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                        5 Functions of Management

                        Henri Fayol

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                        Henri Fayol was one of the first theorists to define functions of management in his 1916 book “Administration Industrielle et Generale”. Henri Fayol identified 5 functions of management, which he labelled: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Henri Fayol theorized that these functions were universal, and that every manager performed these functions in their daily work.

                        Henri Fayol also identified 14 general principles of management and organizing, which can be read about in the article: What are Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management? In part, these 14 principles give normative guidance on how managers might master and execute their 5 managerial functions effectively.

                        Below, a short description of the five functions is presented.

                        Managers must plan for future conditions, develop strategic objectives and secure the achievement of future goals. Therefore, managers must evaluate future contingencies affecting the organization, and shape the future operational and strategic landscape of the company.

                        Managers must organize the workforce in an efficient manner and structure and align the activities of the organization. Managers must also train and recruit the right people for the job, and always secure a sufficiently skilled and educated workforce.

                        Managers must supervise subordinates in their daily work, and inspire them to achieve company goals. Likewise it is the responsibility of managers to communicate company goals and policies to subordinates. The commanding of subordinates should always be consistent with company policies, and every manager should treat subordinates in line with the standards of the company.

                        Managers must harmonize the procedures and activities performed by the company, meaning that every activity of each organizational unit should complement and enrich the work of another.

                        Managers must control that company activities are in line with general company policies and objectives. It is also the responsibility of the manager to observe and report deviations from plans and objectives, and to make initiatives to correct potential deviations.

                        The five functions theory of Henri Fayol is a very normative and functional view on management, and the theory might not fully convey the managerial complexities faced by managers in their daily work. As such, Henry Fayol’s five functions focus very little on informal relationships between managers and subordinates, and do not touch very much upon how to develop and maintain a motivated workforce.

                        The 5 functions put forward by Henri Fayol may therefore not completely represent the total complexity faced by managers, and the normative approach may be too rigid to illustrate which functions managers need to perform in modern contemporary companies and organizations. However, the 5 functions presented by Henri Fayol give a structured overview of several tasks needed to be performed by all managers, which gives managers an initial overview of which main functions they should be focusing on in their daily work.

                        Other theorist such as Frederick Herzberg and Elton Mayo focused more of their attention to trying to explain how people are motivated, and on which motivational factors can secure a satisfied and motivated workforce.

                        Date Created: 2011-05-16
                        Posted by: Admin
                        5 Functions of Management

                        Related resources:

                        Transformational vs. Transactional Leadership
                        Max Weber¡¯s three types of authority
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                        What is Blake & Mouton's Managerial Grid?
                        What is Paternalistic Leadership?
                        What is the Situational Leadership Theory
                        Administration industrielle et g¨¦n¨¦rale; pr¨¦voyance, organisation, commandement, coordination, controle
                        Fayol, Henri; (1916); Paris, H. Dunod et E. Pinat

                        MBA, MBA courses, Online MBA, MSc, MSc courses, Online MSc, Henri Fayol, Planning, controlling, commanding, coordinating, organizing, normative, funtional appoach


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