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Fayol’s Management Theories Essay

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Updated: Dec 8th, 2019


Management is an important part of the modern business life. All top managers follow particular management theories to make sure that their activities are properly considered and checked before applying into practice.

The reputation of the company and the ability to run business are two the most important factors which define company profit. There are a lot of different management theories which are used at practice, however, the management theories developed by Henri Fayol still remain up to date.

Henri Fayol’s management theories were first proposed in the early 1900s. Despite many criticisms, Fayol’s theories still form the basis of management practices and teachings in the 21st century that helps many managers successfully complete.

Much information is devoted to the application of Henri Fayol’s management theories to various business processes and the articles discussed in this paper easily support this idea.

Fayol’s management theories

The reference to the Fayol’s management theories which were developed at the beginning of 1900’s may be explained by the universality and generalization of the data presented by this person. Working as a CEO in a big company, Fayol tried to make sure that he work he performed was useful.

Having managed to help the company to recover from crisis and avoid liquidation, Fayol decided to write down his steps and these steps became the theory.

The most important aspects of Fayol’s theory applied in the modern business life are the elements of management and the principles of management. Expressing the managerial functioning of the company, there ideas have perfectly met modern conditions and continue to be useful.

The elements of management inform managers what they are to do. Fayol offers five elements of management, such as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling.

Applying these elements in the modern business, managers can easily follow each of the processes being sure that the processes are going to be completed successfully.

The principles of management help managers understand how they are going to reach their goals. Fayol’s principles of management help understand how the specific parts of the organization work together.

Fayol’s principles of management are as follows, scalar chain, unity of command, unity of direction, division of labour, order, and span of control.

Only in case all of these principles go together, the company may be considered as highly structured and hierarchical one (Miller 2011).

Considering Brunsson’s (2008) article about the effects of Fayolism, it should be stated that there are many people who use the ideas of Fayo; in his/her practice, at the same time there are also many people who criticise his theories and try to remove them from the universal use.

Still, it is really difficult to do so, as being the first practician who noticed that order is one of the main elements of management, Fayol managed to develop the theory which work in all spheres of business.

Relying on the personal experience, Fayol did all possible to note as many details of his personal success as he could find. The thorough analysis and consideration of the personal ideal allowed Fayol develop a series of ideas which are really useful.

Brunsson (2008) is sure that all the theories which were developed in the sphere of management after Fayol are based on his ideas. Fayol was the first who created the scheme according to which management works.

All other ideas either slightly change or add and develop Fayol’s ideas. Brunsson (2008) references the Taylor’s theory as the contradiction of Fayol’s ones.

However, a closer look at the ideas presented by both of these people allows to find the similarities. Therefore, being the theory of management which was developed earlier, Fayols’ ideas are regarded as the most important and used up to now.

McLean (2011) considered the time when Fayol developed his ideas and tried to analyse the contemporary use of these theories.

The author of the articvle is sure that Fayol remains one of the most cited persons in the scholar literature when it deals about the definition of management. All other definitions are based on his considerations and may be considered as the developed and added deviations from the original idea.

Being general and applicable to the vast majority of industries and businesses, Fayol’s management theory remains up to date due to many reasons. McLean (2011) does not deepen into the reasons, she actually points at the ways how each of the six elements of management are used in the contemporary management.

Forecasting and planning element was considered by Fayol as the detailed consideration of the future of the company actions.

Globalization of the economics and the internationalization of the politics requires from the modern companies to forecast the future development of the economics and create the personal marketing activities in accordance with the results of the prediction.

Organizational structure was considered as the most important factor in the company, as for Fayol, and was used for optimising the use of the labour. Modern management supports this idea and companies are sure to structure and organize the manufacturing processes to optimize the use or time, resources, human labour, etc.

The command element was considered by Fayol as the illustration of “a manager’s responsibility to lead and direct employees towards the achievement of organizational goals and strategies” (McLean 2011, p. 33). In the 21st century the command element was substituted with the leadership one, still, the functions remained almost the same.

Co-ordinate element of the Fayol’s management theory was considered as the unity of managers on the benefit of the company development. Nowadays, this element is substituted with the organizing function which helps consider the actions of other managers and work in accordance with the time and business world requirements.

The final control element is considered as the most effective one as it was aimed to make sure that the work was completed in accordance with the planned actions.

Nowadays, the monitoring function is an inevitable part of the management which may be completed at each stage of the working process as well as at the final one (McLean 2011).

Revising Fayol, Parker and Ritson (2005) it is possible to say that these people helped understand Fayol better. The piece of writing presented by these authors shows Fayol as a founding father of the Classical Management School.

A deeper consideration of the Fayols’ theories presented in the article and the precise look at critical works which contradict the usefulness of the Fayols’ management theories help the readers understand the value of those theories.

