Henri Fayol’s Functions of Management

Henri Fayol was a French mining executive, mining engineer, director and author of mines who introduced the general theory of business administration called the Fayolism. Fayol’s work was the first comprehensive pronouncement of the general theory of management. Based on his experience as a successful director of a mining company, he designed various theories that are relevant even to this day.  He was the first theorist to define the functions of management in his book “General and Industrial Management” in the year 1916.

Henri Fayol Functions of Management

Motivational theorist Henri Fayol put forth an argument that management in their everyday routine carries our five major functions. They are Planning, Organizing, Commanding, Coordinating, and controlling.

Henri Fayol Functions of Management


Planning is a process of thinking; it is an organized foresight, a vision based on experiences and facts that is necessary for an intelligent action. Planning bridges the gap between where you are to where you want to go. In short, it is a decision-making process.

According to Henri Fayol, planning is the most crucial of all the five functions of management, which requires an active participation of the entire organization. Following time and implementation, planning must be coordinated at various levels. It must consider the resources available in the organization and the flexibility of the personnel; as this guarantees continuity.

Various Aspects of Planning

  • Planning is an intellectual process.
  • Planning is the first stage of the managerial functions. Before planning, there will be nothing to organize direct, and control.
  • Planning is continuous, never-ending, and a flexible function.
  • Planning is insidious and broadly covered.

Various Functions of Planning

  • Collecting and analyzing information.
  • Determining alternative courses of action.
  • Choosing the best course of action.
  • Developing sub-plans.
  • Implementation and follow up of the plan.

Advantages of Planning

  • Planning equips you to face the uncertainties of the future.
  • Planning aids in adapting and adjusting to changing environments.
  • Planning prevents hasty decisions.
  • Planning reduces the overall cost.
  • Planning aids in improving the motivation and morale of the employees.
  • Planning brings unity through action.
  • Planning exercises effective control.

Planning is the foundation for all managerial functions. An enterprise would soon disintegrate without planning.


Organizing is a system in which parts work together and the two most ingredients for organizing are parts and their relationship. Parts comprise of physical and human resources. Organizing is a process of establishment of authority relationships among selected people, work, and workplaces so that the group can work together efficiently.

Post planning comes organizing the resources and teams so that the action plans can be implemented. Organizing is to focus on how to achieve objectives. An organization can function well only when it is well organized, which suggests the need for substantial capital, raw materials, and staff so that the organization can function smoothly and build an efficient structure to work. An organizational structure with a good division of tasks and functions is very important. The origination expands both vertically and horizontally when the number of functions increases.

Organizing Steps

  • Making a list of all the activities to achieve the goal.
  • Grouping work into departments.
  • Designating the head of the department for each group and assigning qualified personnel to work.
  • Delegating authority and responsibility and establishing a formal reporting relationship.

The organization is an essential part of our lives. We are born in organizations, educated by them, and almost all of us spend most of our lives working for them. Efficient organizations avoid misunderstandings, confusions, disloyalty, and lethargy.


Employees will know what is expected out of them when working instructions and orders are clear. All the employees will optimize returns when concrete instructions are given with respect to activities carried out by them. Successful managers possess integrity, communicate clearly, and make their decisions based on regular audits. They have the potential to encourage employees to take initiatives or even motivate a team.

Commanding encompasses instructing your team making sure that the team is motivated to complete its task.

Various Aspects of Commanding

  • Understanding and knowing your team members.
  • Dealing smartly with incompetency among the teams.
  • Being completely aware of the agreements between the organization and the employees; like- being cognizant of employee contracts and human resource policies.
  • Leading by example.
  • Working together with other managers to achieve common and corporate goals.


The organization will function better when all actions are harmonized. A positive influence of the employees’ behaviour is crucial in coordinating. Coordination aims at galvanizing discipline and motivation within the group dynamics, which necessitates good leadership and clear communication. Intended objectives can be achieved only through positive employees’ behaviour.

In simple words, coordinating is all about ensuring everything works well together. It is having the right resources at the right time and right place. They coordinate team actions and procedures so that the objectives are achieved in an efficient and effective manner. Managers coordinate internally and externally. In internal coordination, the other managerial functions like planning, organizing, commanding, and controlling are coordinated. In external coordination, the managers coordinate with the public, governments, politicians, trade unions, and other enterprises.

In a business enterprise with large numbers of people working at various levels performing various activities, it becomes crucial to synchronize work at every level and in the organization as a whole.


Controlling, as the name suggests, is all about controlling the resources and the team so that the plan is implemented as planned and aligns with the rules and procedures of the organization.

Controlling involves examining progress against management plans, with a view to ensure adequate progress and satisfactory performance, recording the experience obtained from the working of these plans as a guide to possible future experiences, and taking corrective actions to deal with underperformance. Nevertheless, as situations change, controlling can also involve amending plans whenever necessary and implement contingency plans if and when a crisis occurs.

Controlling Steps

  • Establishing performance standards based on the objectives of the organization.
  • Reporting and measuring the actual performance.
  • Comparing results with performance and standards.
  • Taking corrective and necessary preventive measures.

Characteristics of Controlling

  • Controlling is the last function of management.
  • It is mainly forward-looking and is a continuous and a dynamic activity.
  • It is a positive and a normative force.
  • Controlling enables the organizations to cope with uncertainty.
  • It aids in guiding and integrating employees’ behaviour towards broader organizational goals.

Controlling is a counterpart of planning. Planning is futile without controlling. The best-laid plans of managers remain a dream without adequate control. Planning without control is meaningless and control without planning is a wasted effort.


The 5 functions put forth by Henri Fayol may not entirely represent the complexities encountered by the managers and the normative proposition is too stiff to illustrate what functions the managers need to perform in the contemporary organizations. Nonetheless, the 5 functions illustrated by him present a structural overview of several tasks needed to be performed by all managers. This gives managers an initial overview of the main functions to focus on their everyday routine. Each of these functions is about solving potential problems creatively. It begins with an environmental analysis of the organization and ends with evaluating the results of the solution that is implemented.

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  1. Kibirango Edith B.M.

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