Henri Fayol's Principles of Management

Early Management Theory

Henri Fayol's 14 Principles of Management

Fayol's "14 principles" were first published in 1914, but are still relevant to today's managers.

© iStockphoto/gehringj

Today's managers have access to an amazing array of resources which they can use to improve their skills. But what about those managers who were leading the way forward 100 years ago?

Managers in the early 1900s had very few external resources to draw upon to guide and develop their management practice. But thanks to early theorists like Henri Fayol (1841-1925), managers began to get the tools they needed to lead and manage more effectively. Fayol, and others like him, are responsible for building the foundations of modern management theory.


Henri Fayol was born in Istanbul in 1841. When he was 19, he began working as an engineer at a large mining company in France. He eventually became the director, at a time when the mining company employed more than 1,000 people.

Through the years, Fayol began to develop what he considered to be the 14 most important principles of management. Essentially, these explained how managers should organize and interact with staff.

In 1916, two years before he stepped down as director, he published his "14 Principles of Management" in the book "Administration Industrielle et Générale." Fayol also created a list of the six primary functions of management, which go hand in hand with the Principles.

Fayol's "14 Principles" was one of the earliest theories of management to be created, and remains one of the most comprehensive. He's considered to be among the most influential contributors to the modern concept of management, even though people don't refer to "The 14 Principles" often today.

The theory falls under the Administrative Management school of thought (as opposed to the Scientific Management school, led by Fredrick Taylor).

Fayol's 14 Principles of Management

Fayol's principles are listed below:

  1. Division of Work – When employees are specialized, output can increase because they become increasingly skilled and efficient.
  2. Authority – Managers must have the authority to give orders, but they must also keep in mind that with authority comes responsibility.
  3. Discipline – Discipline must be upheld in organizations, but methods for doing so can vary.
  4. Unity of Command – Employees should have only one direct supervisor.
  5. Unity of Direction – Teams with the same objective should be working under the direction of one manager, using one plan. This will ensure that action is properly coordinated.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interest – The interests of one employee should not be allowed to become more important than those of the group. This includes managers.
  7. Remuneration – Employee satisfaction depends on fair remuneration for everyone. This includes financial and non-financial compensation.
  8. Centralization – This principle refers to how close employees are to the decision-making process. It is important to aim for an appropriate balance.
  9. Scalar Chain – Employees should be aware of where they stand in the organization's hierarchy, or chain of command.
  10. Order – The workplace facilities must be clean, tidy and safe for employees. Everything should have its place.
  11. Equity – Managers should be fair to staff at all times, both maintaining discipline as necessary and acting with kindness where appropriate.
  12. Stability of Tenure of Personnel – Managers should strive to minimize employee turnover. Personnel planning should be a priority.
  13. Initiative – Employees should be given the necessary level of freedom to create and carry out plans.
  14. Esprit de Corps – Organizations should strive to promote team spirit and unity.

Fayol's Six Functions of Management

Fayol's six primary functions of management, which go hand in hand with the Principles, are as follows:

  1. Forecasting.
  2. Planning.
  3. Organizing.
  4. Commanding.
  5. Coordinating.
  6. Controlling.

Key Points

Henri Fayol's "14 Principles of Management" have been a significant influence on modern management theory. His practical list of principles helped early 20th century managers learn how to organize and interact with their employees in a productive way.

Although the 14 Principles aren't widely used today, they can still offer guidance for today's managers. Many of the principles are now considered to be common sense, but at the time they were revolutionary concepts for organizational management.

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Comments (10)
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    What are the essential departments you are referring to, Princess?

    Mind Tools Team
  • Princess wrote Over a month ago
    are these points the same as essential departments according to fayol or?
  • Mohamed wrote Over a month ago
    well explained,thank you!
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    You're welcome, Siman.

    Mind Tools Team
  • Siman wrote Over a month ago
    Thank you for enriching me with the principles, God bless you
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Thanks for letting us know Hninn Shwe. We certainly hope to see you as a member at some point.

    Yolandé (MT Team)
  • Hninn Shwe wrote Over a month ago
    very good. Thanks a lot. I could learn a lot from this site.
  • Dianna wrote Over a month ago
    Glad the article was timely and relevant for you. You'll have to let us know how things go and whether using these principles makes a difference. Another article you might enjoy too is the one on Hoshin Planning System: http://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/article/newSTR_77.php. It's about developing a system that helps people work toward a common goal. It might be something this department can use to work more efficiently in the presence of too many bosses or competing priorities.

    Keep us posted!

  • RalphL wrote Over a month ago
    Hello All,

    I find this Foyal's principles of management very interesting and I thinking this same principles can be helpful for some departments in our organization.

    One office in our organization seems to be going through tought times and its boiling onto others offices. I think the staff there are lacking direction and dealing with too may bosses.

    Great Reading... Thanks
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Even though the 14 principles aren't widely used any more, principles such as the following it so valuable:
    Order – The workplace facilities must be clean, tidy and safe for employees. Everything should have its place.ely used today, principles such as
    I firmly believe that in a workplace where people are taught to take pride in the physical environment, their work is of a higher standard.

    Unity of Command – Employees should have only one direct supervisor.
    I have personally experienced work places where there are too many 'bosses' and it only serves to confuse employees and convey mixed messages. As the old saying goes: "Too many cooks spoil the broth..."

    Kind regards

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