The Administrative Principles

Fayol's 14 Principles of Administrative Management

The classical school of management was primarily concerned with developing such a theory to improve management effectiveness in organizations. One major subfield within the classic perspective is known as the administrative principles approach.

Whereas scientific managementOpens in new window focuses on the productivity of the individual worker, the administrative principles approach considers the total organization— the design and functioning of the organization as a whole.

A major contributor to this approach was Henri Fayol (1841 – 1925)Opens in new window, a French mining engineer who worked his way up to become head of a large mining group known as ComambaultOpens in new window.

Pieces of Comambault survive today as part of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company. In his later years, Fayol wrote down his concepts on administration, based largely on his own management experiences. He saw the job of the manager as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating activities, and controlling performance.

Fayol wrote down his concepts of administration, based largely on his own management experience. In his most significant work, General and Industrial Management, Fayol discussed 14 general principles of management, several of which are part of management philosophy today. Fayol’s 14 principles include:

  1.    Division of Labor

The more people specialize, the more efficiently they can perform their work. This principle is epitomized by the modern assembly line.

  1.    Authority

Managers must give orders so that they can get things done.

Although their formal authority gives them the right to command, managers will not always compel obedience unless they have personal authority (such as relevant expertise) as well.

  1.    Discipline

Members in an organization need to respect the rules and agreements that govern the organization. To Fayol, discipline results from good leadership at all levels of the organization, fair agreements (such as provisions for rewarding superior performance), and judiciously enforced penalties for infractions.

  1.    Unity of Command

Each employee must receive instructions from only one person. Fayol believed that when an employee reported to more than one manager, conflicts in instructions and confusion of authority would ensue.

  1.    Unity of Direction

Those operations within the organization that have the same objective should be directed by only one manager using one plan. For example, the personnel department in a company should not have two directors, each with a different hiring policy.

  1.    Subordination of Individual Interest to the Common Good

In any undertaking, the interests of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole.

  1.    Remuneration
  2. Compensation for work done should be fair to both employees and employers.

    1.    Centralization

    Decreasing the role of subordinates in decision making is centralization; increasing their role is decentralization. Fayol believed that managers should retain final responsibility but should at the same time give their subordinates enough authority to do their jobs properly. The problem is to find the proper degree of centralization in each case.

  1.    Hierarchy

The line of authority in an organization, often represented today by the neat boxes and lines of the organization chart, runs in order of rank from top management to the lowest level of enterprise.

  1.    Order

Materials and people should be in the right place at the right time. People, in particular, should be in the jobs or positions they are most suited to.

  1.    Equity.

Managers should be both friendly and fair to subordinates.

  1.    Stability of Staff
  2. A high employee turnover rate undermines the efficient functioning of an organization.

    1.    Initiative

    Subordinates should be given the freedom to conceive and carry out their plans, even though some mistakes may result.

    1.    Esprit de Corps

    Promoting team spirit will give the organization a sense of unity. To Fayol, even small factors should help to develop the spirit. He suggested, for example, the use of verbal communications instead of formal, written communication whenever possible (Fayol 1930).

      Research data for this work have been adapted from the manual:
    1. Fundamentals of Management ... By Danny Samson, Richard L Daft, Timothy Donnet.