection to the disadvantages, the theory is being criticised for having some principles which may not be relevant into business context. This means that some of the Fayol fourteen principles of management have limited applications business today. For example, the principle of unity of command may suit better in Military contexts rather than in business management. This is because in business context manager should lead rather than commanding (Dzimbiri, 2009).
Based on the discussion, Henry Fayol classical theory of management has a wide rage of application even in todays business. This is because managers find some of Fayol’s principle management relevant when managing the organisations. However, despite having this theory widely accepted, the theory is being criticised because it based on Henry Fayol personal experience during his tenure at cool mining factory. The theory has not been substantiated by any empirical evidence based on research and hence, its credibility is still questionable (Cole, 2004). However, despite lacking substantial evidence to support this theory, the theory formed a fundamental basis upon which many theories were formed in a bid to identify which is the best practice to manage organisation and achieve the predetermined goals and objectives.

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