What Were Some of Henri Fayol's Theories Regarding Business Management?

Henri Fayol's theories regarding business administration were based on what he viewed as the common elements of management: forecasting and planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. These common managerial elements, formulated by Fayol while he was head of a French mining company between 1888 and 1918, were also expanded into a set of 14 principles that he believed were necessary for managers to follow to be effective. Fayol's theories of management reflected his belief that efficiency was required at the organizational level, and not only at the level of the task.

Among his 14 principles, Fayol expressed the need for the subordination of individual interests to the greater interests of the organization. He also believed in "esprit de corps," or the fostering of morale and a team spirit throughout the entire organization. Fairness and equity were viewed as an integral part of the way employees were to be treated. Conflicting lines of command were to be avoided and an employee should only receive direction from one manager, rather from several sources, whether legitimate or perceived. A strictly adhered-to and well-defined hierarchical chain of command within a centralized organizational model represented the natural order of an effective and efficient business.

Fayol is considered as one of the fathers of modern management theory and of human relations, or HR, movements. His administrative theories were first published in his 1916 book "General and Industrial Management" as a French-language edition, and later translated into an English publication in 1949.