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14 Principles of Management by Henri Foyal

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29th Feb, 2024
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14 Principles of Management by Henri Foyal

guiding a team or planning strategy. This shift is often a given today, but in the 19th century, most companies promoted the best technicians. However, Henri Fayol recognized that the skills that made them good at their jobs didn’t necessarily make them good managers. 

Fayol recognized that while technical skills are undoubtedly important, they do not necessarily translate into effective managerial abilities. By emphasizing the importance of principles of management over technical expertise, he advocated for a more holistic approach to talent management and organizational leadership. This recognition, in my opinion, paved the way for a shift in organizational practices, where individuals are evaluated and promoted based on their leadership potential, interpersonal skills, and ability to drive organizational success, rather than solely on their technical proficiency. 

In my blog post, we will delve into each of the 14 principles of management by Henri Fayol, exploring their significance and application in modern management practices.  

Brief History About Henri Fayol 

Born in 1841 near Constantinople (now Istanbul), Henri Fayol wasn’t initially destined for management greatness. His father, an engineer, sparked his initial interest in mining, leading him to study and graduate from France’s prestigious mining school. 

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His career began in 1860 at the Commentry-Fourchambault-Decazeville Mining Company, starting as an engineer. Over the next 30 years, he steadily rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the managing director in 1888. It was during this period that Fayol’s keen observations and experiences led him to develop his 14 principles of management, considered groundbreaking at the time. Unlike other prominent management thinkers of the era who focused on scientific methods and efficiency, Fayol emphasized the importance of project management principles and the human aspect of organizations. 

Henry Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management 

In the early 20th century, French industrialist Henri Fayol developed 14 principles of management based on his experience and observations. These principles, though formulated over a century ago, remain surprisingly relevant and applicable in today’s business world. Let’s delve into each principle and explore its modern-day significance: 

  1. Division of Work:

Assigning work based on employees’ skills, experience, and knowledge is crucial for optimizing organizational performance. This approach ensures that each employee is placed in a role that aligns with their strengths, allowing them to perform at their best and contribute effectively to the organization’s goals. MBA online courses can also play a role in this process by providing employees with opportunities to further develop their skills and expertise. 

Implementing this approach effectively requires considering change management principles to facilitate smooth transitions. By matching the right person with the right job, organizations can foster specialization, where employees become experts in their respective roles. This specialization leads to increased efficiency, higher productivity, and improved quality of work output. Employees are more likely to excel and innovate when they are engaged in tasks that leverage their skills and expertise. 

  1. Authority and Responsibility:

Maintaining a balance between authority and responsibility is crucial for effective organizational management. When authority and responsibility are appropriately aligned, it ensures that employees have the necessary autonomy and resources to fulfill their duties effectively while also being held accountable for their actions. There should be a clear balance between the authority to give orders and the responsibility to carry them out. 

When authority exceeds responsibility, there is a risk of misuse or abuse of power. Employees may overstep their bounds, make unilateral decisions without proper oversight, or act in a manner that is not in the best interests of the organization. This can lead to inefficiency, conflicts, and erosion of trust within the organization. 

  1. Discipline:

Discipline in an organization is essential for maintaining order, consistency, and harmony among employees. It involves adhering to the guidelines, rules, and procedures set forth by the organization and obeying the directives of superiors. 

When employees demonstrate discipline by following established protocols and guidelines, it helps to minimize conflicts within the organization. Consistent adherence to rules and regulations ensures that everyone operates within the same framework, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings, disputes, or breaches of conduct.  

  1. Unity of Command:

Adhering to the principle of unity of command is essential for maintaining clarity, accountability, and efficiency within an organization. This principle dictates that each worker or subordinate should receive orders and instructions from only one superior at a time. 

By following this principle, subordinates have a clear line of authority and accountability, reducing the likelihood of confusion or conflicting directives. When employees report to a single superior, they know precisely who to turn to for guidance, support, and feedback. This clarity helps to streamline communication channels and decision-making processes, minimizing delays and misunderstandings.  

  1. Unity of Direction:

The principle of unity of direction emphasizes the importance of having a single, cohesive plan and direction for a group with common objectives. Under this principle, there should be one overall leader responsible for setting the course and guiding the group towards its collective goals. 

By ensuring that all members of the group are aligned with a unified vision and plan, unity of direction promotes coordination, collaboration, and synergy among team members. When everyone is working towards the same objectives under the guidance of a single leader, it fosters a sense of purpose, cohesion, and shared commitment within the group. 

