Administrative Theory or Basic 14 Principles of Henri Fayol

The administrative theory is an important one of administrative theories. Henri Fayol created it. It is also known as the 14 principles of management or fourteen principles of management.

Henri Fayol was born in 1841 to a French family. He was a prolific writer on technical and scientific matters, as well as management. His most outstanding writing was ‘Industrial and General Management.’ He was appointed as an engineer in a Mining company. By 1888, he had risen to the Managing Director position of the company. He retired from the position of Managing Director in 1918. He was a director of the company up to his death (84the age; December 2925). Henri Fayol was a management practitioner with experience.

14 Principles of Management

Henri Fayol created the Administrative Theory or 14 principles of management on the management. His Administrative Theory or 14 principles of management following are:

  1. Division of Work: This principle is the same as Adam Smith’s ‘division of labor.’
  2. Authority: The manager must be able to give the order. Authority gives this right.
  3. Discipline: Employees must obey and respect the rules and regulations which govern the organization.
  4. Unity of Command: Every employee should receive order or direction from only one upward or superior.
  5. Unity of Direction: Each group of the organization should be directed by one manager using one plan.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interest: The management must see that its aims are always supreme.
  7. Remuneration of Personnel: The laborers must be paid a reasonable salary for their work.
  8. Centralization: The process of transforming and assigning decision-making authority to a higher level of an organizational hierarchy; it is the centralization that should follow this.
  9. Scalar Chain: The line of authority from top management to the lower ranks represents the hierarchy or scalar chain. This chain should follow.
  10. Order: people and materials should be in the right place at the right time.
  11. Equity: In running a business, a combination of kindness and justice needs.
  12. Stability of Tenure of Personnel: Staff work is well if job safety and career improvement are guaranteed to the team.
  13. Initiative: Allowing all personnel to show their initiative in some way is a source of stretch for the organization.
  14. Esprit de Corps: Promoting team spirit will build unity and harmony within the organization.

You can memorize easily these 14 princiles through a short technique. Such as:-

DA DUU Sub-In Rop CSOE Stp.I Esprit

D = Division of Work
A = Authority
D = Discipline
U = Unity of Command
U = Unity of Direction
Sub-In = Subordination of Individual Interests
Rop = Remuneration of Personal
C = Centralization
S = Scalar Chain
O = Order
E = Equity
Stp. = Stability of Tenure
I = Initiative
Esprit = Esprit de Corps

Besides Administrative Theory or 14 principles of management, he also classified business activities. For instance:-

  • Technical
  • Commercial
  • Financial
  • Accounting
  • Security
  • Management activities
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14 Principles of Administrative Theory

5 Functions of Administrative Theory

Henri Fayol is often credited with developing the administrative theory of management. He proposed five functions of management, often referred to as the “POCCC” framework:

  1. Planning: This involves setting objectives and determining a course of action to achieve those objectives. Planning involves decision-making regarding what needs to be done, how it will be done, and when it will be done.
  2. Organizing: Fayol emphasized the importance of organizing resources effectively. This includes organizing both human and material resources to ensure the successful implementation of the planned activities. Organizing also involves establishing authority relationships within the organization.
  3. Commanding (Directing): This function is about giving orders and ensuring that they are carried out. It involves instructing, guiding, and overseeing the performance of subordinates to achieve organizational goals. Communication is a crucial aspect of this function.
  4. Coordinating: Fayol stressed the need for coordination among different parts of the organization to ensure unity of action and direction. Coordinating involves harmonizing the various activities and efforts to facilitate the achievement of organizational objectives.
  5. Controlling: This function involves monitoring activities to ensure they are going according to plan. It includes measuring performance, comparing it with objectives, and taking corrective action if necessary. Controlling helps in ensuring that the organization is moving in the right direction.

These functions are considered fundamental to the practice of management and are widely taught and applied in management education and practice. Fayol’s work has had a significant impact on the field of management and laid the foundation for subsequent management theories and practices.

