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Henry Fayol's Functions of Management

“Do Managers Use Henry Fayol’s Management Functions In Business These Days”?

Henry Fayol was one of great management thinkers in 20th Century. He wrote a book as “General and Industrial Management”. This book was the most influential management book of the 20th century. Book describes major functions, activities, objectives and qualities management. Along with this, the book also discusses regarding the principles of management. Henry Fayol used to support management education through he gained several critics as well as several followers who respect and admire him as well (Fayol, 2016).

Under this assessment, the significance of Henry Fayol's functions practiced by managers and leaders will be discussed. Yet these functions were introduced in the 20th century but before starting any task, every manager uses these functions so that the project could be accomplished in an effective manner. Apart from this, assessment will also conclude the significance of management functions introduced by Henry Fayol in contemporary business environment (Chang, 2016).

Henry Fayol identified primarily five functions of management which later on turned into six functions. These functions are:

  • Planning & Forecasting
  • Organising
  • Commanding
  • Co-ordinating
  • Controlling (Laudon & Laudon, 2016).

Planning: This is the foremost function of a manager and it is performed just before initiating a new project. Under this step, all further steps are assumed in relation to the attainment of desired goals. According to Henry Fayol, drawing up an effective plan of action is the toughest and hardest amongst all the five functions of a manager. Under this step, manager should involve every member of the organization in relation to sharing their views so that the most appropriate decision could be taken. Planning should be done with respect to the time so that it could be worthwhile and should be linked and coordinates with further functions (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017). In the planning process, managers are required to develop plans on the basis of available resources with the organization.

Organising: Effective results could only be attained when planning and related functions are well-organised. In relation to this, capital, staff, raw materials and all other resources should be managed in an appropriate manner so that the further actions could be executed in a significant manner. Under this step, organizational structure also plays vital role because division of tasks and functions have a relatively crucial impact on organizational performance. With the increase in number of functions, organization expands from both manners i.e. horizontally as well as vertically. Thus, it is important for a manager to execute organising in an effective manner with the objective of attainment of desired goals and objectives (Schraeder, et. al., 2015).

Significance of Henry Fayol's Functions Practiced by Managers Today

Commanding: In this step, managers and leaders need to give clear orders to its employees and subordinates so that they could know what exactly they are required to do. This would help the managers to get the work done from them as per their requirements. In this context, it is necessary for managers to show confidence over its employees. Managers could perform this duty in an effective manner only when the task distribution is done in fair manner. Apart from this, it is the duty of managers to direct and command the employees so that the work could be done as per the expectations. Motivating teammates and encouraging them towards work is another crucial task for the managers (Stamenova & Levine, 2018).

Coordinating: When all functions of an organization are well managed, then organizational performance could be enhanced. Managers are responsible to develop coordination amongst the teammates as well as amongst the departments. This is the main concept in relation to improving organizational performance as well as productivity (Edward, 2017). In relation to the development of coordination amongst the teammates, managers could organise team building exercises, interactive sessions, etc. Apart from this, managers need to create an effective platform through which employees could easily communicate with each other. With addition to building coordination amongst the organization, it is also necessary for the managers to develop an effective workplace environment so that the employees could feel safe and secure. This will help the organization to attain its desired goals and objectives (Weske, 2012).

Controlling: As this is the last step of management functions but this is not the least one. Under this step, managers could evaluate the performance of above functions and could analyse that everything is going as per the planning process or not. In relation with this, control is implemented in the organization in four-step process:

  • Establish performance standards based on organizational objectives
  • Measure and report on actual performance
  • Compare results with expectations and set up performance standards
  • Take corrective or preventive measures as needed to improve performance (Peaucelle, 2015).

Apart from these five functions of Henry Fayol, the sixth function by him is mostly managerial. It includes activities such as planning, organising, commanding, coordination and controlling. Ultimately, the sixth function as the mixture of overall five functions (Wood & Wood, 2002).

Basic functions which a manager executes in these days in business context are similar to the Henry Fayol's management function which was introduced in the 20th Century. From this, it could be evaluated that those management functions plays vital role in business context. These functions are executed by all managers at every level but the amount of time which a manager spends on one function is totally depended upon the situation and the structure of organization. For example: if a multinational corporation is planning to expand its business in other parts of the globe where they are not present yet. In this context, it can be evaluated that various managers from the top level to middle-level management will execute these functions various times before setting up the business in the target market. This is because it is obvious that if a multinational corporation is expanding its business in the international market, a big investment will be required along with talented, qualified as well as experienced candidates and various other resources (Shafritz, Ott & Jang, 2015). In order to control and manage these resources with the objective of successful expansion of the business in international market, execution of Henry Fayol’s management functions by managers and leaders at every situation is must and important.

Comparison of Traditional Management Functions to Contemporary Functions

In relation to this, various authors and philosophers argue that in contemporary business environment, managers do not execute management functions introduced by Henry Fayol. Modern managers follow following set of functions before starting a project:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Leading
  • Controlling

Apart from these functions, there are numerous functions which a manager is required to execute in order to attain desired goals and objectives with regards to the organizational expectations. A manager does not focus on these management functions, he also requires executing various other functions such as guiding teammates, cheering, coaching, issue resolving and a decision maker. Until and unless, a manager and a leader will not think about his teammates, accomplishment of the organizational goals is bit difficult task. Team leaders and managers have adopted the strategy under which they take their teammates along with themselves in order to build confidence amongst them, encouraging team building exercises, etc. This proves that with the changing business environment, management functions are being updated but traditional management functions introduced by Henry Fayol in the 20th Century are still effective and practiced by every manager before initiating a project (Guthrie, 2017).

