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14 Principles Of Management Essay

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Focus on management history
Fayol's 14 principles of management then and now:
a framework for managing today's organizations
Carl A. Rodrigues
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA

Industrial manufacturing began to play an
increasingly important role in the US
economy more than 100 years ago. Since
then, many writers have developed
propositions about what managers of
Early last century, for industrially- organizations must do to be able to perform developing economies, Fayol
their managerial duties more effectively. One
offered 14 principles of
of the most well-known and quoted early
management aimed to help
managers ascertain what to do to writers is the late French industrialist Fayol manage more effectively.
(1949). One of his key contributions was the
Currently, service-based and high- 14 principles of management. These tech industries are becoming
principles provided and continue to provide a
dominant in some economies,
general management perspective for
such as the United States. Many
practicing managers and an instructional
organizations in these industries
interpret the principles quite
tool for academicians teaching in the field of
differently from the way they were
management. But, since Fayol's era, many of
interpreted in Fayol's time. The
the US's manufacturing industries have been
differences and the cultural
transferred to sites in other countries, and
challenges managers face in
implementing this new framework the vast majority of America's workforce is are presented.
now employed in a service capacity.
Thus, the US has entered into what many
writers refer to as ``the postindustrial
society.'' Basically, this society is
characterized by rapid growth of its service
sector, by enormous growth in the knowledge
industry (Morley, 1974), by high levels of
affluence, education, and leisure, by
instability and uncertainty, by change
becoming a way of life, and by the
requirement for new organizational, political
and cultural values (Trist, 1970). In this
society, traditional organizational forms
remain; traditional organizational politics
diminish, however (Schick, 1971). The
An earlier version of this
postindustrial society demands that
paper, same title, was
organizational decision making be more
presented at the Academy of frequent and faster and it requires Management Annual
``consideration of more variables and more
Meeting, History Division,
complex relationships among these
San Diego, CA, August
variables'' (Huber, 1984, p. 933). In essence,
decision making becomes a great deal more
complex than it was in the past (Simon, 1973).
Hence, it is likely that today effective
managers in many organizations, especially

Organizational philosophy,
Industrial performance,
Management theory

Management Decision
39/10 [2001] 880±889

# MCB University Press
[ISSN 0025-1747]

[ 880 ]

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

in large service-based and high-tech
organizations, interpret the 14 principles of
management quite differently from the way
they were interpreted earlier in the century.
The objective of this paper is therefore, based
on existing literature, to compare the
interpretation of the meaning of the 14
principles then and now, and to package the
existing ideas into a contemporary
management framework. Table I outlines the
comparison of the interpretation. Another
objective is to identify some of the barriers,
such as corporate culture and individual
motivations, managers encounter in
implementing the contemporary framework.

The 14 principles of management
then and now
Principle 1. Division of work

This principle proposes that work can be
performed more efficiently and more
productively if it is divided into smaller
elements and assigning specific elements to
specific workers. Thus, the dominant
thought in designing jobs then was
specialization, each employee performing a
specific task, as opposed to generalization,
each employee performing multiple tasks. It
should be noted, however, that Fayol pointed
out that division of work has limitations
which should not be exceeded.


In today's environment, where change takes
place very rapidly, application of
specialization in designing workers' jobs in
organizations in the US is not as efficient and
productive as it was then. Then, US
organizations existed in a relatively stable
environment, and application of
specialization in job design, at least in an
economic sense, was a viable approach to
management. Today, many US organizations
find themselves in a situation where robots
have taken over a variety of the specialized

Carl A. Rodrigues
Fayol's 14 principles of
management then and now:
a framework for managing
today's organizations
Management Decision
39/10 [2001] 880±889

Table I
The 14 principles of management: then and now



Specialization in workers' job design
Managers are empowered
Formalized controls
Subordinates report to only one boss
Functions have only one plan and one boss
Employees are committed to the organization



Generalization in workers' job design
Employees are empowered
Informal, peer-pressure controls
Subordinates report to multiple bosses
Functions have multiple plans and bosses
Organization is commited to employees and vice
Reasonable pay reward system
Performance-based reward system
``Trickle-down'' decision making
Task relevant, ad hoc decison making
Hierarchical, formalized communication structure Less-formalized, flatter communication structure Internal information system for control purposes Internal information system for coordination purposes

Commitment obtained through kindness
Commitment obtained through a ``sense of
Train employees and encourage them to remain On-going employee training and development Managers conceive and implement new ideas
Workers conceive and implement new ideas
Maintaining high morale among workers is
Maintaining high morale among workers is not as

jobs, where a number of the jobs requiring
low-skilled labor have been transferred to
other countries, and where employees want
more challenging and interesting work
(McGregor, 1960; Harpaz, 1990).
Also, many US organizations now find
themselves in situations where they must
downsize their staff as a means of staying
competitive (see Cascio, 1993; O'Neill and
Lenn, 1995; Bruton et al., 1996). With fewer
workers available to perform the specialized
tasks, these organizations rely on workers
performing numerous tasks (see Carson,
1992; Cunningham and Eberle, 1990).
Furthermore, as it has been well publicized,
managers of organizations in Japan have
demonstrated that greater efficiency and
productivity can be attained by rejecting the
notion of employees performing a single
specialized task and adhering to the notion of
employees performing multiple functions
(generalization). Therefore:
P1. Today, US organizations rely more
heavily on the principle of
generalization in designing workers'
jobs than in the past.

Principle 2. Authority and responsibility

Managers require formal and/or informal
authority to carry out their managerial
responsibilities ± they require the authority,
commensurate with responsibility, to give
orders so that tasks will be accomplished.
And the organization should implement
safeguards against managers' abuse of


Today's US organizations emphasize less the
practice of the boss with the power to
command subordinates and more the
practice of employee participation (Cotton
et al., 1988; Shashkin, 1984; Cole, 1990; Collard
and Sivyer, 1990; Semler, 1989) and employee
and group empowerment, that is, selfmanaged work teams with decisional autonomy and control of activities
(Blackburn and Rosen, 1993; Dean and
Susman; 1989; MacKenzie, 1991; Manz and
Sims, 1987; Magjuka, 1991/1992; Mills, 1983).
As Blackburn and Rosen's (1993) research
revealed, Baldrige Award winning
companies apply participative management
and empower groups. And the manager acts
more as a coordinator (Dumaine, 1991, p. 42),
as an ``orchestra leader'' (MacKinzie, 1991,
p. 236), and less as a controller. Hence:
P2. Today, US organizations rely more
heavily on employee participation and
empowerment programs than in the

Principle 3. Discipline

This principle suggests that, along with good
supervisors at all levels, organizations
require a set of (more or less) clearly defined
rules and procedures aimed at attaining good
employee discipline and obedience.


As was the case then, all organizations need
coordination and control (Hage et al., 1971;
Flamholtz, 1979; Jones, 1986; Cavaleri and
Obloj, 1993). Control systems in US
organizations have historically been

[ 881 ]

Carl A. Rodrigues
Fayol's 14 principles of
management then and now:
a framework for managing
today's organizations
Management Decision
39/10 [2001] 880±889

designed under the assumption that workers
and management seek ``primary control''
over their work environment (Weisz et al.,
1984). Primary control results when
employees with individualistic tendencies
(see Bellah et al., 1987) attempt to shape the
social and behavioral factors surrounding
them, including co-workers and particular
events, with the aim of increasing their
rewards. Thus, many members of the
organization demonstrate behaviors and

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