There are many different views on management and not one view would suit all managers and their organisations. In my own opinion, from my research and general knowledge, I believe management is defined as making the best decisions possible to ensure the organisation is run in the most efficient manner reaching their own set targets. If these targets are efficiently reached every time I believe that the management are doing a successful job. For many years different management theorists have attempted to define management and state the way it should be done. Though in actual fact, it seems there’s not one style that would suit all.
Thus, all the theorists have valid points, but only within the business environment that they have studied. For example, Classical Theorist Fayol studied management within his French engineering firm, where there was likely to have been a large amount of autocracy and the employees probably would have been paid by result e. g. piecerate. This is very different from Mintzberg who looked at several different businesses with different kinds of set-up. With two very different types of working environment, therefore two different types of employees, it would have been unlikely that management styles would have been exactly the same.
Like all the management theorists, Henri Fayol believes that his theory is entirely correct, but is this necessarily true? Would Fayol’s scientific view of management still be valid in today’s working environment? His perspective leads us to believe it would. Henri Fayol was one of the first management theorists along with Max Weber and Frederick W Taylor. These three theorists belonged to the Classical School of Management whom saw management as a highly rational activity. All of them have a task focus; however they all have very different approaches.
Henri Fayol lived from 1841 to 1925 and worked as a French mining engineer. His main research and ideas on management came from his main job in 1916 as Administration Industrielle et Generale. From Fayol’s research he came up with the five functions of management, namely, planning, organising, directing, coordinating and controlling. I believe that these are indeed correct and without a doubt all managers to this day will carry out these functions even if subconsciously. Though, I have noticed that Fayol doesn’t mention anything about motivating his workforce.
It appears that his five functions of management are very task orientated as opposed to people orientated. To carry out these functions we must assume that the employees within the organisation are motivated and willing to follow commands and conduct their various tasks. This point is also valid when talking about Taylor, one of the other Classical theorists, as he believes that the employees will carry out every single task they are told to by their manager. So both of these theorists have a very autocratic point of view, with very little group decision-making.
In reality this would irate and discourage workers, consequently losing motivation and morale. In this day and age very few people tolerate being constantly bossed around and obeying orders all the time, even if it’s for money. Though having an autocratic view does have its advantages. For example if the business stumbles across unforeseen circumstances which are causing sales to drop, the management need to take control quickly and put a plan into action. So Fayol’s autocratic style of management would probably work very well at this moment.
Fayol’s five-function perspective on management seems to be very abrupt and vague for such a responsible and often high-powered job. However the verbs he uses in his five points could easily cover a wide range of tasks. A more recent theorist, Henry Mintzberg, studied what a manager actually does instead of what Fayol said they did. Minzberg (1975 Chap. 14) claims Fayol’s theory “tells us little about what managers actually do”. His research shows us that the managers he studied “carried out there own ad-hoc managerial style, as opposed to working religiously to Fayol’s ideas of what managers do”.
So if Mintzberg believes that managers don’t comply with Fayol’s five functions, surely he doesn’t know if Fayol’s points are valid or not when concerning the five functions of management. Fair enough the many managers he studied may not have managed in the same way as Fayol, but we are not informed whether or not these managers were as successful as Fayol. Maybe they were not reaching targets as efficiently as they would have done if they followed Fayol’s definition. From examining Fayol’s research results it is clear that he has devised abstract principles from his own experience within his own organisation.
This means that his views are biased and potentially only viable within his organisation. The problem with defining management is that each manager has their own individual style on managing their own business. A factory manager is unlikely to follow the exact same style of management as a manager of a national insurance company. For example, the advantage Mintzberg has over Fayol is that he actually studied a number of different Managers within different firms, which in some ways makes his research findings somewhat more realistic than Fayol’s. Also we know that as a Classical Theorist Fayol’s research was conducted in 1916.
Since then things have changed, socially and politically. This is what makes me believe that Fayol’s thoughts of people being compliant parts of the firm are linked to the fact that he doesn’t have much to say concerning motivating workers. In this day and age the workforce needs to be motivated ensuring happiness and commitment in their job thus working effectively with maximum productivity. Where as 90 years ago probably the best way of handling things was to ensure that the workforce did whatever you told them to do with very little empowerment involved.
Back then it was likely that a shop floor worker’s main aim was to earn a high enough salary to pay for himself and his family. As opposed to now where the majority of workers don’t just want money, they actually want responsibilities and a status within the organisation as it boosts there self esteem, thus increasing individual productivity. A problem with many of these management theories, including Fayol’s, is that they are researched by one main procedure and this is interpretation. For example, Fayol interpreted how the management worked within his firm and Mintzberg looked at other managers and interpreted what they did.
In my opinion any one can interpret what another person does, so this form of research clearly cannot produce the best results as different people interpret things in different ways. However, this is one of the only ways of measuring a person’s activity hence this is the main source of primary research for many of the theorists. So for this reason it seems difficult to determine the accuracy of such theories like Fayol’s. To conclude, from looking at a large number of management theorists one can see that there doesn’t appear to be one correct theory that would suit all organisations.
Each style of management can work well in different situations. There is nothing to say that any of the theories are wrong but there is nothing to say that any of them are correct. Managers seem to combine a lot of the theorist’s views into one, thus producing the most suitable management style for their organisation. Fayol’s views on the five ‘elements’ of management are definitely not a standard definition of management. His view would not suit all managers’ functions due to different natures of firms and just as importantly the different marketplaces in which they are working in.
His views come across as being very autocratic, idealistic and highly rational, which would suit few businesses in today’s society. In my opinion many managers could use Fayol’s five function theory as a vague outline of a manager’s job but adapt it in their own way to suit their firm. However this could be said about many of the different theorists. Though, I do believe that there is not enough evidence produced to show us that any of these theories would work in exactly the same way throughout many different organisations around the world.