Management has been variously defined by business scholars and researchers. The common themes of the various definitions are: that management involves planning, forecasting, organising, commanding, coordinating, monitoring and controlling. Henri Fayol (1841 – 1925) stated that, “To manage is to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to coordinate and to control”. Harold Konntz and Cyril O’Donnell (1984) stated that, “Managing is an operational process initially best dissected by analysing the managerial functions… The five essential managerial functions are: planning, organising, staffing, directing and leading, and controlling”. Managers must be ready to predict short to medium term future events. They must be able to plan activities, schedule and organise resources like finance, workers, raw materials, machineries and minutes to achieve finished products or service.
Managers are commanders, coordinators and controllers of workers. They are on top of their games and in full authority on the affairs of organisations. Henry Fayol’s 14 principles of management identified the skills that were needed to manage well. These 14 principles are still relevant in today’s business world. Fayol, also known as the Father of Modern Management Theory, gave a new perception on the concept of management. He introduced a general theory that can be applied to all levels of management and every department of production. He envisioned maximising managerial efficiency. Today, Fayol’s theory is practised by management to organise and regulate the internal activities of an organisation. The fourteen principles of management created by Henri Fayol are explained below.
Division of Labour: To ensure specialisation and improved quality of product and services, Henri Fayol believed that segregating work in the workforce amongst the workers should be adopted. Similarly, he also concluded that the division of work improves the productivity, efficiency, accuracy and speed of the workers due to skill and experience gained in repetition. This principle is appropriate for both the managerial as well as a technical work level.
Authority and Responsibility: Authority and responsibility are the two key factors of management. Authority facilitates the management to work efficiently and responsibility makes them responsible for the work done under their guidance or leadership. Without authority and responsibility, managers are powerless and can achieve nothing.
Discipline: Nothing can be accomplished in life without discipline. It is the core value for any project or any management activity. Good performance and sensible interrelation make the management job easy and achievable. Employees must be disciplined to have good behaviour which will help them gel smoothly and build progress in their professional careers.
Unity of Command: This means an employee should have only one line of command. If an employee has to follow directives from more than one supervisor or boss, there will be a conflict of interest and can create confusion.
Unity of Direction: All directives to workers performing the same activity should be uniformed and should aim at the same goal. This means all the people working in a company should have one goal or goals and motive which will make the work easier and achieve the goal easily.
Subordination of Individual Interest: All workers must relegate their personal interest below company’s interest. All workers must work in a cooperative manner towards the interest of a company rather than personal interest.
Remuneration: This is the wage or salary paid to a worker for his or her service. It is an important tool for motivating the workers of a company. Remuneration can be monetary or non-monetary (in kind) or a combination of the two. Remuneration is ideally paid according to an individual’s contribution to the product of an organisation.
Centralization: There should be one central person in any company that has the final directives and will be responsible for the success or failure of the company. There should be a person or an authority responsible for the decision-making process. No matter the size of any organisation, there should be a form of central decision making, for example management board, or a managing director and chief executive officer, responsible for overall decision making. Henri Fayol stressed on the need to have a balance between the hierarchy and division of power.
Line of Authority (Scalar Chain): Fayol, on this principle, highlights that the hierarchy steps should descend from the top to the lowest levels and should be defined. This is necessary so that every employee knows their immediate senior. They should be able to contact any, if needed or review the reliability of their communication.
Order (Organisation operation procedure): A company should have and maintain a well-defined work order or organisation operation procedure or “standing operating procedure” to have a dependable work culture. When all workers know what they are expected to do and what others are expected to do, it breeds a positive work environment. The positive atmosphere in the workplace will boost efficiency and more positive productivity.
Equity: All employees on the same cadre should be treated equally and respectfully. It is the responsibility of a manager that no employee is discriminated against because of ethnicity, religion, education qualification, class, level, performance or gender.
Job security (Stability): All employees contribute their best performance if they feel secure in their place of work. It is the duty of the management to offer job security to their employees and assure them of their remuneration as long as they continue to perform their tasks.
Initiative: The management should support and encourage the employees to take initiatives in an organisation. It will help the employees to be creative and to increase their motivation and morale.
Esprit de Corps: It is the responsibility of the management to motivate their employees and be supportive of each other regularly. While competition and rivalry should be encouraged to drive positive results, employees must learn to work together for common objectives. Developing trust and mutual understanding will lead to a positive outcome and work environment.
Henry Fayol’s five functions of management are: planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling. All employees are like raw materials that must be processed and refined to get a perfect product or service. Like all trees in the forest, no employee is useless and some employees do not perform because management cannot identify their best roles.
Management is, therefore, necessary because of the different backgrounds, class, skills and beliefs of employees. It is the function of management to conceive productive ideas, plan, forecast, organise, command, coordinate, monitor and control employees for profitable operations of organisations. The performance of any organisation depends on the ability of management to organise the workers and not on the individual abilities of workers.