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Fayol or Mintzberg?

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jayrob93
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Henry Amm

Fayol or Mintzberg – Who is right?
Date: 11/12/2011 Student Number: 110369257 Version 1.0

The task: Henri Fayol presented his analysis of the management function in 1916 and it has largely been superseded by the more descriptive approaches of what managers actually do, such that favored by Henry Mintzberg. However, it could be argued that the image portrayed by Fayol is superior to that of Mintzberg, and the latter’s description is of rather ineffective management! Who do you think is right?

Fayol or Mintzberg – Who is right?

By Henry Amm

Introduction
With his work General and Industrial Management (1949, in French 1916) Henri Fayol was a pioneer on the field of management theory. (Pryor & Taneja, 2010) Many more were to follow, some supporting Fayol’s thoughts and some, i.e. Henry Mintzberg in The Nature of Managerial Work (1973) saying that Fayol’s views are not holding true today. This essay will take a closer look at strengths and weaknesses of both Fayol and Mintzberg and conclude that Fayol’s work still is not only relevant to our contemporary understanding of management but also superior to Mintzberg in terms of its conceptualization and applicability to modern organizations.

Description of Fayol’s work
According to Fayol (1949) all industrial organisations consist of six different groups of activities: technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and management. As he was a manager himself, or in other words an administrator, he devoted his work to the latter activity, management. Fayol identified five key functions or “elements” of managerial work, which is regarded as the classical theory and often referred to as the “management process” (Dessler, 1985, p. 4): (1) Planning and forecasting: examining the future and laying out the actions to be taken (2) Organising: laying out lines of authority and responsibility....

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