Parker and Ritson (2005) help to understand that Fayol’s theories are much more important than it may seem from the first sight. The desire to minimize the achievements of Fayol make many authors to reconsider his ideas and try to find out where he was mistaken or when his thoughts failed t become useful.

A thorough research helped Parker and Ritson (2005) make sure that Fayol’s ideas are great and deserve attention.

The authors confirmed one more time that Fayol’s ideas are not just the theoretical consideration of a person who has conducted some research, but these are the theories developed by a person who practically explored them and managed to develop the elements of management referring to the personal experience supported with skills.

Pryor and Taneja’s (2010) research has great value for the modern development of management theory. Setting the goal to consider the ideas of those who still support Fayol and the arguments of those who consider Fayol’s theories out of date, Pryor and Taneja’s (2010) managed to prove that even though there are some scholars who try to create the arguments which contradict the usefulness of Fayo;l’s theories, their work is spent in vain.

Much research in the sphere of management show that being the pioneer in the theories of management, the definition of the discipline and the development of its elements and principles, Fayol still remains the most cited person in the books about management.

The main arguments presented by those who contradict the usefulness of Fayol’s theories remains the arguments that these theories are out of date and may not be applied to the changed globalized world where innovative technologies have substituted many processes.

Still, such people are not correct as the main elements of management remained the same and they are used in all spheres where management is applied.

Fayol’s elements of management may be reconsidered and enlarged, however, it is impossible to run successful business without referring to planning (forecasting), organizing, commanding (leadership skills), coordinating, and controlling (monitoring of the main elements of the working process).

To understand the importance of Fayol’s theories in the modern life, it is important to check the way how these theories have been developed.

Wren (2001) tried to discuss in detail how Fayol come to his theories having described in detail how these ideas developed in his mind. The main principle according to which Fayol developed his ideas was the practical implementation of those.

Working as an engineer, Fayol understood that his assistance in managing the company may be useful. Having assisted one company in recovering from crisis and avoiding of liquidation, Fayol understood the guarantee of his success and tried to share his experience and knowledge via the theories of management elements and principles.

Those who people who try to contradict the importance and usefulness of Fayol’s theories have never tried to run business without applying any of the elements of Fayols chain.

Even the theoretical exclusion of the monitoring or forecasting elements is impossible as in this case the process of management will be incomplete and the company will fail to realise its potential.

Wren’s (2001) research helps refer Fayol’s ideas to the modern business running process one more time and conclude that the practices which were successful in business in 1900’s remain useful up to now.

Looking at the modern ideas in the sphere of the principles of management (Bagad 2009; Cole 2004) it is possible to say that all of them have something in common.

The time of the theory development does not play any role as even the ideas which been developed in 1950’s and those who are developing now deserve attention as each of these theories add something new and interesting to the theoretical world (Bagad 2009; Cole 2004).

Still, a close analysis of these theories helps conclude that all of them are based on the foundational theories of Fayol. No matter how theory is developed and reconsidered, how many new elements and principles are added, all the theories considered in the modern study books are based on Fayol’s ideas.

It is important to understand that developing new ideas, scholars still refer to the practical research conclusions drawn by Fayol when he worked as a manager.

It is impossible to contradict the fact that Fayol’s ideas are still popular and many companies base their work on them.


Therefore, it may be concluded that practical implementation of Henri Fayol’s management theories remains popular during the 21st century even though they were developed almost one hundred years ago.

Fayol’s management theories remain popular as they really work. Being developed on the basis of the practical experience, the theories are checked and they do not require additional research and confirmation.

Moreover, offering the background for running business, Fayol’s management theories can be changed and applied to the peculiarities of the business.

It is important to remember that Fayol’s management theories are the basis and they may be used either in the original form or enlarged and developed.

The sources discussed in this article helped to prove that the use of the considered theories remained at the high level due to the successful practical implementation and visible results.

Reference List

Bagad, VS 2009, Principles of Management, Technical Publications, New York.

Brunsson, KH 2008, ‘Some Effects of Fayolism’, International Studies of Management & Organisation, vol. 38, no. 1, pp 30-47.

Cole, GA 2004, Management Theory and Practice, Cengage Learning EMEA, London.

McLean, J 2011, ‘Fayol – standing the test of time’, British Journal of Administrative Management, Spring, pp 32-33.

Miller, K 2011, Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes, Cengage Learning, Stamford.

Parker, LD & Ritson, PA 2005, ‘Revisiting Fayol: Anticipating Contemporary Management’, British Journal of Management, vol. 16, pp 175-194.

Pryor, MG & Taneja, S 2010 ‘Henri Fayol, practitioner and theoretician – revered and reviled’, Journal of Management History, vol. 16, issue 4, pp 489-503.

Wren, DA 2001, ‘Henri Fayol as strategist: a nineteenth century corporate turnaround’, Management Decision, vol. 39, issue 6, pp 475-487.

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