  1. Subordination of Individual Interest to General Interest:

Individual aspirations should not hinder the organization’s overall objectives. This principle is the subordination of individual interests to the general interest of the organization. This principle underscores the importance of prioritizing the collective goals and objectives of the organization over individual interests. Earning a Global MBA from Deakin Business School can further reinforce this principle by providing professionals with a broader perspective on organizational dynamics and strategic decision-making. 

When individual interests are subordinated to the organizational interest, it ensures that employees prioritize the needs of the organization above their own personal agendas. This fosters a sense of commitment, loyalty, and dedication among employees, as they understand that their efforts contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the organization. 

  1. Remuneration:

Remuneration refers to the compensation, whether monetary or non-monetary, that employees receive for their contributions to the organization. The principle of remuneration highlights the importance of rewarding employees based on factors such as their level of responsibility, skills, and knowledge, rather than solely on external factors like the cost of living or financial condition. Compensation should be fair, motivating, and aligned with employee performance and contribution. 

By aligning remuneration with responsibility, skills, and knowledge, organizations can ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their contributions and are motivated to perform at their best. Employees who are compensated in accordance with their level of responsibility and expertise are more likely to feel valued and motivated to excel in their roles.  

  1. Centralization:

Centralization and decentralization are two approaches to distributing decision-making power within an organization, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the nature and size of the organization. 

Centralization involves retaining decision-making authority at the top levels of management, typically within a small group of senior executives or a single individual. This approach enables quick decision-making, ensures consistency in policies and procedures, and maintains tighter control over organizational activities. It is often seen in smaller organizations or those with highly standardized operations. 

However, decentralization involves delegating decision-making authority to lower levels of management or individual departments or units within the organization. This approach empowers employees, encourages innovation and creativity, and allows for quicker responses to local needs and opportunities. Decentralization is more common in larger organizations with diverse operations or those that operate in dynamic environments. 

  1. Scalar Chain:

The scalar chain represents the formal line of authority within an organization, where communication flows vertically from the top level of management to the bottom level. By adhering to the scalar chain principle, organizations can promote effective communication, streamline decision-making processes, and maintain accountability and transparency in their operations. It provides a framework for a clear and structured communication flow, enabling employees to collaborate, coordinate, and exchange information efficiently, ultimately contributing to the organization’s effectiveness and success. 

The scalar chain may not always be practical, particularly in emergency situations where immediate action is required. To address this challenge, Fayol introduced the concept of the “gang plank,” which allows for lateral communication among employees at the same level of the hierarchy. This enables employees to communicate directly with their peers in situations where following the scalar chain may lead to delays or inefficiencies. 

  1. Order:

The principle of order, as delineated by Fayol, emphasizes the systematic arrangement of organizational resources to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in operations. Fayol identified two main aspects of order: material order and social order. 

Material order involves organizing things like supplies, machines, tools, and buildings in a way that makes sense. When these things are arranged properly, it helps to avoid wasting them and makes it easier to find and use them when necessary. This makes the work process smoother and more efficient. 

On the other hand, social order involves placing the right individuals in the right positions, based on their skills, capabilities, and qualifications, and ensuring that they are effectively deployed to fulfill organizational objectives. 

  1. Equity:

The principle of equity is all about treating employees fairly and justly in the organization. When employees feel that they are being treated with kindness and fairness, it fosters a sense of responsibility and loyalty among them. Completing the Advanced General Management Program from IMT Ghaziabad can further reinforce this principle by equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills to promote fairness and equity in the workplace. This, in turn, leads to increased efficiency and productivity in the organization. 

  1. Stability of Tenure:

This principle focuses on ensuring job security and stability for employees within the organization. Managers should strive to provide a sense of stability, allowing employees to fully utilize their skills and potential. Frequent transfers or job changes can disrupt employees’ mental well-being and lead to high turnover rates. By prioritizing job security and minimizing unnecessary transfers, managers can promote employee satisfaction and long-term performance. Organizations should strive to create a stable and supportive work environment that encourages retention. 

  1. Initiative:

Under this principle, subordinate plans are given importance in the organization. Managers should empower their subordinates by allowing them the freedom to develop their plans for carrying out work and solving problems. However, managers should also provide timely supervision to ensure that subordinates are working effectively and efficiently. This balance of autonomy and supervision fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among employees, leading to improved performance and innovation.  

