Preview of Episode 2: General and Industrial Management (H. Fayol, 1949)

by Ralph Soule

You may well be surprised to learn that long before Deming wrote his 14 points, Henri Fayol (1841–1925) identified 14 Principles of Management. There are many similarities between the two lists. Like Deming, Fayol’s interest was improving management.

Fayol was a successful turnaround specialist of his day. When he became the Director of Commentry-Fourchambault in 1888, the company was in serious financial peril. However, thanks to the application of his ideas and the help of people he had previously trained, the company experienced a dramatic reversal of fortune. Listen to E2S: Episode 2 Supplement (released 27 Oct 2015) to find out more!

Fayol synthesized his theories of management in organizations from his personal experience. He believed it was possible to improve efficiency in organizations through improved managerial practices, but he was at a loss as to why such practices were not taught in formal educational establishments. Lack of management theory was identified as a culprit so, in order to rectify this, Fayol outlined a theory of general management in his book General and Industrial Management (1949), first published in French in 1916. 

In Episode 2 (released 3 Nov 2015), we will discuss Fayol’s theories and a flexible approach to management that he claimed could be applied to any circumstance. Like F. W. Taylor, Fayol’s 14 Principles are now considered to be common sense, but only because they are part of common practice that he helped establish. At the time Fayol wrote, they were revolutionary concepts for organizational management (because management was dominated by various engineers and associated mechanistic assumptions about work and production).

While you are waiting for Episode 2, why not take the time to familiarize yourself with Fayol’s ideas? The links below offer several very accessible sources for doing so. Alternatively, listen to E2S: Supplement to Episode 2 (released 27 Oct 2015) for a summary of the reading. You can then listen to us hold forth on what we think about Fayol’s theories and follow along!

Links for Further Reading

Chapter IV, (subject reading for Episode 2) of General and Industrial Management (Fayol, 1949)

A summary of Fayol’s 14 principles and 5 elements of management. The webpage also compares and contrasts Fayol and F. W. Taylor, just as we might in the podcast.

Many other links can be found by searching with the term “Fayol's administrative theory” in Google or other search engine of your preference!