Henri Fayol was born in 1841 in a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey. Fayol studied at the mining school in Saint-Étienne and joined a mining company in Commentry as an engineer. By 1888, he was a director of the mine which now employed over 1000 people. It became one of the largest producers of iron and steel in France. Fayol stayed there for 30 years until 1918 by which time he had written down his management experiences in a book called "Administration Industrielle et Générale", the book that would be his lasting legacy. This is an extraordinary little book that offers the first theory of general management and statement of management principles.
Fayol believed management theories could be developed, then taught. His theorising about administration was built on personal observation and experience of what worked well in terms of organisation. His aspiration for an "administrative science" sought a consistent set of principles that all organizations must apply in order to run properly.
Henri Fayol was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management, having proposed that there are five primary functions of management: Planning, Organizing, Commanding, Coordinating and Controlling. Henri Fayol was the first to identify the four functions of management: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling, as known today. He then went on to explain that these functions should be carried out according to 14 principles of management, namely:
1. Specialization of labour. Specializing encourages continuous improvement in skills and the development of improvements in methods.
2. Authority. The right to give orders and the power to exact obedience.
3. Discipline. No slacking, bending of rules. The workers should be obedient and respectful of the organization.
4. Unity of command. Each employee has one and only one boss.
5. Unity of direction. A single mind generates a single plan and all play their part in that plan.
6. Subordination of Individual Interests. When at work, only work things should be pursued or thought about.
7. Remuneration. Employees receive fair payment for services, not what the company can get away with.
8. Centralization. Consolidation of management functions. Decisions are made from the top.
9. Chain of Superiors (line of authority). Formal chain of command running from top to bottom of the organization, like military
10. Order. All materials and personnel have a prescribed place, and they must remain there.
11. Equity. Equality of treatment (but not necessarily identical treatment)
12. Personnel Tenure. Limited turnover of personnel. Lifetime employment for good workers.
13. Initiative. Thinking out a plan and do what it takes to make it happen.
14. Esprit de corps. Harmony, cohesion among personnel. It's a great source of strength in the organisation. Fayol stated that for promoting esprit de corps, the principle of unity of command should be observed and the dangers of divide and rule and the abuse of written communication should be avoided.
Fayol has been described as the father of modern operational management theory. Fayol's ideas had a major effect on how management functions in most established organisations. In many ways, they are the bible of management and the source of the idea that "managers have the right to manage". Whether knowingly or not, anyone who manages, even today, is almost certainly managing in accordance with Fayol's ideas and principles