  1. Esprit de Corps:

The principle of Esprit De Corps highlights the importance of fostering team spirit and unity within an organization. It underscores the idea that collective effort and collaboration among employees lead to greater strength and success. Completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from BIMTECH can further reinforce this principle by equipping professionals with the skills to cultivate teamwork and camaraderie among team members. 

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At its core, Esprit De Corps emphasizes the significance of harmony, mutual understanding, and camaraderie among workers. When employees work together cohesively as a team, they can achieve more significant results than if they were working individually. This principle recognizes that effective teamwork relies on positive relationships, trust, and shared goals among team members. 

What is the Importance of the Principles of Management? 

The principles of management by Henry Fayol, despite their age, remain remarkably relevant in today’s business landscape. Here’s why they continue to hold value: 

  • Foundation for Effective Management: These principles provide a solid framework for efficient operations and achieving organizational goals. Covering areas like division of work, leadership, communication, and motivation, they offer a comprehensive approach to addressing complex management challenges. 
  • Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity: Principles such as specialization and clear role definition help organizations streamline processes, minimize waste, and maximize output. This translates to improved performance and a competitive advantage in the market. 
  • Positive Work Environment: Principles promoting fair compensation, equity, and employee initiative foster a culture of respect, value, and ownership among employees. This results in higher morale, engagement, and better organizational outcomes. 
  • Adaptability and Evolution: While some principles may require interpretation in specific contexts, their core concepts remain relevant. Modern managers can adapt these principles to fit their industries, organizational cultures, and unique situations, ensuring their ongoing applicability. 
  • Continuous Improvement: Studying and applying these principles encourages critical thinking, self-reflection, and a constant evaluation of practices. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement, essential for organizations to thrive in a dynamic business environment. 

Are the Principles of Management Still Relevant Today? 

The principles of management remain highly relevant in today’s business world. While they may have been formulated decades ago, their core concepts and guiding principles continue to provide valuable insights and frameworks for effective leadership and organizational management. Here’s why they are still pertinent: 

  • Timeless Concepts: Many of the fundamental principles, such as division of work, unity of command, and scalar chain, address universal aspects of organizational management that remain constant over time. 
  • Adaptability: Although the principles were formulated in a different era, they are adaptable to modern organizational contexts. Managers can interpret and apply them to fit contemporary challenges and dynamic business environments. 
  • Comprehensive Framework: The principles offer a comprehensive framework covering various aspects of management, including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. This holistic approach remains essential for addressing complex management issues. 
  • Foundation for Learning: Studying the principles of management provides a foundational understanding of key management concepts and theories. This knowledge is invaluable for aspiring managers and leaders, helping them navigate diverse organizational settings and challenges. 
  • Continued Application: Many successful organizations still adhere to these principles in their management practices. They serve as guiding principles for decision-making, strategy formulation, and organizational development. 


To summarize, I believe Henri Fayol’s management principles offer timeless guidance for effective organizational management. They encompass planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling, providing a comprehensive framework for navigating modern business challenges. Fayol’s emphasis on clear objectives, structured organization, personnel development, leadership qualities, and performance monitoring resonates in today’s dynamic work environments. His 14 principles, including unity of command and equity, highlight fundamental concepts crucial for fostering cohesion and fairness within organizations. In essence, Fayol’s principles serve as a foundational roadmap for managers, offering valuable insights into achieving efficiency, productivity, and success in today’s ever-evolving business landscape. 


spandita hati

Blog Author

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the 5 core principles of management?

The five core principles of management, often referred to as the functions of management, are planning, organizing, staffing, directing (or leading), and controlling. These principles provide a framework for managers to effectively manage organizational resources, and activities, and achieve organizational goals.

2What is Fayol's principle of order with examples?

Fayol's principle of order emphasizes the systematic arrangement of organizational resources to promote efficiency and effectiveness. An example of this principle in action is the implementation of clear workflows and procedures within an organization. By establishing structured processes and guidelines, organizations can minimize waste, reduce inefficiencies, and ensure smooth operations.

3Why is Henry Fayol called the father of management?

Henry Fayol is often referred to as the father of management due to his significant contributions to the field of management theory and practice. His work, particularly his 14 principles of management and his administrative management theory, laid the foundation for modern management practices. Fayol's emphasis on managerial functions, organizational structure, and principles of administration has had a lasting impact on how organizations are managed and operated, earning him the title of the father of management.

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