Henri Fayol was one of the first theorists to define functions of management in
his 1916 book “Administration Industrielle et Generale”. Henri Fayol
identified 5 functions of management, which he labelled: planning, organizing,
commanding, coordinating and controlling. Henri Fayol theorized that these functions
were universal, and that every manager performed these functions in their daily
Henri Fayol also identified 14 general principles of management and organizing,
which can be read about in the article: What
are Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management? In part, these
14 principles give normative guidance on how managers might master and execute
their 5 managerial functions effectively.
Below, a short description of the five functions
Managers must plan for future conditions, develop strategic objectives and secure
the achievement of future goals. Therefore, managers must evaluate future contingencies
affecting the organization, and shape the future operational and strategic landscape
of the company.
Managers must organize the workforce in an efficient manner and structure and
align the activities of the organization. Managers must also train and recruit
the right people for the job, and always secure a sufficiently skilled and educated
Managers must supervise subordinates in their daily work, and inspire them to
achieve company goals. Likewise it is the responsibility of managers to communicate
company goals and policies to subordinates. The commanding of subordinates should
always be consistent with company policies, and every manager should treat subordinates
in line with the standards of the company.
Managers must harmonize the procedures and activities performed by the company,
meaning that every activity of each organizational unit should complement and
enrich the work of another.
Managers must control that company activities are in line with general company
policies and objectives. It is also the responsibility of the manager to observe
and report deviations from plans and objectives, and to make initiatives to
correct potential deviations.
The five functions theory of Henri Fayol is a very normative and functional
view on management, and the theory might not fully convey the managerial complexities
faced by managers in their daily work. As such, Henry Fayol’s five functions
focus very little on informal relationships between managers and subordinates,
and do not touch very much upon how to develop and maintain a motivated workforce.
The 5 functions put forward by Henri Fayol may therefore not completely represent
the total complexity faced by managers, and the normative approach may be too
rigid to illustrate which functions managers need to perform in modern contemporary
companies and organizations. However, the 5 functions presented by Henri Fayol
give a structured overview of several tasks needed to be performed by all managers,
which gives managers an initial overview of which main functions they should
be focusing on in their daily work.
Other theorist such as Frederick
Herzberg and Elton
Mayo focused more of their attention to trying to explain how people
are motivated, and on which motivational factors can secure a satisfied and