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The Rise and Fall of Management

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Critically discuss the extent to which Fayol’s classic analysis of the management function has largely been made redundant by the more recent empirical studies of what managers actually do, such as that favoured by Mintzberg. Intro: (89words)Management has constantly been a broad topic. Managing human resources is continuously unpredictable because we all react differently in comparable scenarios. However, for managers it is vital to be able to control an organisation efficiently, in order to exploit any opportunities open to it. Henri Fayol deliberated management back in 1916. His ideas, however, have been questioned by the more recent research of Henry Mintzberg. In this essay we will look at whether Fayol’s concepts of management have been overridden by the more elaborate views of Henry Mintzberg’s (1973). Description of work:(212) Fayol was known as a classical theorist, he had fixed ideas on what a manager should do. He devised 6 primary functions of a manger: technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and managerial. (Revisiting Fayol: Anticipating Contemporary Management Parker, Lee D.; Ritson, Philip A. British Journal of Management, 2005, Vol.16(3), pp.175-194). He viewed management from the top of an organisation and how it could be effectivity be implemented downwards to make a resourceful organisation (Dr Gordon Pearson).

Henri Fayol gathered his ideas predominantly from this own experience, but also through the observation of others (Brodie, 1967). Fayols work set out a structure which could implement in any organisation and have positive effects. Whereas, Mintzberg said there is more than just these 6 functions. He looked at what managers actually do. He had the idea that in order to train successful manager firstly you need to know what they do. He used his own observations on five American managers and well as any research available to him (Mintzberg 1973). Mintzberg spoke about 10 ideas of management which he labelled ‘Musing on Management’. (Mintzberg on management 1996). These two theorist both spoke about management in contrasting ways, leading to the publication of ‘The mangers job: folklore and fact’ by Mintzberg (1975). Mintzberg states the article’s intentions is ‘to break the reader away from Fayol’s words and introduce him to a more supportable, and what I believe to be a more useful, description of managerial work.’

But does this mean Fayol’s classic analysis of management has been made redundant by Mintzberg more recent studies? Analysis work: One popular view from Wren (1994) is that the work of Fayol and Mintzberg is talking about individual areas of management which are different rather than conflicting views. This could be due to the unique motivating factors from their own personal back grounds which encouraged them to talk about management. Jean-Louis Peaucelle (2012) spoke about Henri Fayol’s minor military background, as his father was posted to fulfil this military service. He speaks about how these factors motivated Fayol into pursing management. Hence, showing us that Fayol had more of a strict view on management which is followed up by the work of Dr Gordon Pearson. Dr Pearson then continues stating that Fayol’s structure and principles gave management authority to give orders and have them obeyed. Whilst workers must be soley focused on the objectives of the organisation whilst act work. Furthermore his work displays little from a social aspect of management.

Henri Fayol focused on the business goals and objectives rather than its employee’s. In summary, signifying that Fayol’s work was predominately on what a manager should do to make an organisation as efficient as possible. Contrastingly Mintzberg had a somewhat different private background. Mintzberg’s father was a president of a small manufacturing firm (Mintzberg 1973). Furthermore meaning Mintzberg learned more about manager’s personal connection with staff. Mintzberg spoke about how formal authority to managers meant they had roles to comply with, one being interpersonal roles. He began stating that mangers must be able to motivate and encourage staff whilst guiding them towards the company’s goals in order to be successful. In his work, he talked highly of a manager’s social aspect. Not only the relationship between managers and staff, but also with the general public and subordinates (The manager’s job: Folklore and Fact). Nevertheless Mintzberg was looking more at the roles of a manager.

However it has been said that Mintzberg elaborated Fayol’s views on management (David Lamond). Analysis work another view:

Lamond, D. (2003), “Henry Mintzberg vs Henri Fayol: of lighthouses, cubists and the Emperor’s new clothes”, Journal of Applied Management and
Entrepreneurship, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 5‐23

However, N. S. Ross (1953) voiced his concerns about how the size of a firm puts surplus pressure on the co-ordinators of the organisation. Therefore Mintzberg’s social approach to management, might be less essential with major firms.

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