Henri Fayol

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For the French singer, see Lily Fayol.
Henri Fayol

Henri Fayol (Istanbul, 29 July 1841 – Paris, 19 November 1925) was a French mining engineer and director of mines who developed a general theory of business administration that is often called Fayolism.[1] He and his colleagues developed this theory independently of scientific management but roughly contemporaneously. Like his contemporary, Frederick Winslow Taylor, he is widely acknowledged as a founder of modern management methods.


Fayol was born in 1841 in a suburb of Constantinople. His father (an engineer) was in the military at the time and was appointed superintendent of works to build Galata Bridge, which bridged the Golden Horn.[1] The family returned to France in 1847, where Fayol graduated from the mining academy "École Nationale Supérieure des Mines" in Saint-Étienne in 1860.

In 1860 at the age of nineteen Fayol started the mining company named "Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambault-Decazeville" in Commentry as the mining engineer. During his time at the mine, he studied the causes of underground fires, how to prevent them, how to fight them, how to reclaim mining areas that had been burned, and developed a knowledge of the structure of the basin.[2] In 1866 he was promoted to managing director. During his time as director, he made changes to improve the working situations in the mines, such as allowing employees to work in teams, and changing the division of labor.[2] Later, more mines were added to his duties.

Eventually, the board decided to abandon its iron and steel business and the coal mines. They chose Henri Fayol to oversee this as the new managing director.Upon receiving the position, Fayol presented the board with a plan to restore the firm. The board accepted the proposal.[2] When he retired in 1918, the company was financially strong and one of the largest industrial combines in Europe

Based largely on his own management experience, he developed his concept of administration. In 1916 he published these experience in the book "Administration Industrielle et Générale", at about the same time as Frederick Winslow Taylor published his Principles of Scientific Management


Fayol's work became more generally known with the 1949 publication of General and industrial administration,[3] the English translation[4] of the 1916 article "Administration industrielle et générale". In this work Fayol presented his theory of management, known as Fayolism. Before that Fayol had written several articles on mining engineering, starting in the 1870s, and some preliminary papers on administration.[5]

Mining engineering[edit]

Henri Fayol, ca. 1900

Starting in the 1870s, Fayol wrote a series of articles on mining subjects, such as on the spontaneous heating of coal (1879), the formation of coal beds (1887), the sedimentation of the Commentry, and on plant fossils (1890),

His first articles were published in the French Bulletin de la Société de l'Industrie minérale, and beginning in the early 1880s in the Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences, the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences.


Main article: Fayolism

Fayol's work was one of the first comprehensive statements of a general theory of management.[6] He proposed that there were five primary functions of management and fourteen principles of management[7]

Functions of management[edit]

  1. Forecasting
  2. Planning[8]
  3. Organizing
  4. Leading
  5. Controlling
  6. Staffing

The control function, from the French contrôler, is used in the sense that a manager must receive feedback about a process in order to make necessary adjustments and must analyse the deviations. Lately scholars of management combined the commanding and coordinating function into one leading function.

Principles of management[edit]

  1. Division of work - The division of work is the course of tasks assigned to, and completed by, a group of workers in order to increase efficiency. Division of work, which is also known as division of labour, is the breaking down of a job so as to have a number of different tasks that make up the whole. This means that for every one job, there can be any number of processes that must occur for the job to be complete.
  2. Authority and Responsibility - Authority is the right to give orders and obtain obedience, and responsibility is the corollary of authority.
  3. Discipline - Employees must obey and respect the rules that govern the organization. Good discipline is the result of effective leadership.
  4. Unity of command - Every employee should receive orders from only one superior.
  5. Unity of direction - Each group of organizational activities that have the same objective should be directed by one manager using one plan for achievement of one common goal.
  6. Subordination - The interests of any one employee or group of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole.
  7. Remuneration - Workers must be paid a fair wage for their services.
  8. Centralization - Centralization refers to the degree to which subordinates are involved in decision making.
  9. Scalar chain - The line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks represents the scalar chain. Communications should follow this chain.
  10. Order - this principle is concerned with systematic arrangement of men, machine, material etc. there should be a specific place for every employee in an organization
  11. Equity - Managers should be kind and fair to their subordinates.
  12. Stability of tenure of personnel - High employee turnover is inefficient. Management should provide orderly personnel planning and ensure that replacements are available to fill vacancies.
  13. Initiative - Employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort.
  14. Esprit de corps - Promoting team spirit will build harmony and unity within the organization.

While Fayol came up with his theories almost a century ago, many of his principles are still represented in contemporary management theories.[9] Many of today’s management texts including Richard L. Daft's[10] have reduced the six functions to five: (1) planning; (2) organizing; (3) leading; (4) controlling (5) forecasting. Daft's text is organized around Fayol's five functions.


Books, translated
  • 1930. Industrial and General Administration. Translated by J.A. Coubrough, London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons.
  • 1949. General and Industrial Management. Translated by C. Storrs, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, London.
Articles, translated, a selection


  1. ^ a b Morgen Witzel (2003). Fifty key figures in management. Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-36977-0, p.96.
  2. ^ a b c Wren, D.A. (2001). "Henri Fayol as a strategist: a nineteenth century corporate turnaround". Management Decision. 
  3. ^ Daniel A. Wren, Arthur G. Bedeian, John D. Breeze, (2002) "The foundations of Henri Fayol’s administrative theory", Management Decision, Vol. 40 Iss: 9, pp.906 - 918 state: It was not until the Storr’s translation that Fayol’s (1949) Administration Industrielle et Générale reached a wider audience, especially in the USA and established Fayol as a major authority on management.
  4. ^ The first English translation by J.A. Coubrough in 1930 didn't have that much impact. The first translation in German was published around the same time in 1929.
  5. ^ Derek Salman Pugh, David John Hickson (2007) Great Writers on Organizations: The Third Omnibus Edition, p.144
  6. ^ Narayanan, Veekay K; Nath, Raghu (1993), Organization theory : a strategic approach, Irwin, p. 29, ISBN 978-0-256-08778-9 
  7. ^ Fayol, Henri (1917), Administration industrielle et générale; prévoyance, organisation, commandement, coordination, controle (in French), Paris, H. Dunod et E. Pinat, OCLC 40224931 
  8. ^ Kinicki, A., & Williams, B. (2013). Management: A practical introduction (Seventh ed., p. 9, 47). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
  9. ^ Pryor, J.L.; Guthrie, C. (2010). "The private life of Henri Fayol and his motivation to build a management science". Journal of Management History. 
  10. ^ Daft, Richard L (1983), Organization theory and design, The West series in management., West Pub. Co., cop, ISBN 978-0-314-69645-8 

External links[edit]