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Henry Fayol: the founder of Management studies

Wednesday,20 July 2022 12:22 AM IST

Anupama Nair

To study the Principles of Management we need to understand the role of Henry Fayol, who is called as ‘father of modern management theory’ as he gave a new insight of the concept of management. He introduced a general theory that can be applied to all levels of management and in each and every department of an organization. The Fayol theory is practiced today, by the managers to organize and regulate the internal activities of an organization to achieve He concentrated on accomplishing managerial efficiency.

Who is Henry Fayol? Henry Fayol  was born on 29 July 1841 in a suburb of Constantinople (Istanbul). His father, who was a military engineer, was appointed as a Superintendent of Works to build Galata Bridge, across the Golden Horn. After the work was complete, the family returned to France in 1847. In 1860, he graduated from the mining academy called "École Nationale Supérieure des Mines" in Saint-Étienne.

He started working in a mining company called "Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambault-Decazeville" in a place called Commentry. He was hired by Stéphane Mony, who had decided to hire the best engineers from the Saint-Étienne Mining School, and Fayol joined the firm as an engineer and trainee manager. Mony made Fayol his protégé, and Fayol succeeded him as manager of the Commentry mine and eventually became the Managing Director of Commentry-Fourchambault and Decazeville. What a great achievement.

During his tenor as a director, he made changes to improve the working situation in the mines, such as allowing employees to work in teams, and also by changing the division of labor. Later, due to unforeseen circumstances, the company was at the verge of bankruptcy. Fayol then became famous as he contributed a lot in turning around the fortune of the company. As a result, when he retired in 1918, the company became financially strong and one of the largest industrial combines in Europe.

He developed his concept of administration, based largely on his own management experience in turning the fortune of the Company. In 1916 he promoted his ideas in “Administration Industrielle et Générale”, which was at the same time as Frederick Winslow Taylor, who published his “Principles of Scientific Management”. After his retirement he became the Director of the Centre of Administrative Studies in Paris.

Fayol became famous in 1949 when the English translation  of "Administration industrielle et générale" was published. The English book was called the “General and industrial administration". His theory of administration and management came to be called as Fayolism.

Fayol passed away on 19 November 1925.

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