According to various business experts, managers’ roles fall into three categories which are interpersonal, informational and decisional. Under these three categories, ten roles for a manager are described as per contemporary business environment. Following are these roles:


  • Monitor: Gain information from every stakeholder along with maintaining personal contact with them.
  • Disseminator: Converts gained information into reports, memos, etc. and forward it to further organizational members (Yashkova, et. al., 2016).
  • Spokesperson: Information is forwarded to outsiders through reports, memos, etc.


  • Figurehead: Perform only ceremonial and symbolic duties such as signing documents and greeting visitors.
  • Leader: Motivates and directs subordinates
  • Liaison: develops link between outsiders and inside the organization through meetings, phone calls, etc.


  • Entrepreneur: Generates new ideas to accomplish project
  • Disturbance Handler: Resolve conflict, disputes, and related situations
  • Resource Allocator: Collect resources and allocate them to the subordinates and different departments with the motive of gaining desired goals.
  • Negotiator: Represent departments.

Thus, it could be evaluated that there is not much difference amongst the traditional managerial functions introduced by Henry Fayol and the functions of contemporary business environment. Fayol has also introduced 14 administrative principles which are also executed by managers to administrate and control their actions. It is very crucial for an organization to work as per the organizational structure, policies, and standards (Wheelen & Hunger, 2011). First and last function i.e. planning and controlling are effective and useful for every manager. Thus, there is not much discussion carried about these two functions in comparison to other functions. Organising is another crucial function and it is quite similar to the planning which forecasts future of an organization (Moran, Abramson & Moran, 2014).

There are numerous theories related with the management functions and amongst them, one of the theories was introduced by Henry Fayol and this was probably the first theory in relation to the management functions. Further, other researchers have developed their theories by evaluating the weaknesses of Henry Fayol’s theory, thus, all these theories are inspired by Henry Fayol’s theory for management functions. Irrespective of the nature of business, every organization is required to implement managerial functions and amongst all theories, the most innovative and effective theory was introduced by Henry Fayol in 20th Century.

Managers' Roles in Contemporary Business Environment: Informational, Interpersonal, Decisional

It has been reviewed and researched by various business experts that everyone cannot be a manager or a leader. Skills are required such as convincing, coordinating, and leading, etc. along with high patience, ability to manage a group of individuals, etc. are required for being a manager or a leader. With the help of these attributes, they could develop confidence amongst the teammates and other employees so that they could be more productive. Modern workplace has traditional workplace has various differences and in relation to this, managers and leaders have also adopted advanced measures and updated their skills to enhance organizational performance. Due to emerging challenges, managers and leaders are being more creative and innovative and in modern business environment, only that manager or a leader could attain positive results that are flexible and have the ability to invent new ways to overcome from challenges and issues. In relation to this, it can be evaluated that in modern business environment also, Henry Fayol's management functions are executed but the major difference has been occurred is that managers in modern days are more flexible and adaptable, they do not afraid to change and from adaptation of new methods to improve organizational performance (Crane & Matten, 2016). Modern day business experts and managers are more collaborative and mindful. In this context they believe in inspiring its team to gain desired goals through new ways and for inventing new ways, organization provide them sufficient resources and measures through which employees could think out of the box in relevance with accomplishing goals and objectives. Apart from these approaches, modern day managers still use Henry Fayol’s managerial functions in order to develop a blueprint in order to accomplish the project.

From the aforesaid information, it can be concluded that management and leadership both are crucial aspects of a business. Both acts as the two sides of a coin and both have equal significance in organizational context. But the fact cannot be denied that a manager cannot be a leader but a leader can be a manager. There is a slight difference between a manager and a leader. Whereas managers follow Henry Fayol’s management functions, leaders use to polish their own skills and leadership style to develop coordination and interaction amongst its teammates with the objective of accomplishment of desired goals and objectives. Thus, it could be said that in modern day business also, managers use Henry Fayol's traditional managerial approach with the objective to gain positive outcomes.


Chang, J.F., 2016. Business process management systems: strategy and implementation. CRC Press.

Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.

Edward, R., 2017. An Elaboration of the Administrative Theory of the 14 Principles of Management by Henri Fayol. [Online]. Accessed from: [12th May 2018].

Fayol, H., 2016. General and industrial management. Ravenio Books.

Guthrie, G., 2017. The Firm Divided: Manager-shareholder Conflict and the Fight for Control of the Modern Corporation. Oxford University Press.

Kerzner, H. and Kerzner, H.R., 2017. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J.P., 2016. Management information system. Pearson Education India.

Moran, R.T., Abramson, N.R. and Moran, S.V., 2014. Managing cultural differences. Routledge.

Peaucelle, J.L., 2015. Henri Fayol, the manager. Routledge.

Schraeder, M., Self, D.R., Jordan, M.H. and Portis, R., 2015. The functions of management as mechanisms for fostering interpersonal trust. Advances in Business Research, 5(1), pp.50-62.

Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, Y.S., 2015. Classics of organization theory. Cengage Learning.

Stamenova, V. and Levine, B., 2018. Effectiveness of goal management training® in improving executive functions: A meta-analysis. Neuropsychological rehabilitation, pp.1-31.

Weske, M., 2012. Business process management architectures. In Business Process Management (pp. 333-371). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Wheelen, T.L. and Hunger, J.D., 2011. Concepts in strategic management and business policy. Pearson Education India.

Wood, J.C. and Wood, M.C. eds., 2002. Henri Fayol: Critical evaluations in business and management (Vol. 2). Taylor & Francis.

Yashkova, E.V., Sineva, N.L., Shkunova, A.A., Bystrova, N.V., Smirnova, Z.V. and Kolosova, T.V., 2016. Development of Innovative Business Model of Modern Manager's Qualities. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 11(11), pp.4650-4659.

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