Qualities of the Administrative Theories

Henri Fayol emphasized that managers should possess a combination of certain qualities, skills, education, and experience to effectively perform their roles. According to Fayol, the key requirements for a manager include:

  1. Physical Qualities: Physical well-being is essential for a manager to handle the demands and pressures of the job.
  2. Mental Qualities: Managers should have the capacity to comprehend and analyze complex situations and information. Besides, the ability to make sound decisions based on rational judgment is crucial. Furthermore, a good memory aids in retaining important information and experiences. Moreover, managers should be able to think creatively and envision innovative solutions to problems.
  3. Moral Qualities: Managers should be honest, trustworthy, and act with integrity. Alongside this, following ethical principles and moral standards is important for building trust and credibility. Including, a manager should be proactive and take the initiative to address issues and opportunities. Coupled with. treating employees and stakeholders fairly contributes to a positive organizational culture.
  4. General Education: A foundational education provides essential knowledge in areas such as language, mathematics, and the sciences. In addition, an understanding of cultural nuances and global perspectives can be valuable in diverse work environments.
  5. Special Knowledge: Specific education in management principles and practices is crucial for effective managerial roles. Together with, understanding the specific industry in which the organization operates is essential for making informed decisions.
  6. Work Experience: Real-world experience in managerial roles helps in applying theoretical knowledge to practical situations. Along with this, exposure to various aspects of business and management can enhance a manager’s versatility.

Fayol’s emphasis on a combination of physical, mental, and moral qualities, along with a balance of general and specialized education, underscores the multidimensional nature of managerial roles. Additionally, work experience, especially in diverse contexts, is seen as crucial for developing a well-rounded and effective manager. It’s important to note that Fayol’s views were articulated in the early 20th century, and while many of his principles are still relevant, contemporary perspectives on management may vary.

Criticism of Administrative Theory (14 Principles of Management)

While the 14 Principles of Management, formulated by Henri Fayol, have been influential in shaping administrative theory and management practices, they are not without criticism. Some of the key criticisms include:

  1. Lack of Universality: Critics argue that the principles may not be universally applicable to all types of organizations and industries. The principles were developed based on observations of large manufacturing organizations during Fayol’s time and may not be suitable for modern, dynamic, and diverse organizational settings.
  2. Rigidity: The principles are often criticized for being too rigid and prescriptive. Critics argue that the business environment is highly dynamic and that a set of fixed principles may not be adaptable to the rapidly changing conditions of the contemporary world.
  3. Neglect of Human Element: Fayol’s principles sometimes neglect the human aspect of management. Critics argue that the focus on organizational structure, hierarchy, and formal authority may lead to neglecting the importance of human motivation, emotions, and social factors in the workplace.
  4. Top-Down Approach: Fayol’s principles emphasize a top-down approach to management, with a clear chain of command and authority flowing from the top management. Critics argue that this approach may stifle creativity and innovation by discouraging input from lower-level employees.
  5. Ignorance of Informal Organization: Fayol’s principles tend to focus on the formal aspects of organization and management, often ignoring the informal aspects. Critics argue that informal networks, relationships, and communication channels play a significant role in organizational dynamics and should not be overlooked.
  6. Cultural Bias: Some critics argue that Fayol’s principles reflect a Western, industrialized perspective and may not be fully applicable or relevant in different cultural and economic contexts.
  7. Overemphasis on Structure: The principles tend to place a significant emphasis on organizational structure and hierarchy. Critics argue that an overemphasis on structure may hinder organizational flexibility and responsiveness to change.
  8. Limited Strategic Focus: The principles are more operational in nature and lack a strong strategic focus. Critics argue that a strategic perspective is essential for organizations to thrive in a competitive environment.
  9. Static Nature: The principles were formulated in the early 20th century and may not fully capture the complexities and dynamics of the contemporary business environment. Critics argue that management principles should evolve to reflect the changing nature of work and organizations.
  10. Ignores External Environment: Fayol’s principles primarily focus on internal organizational matters and often neglect the impact of the external environment. Critics argue that organizations operate within a broader context that includes economic, social, and technological factors, which should be considered in management principles.

While Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management have been foundational in the field of administrative theory, they are not without criticism. Modern management theories and approaches often integrate and build upon Fayol’s principles while addressing the evolving nature of organizations and the broader business environment.


Administrative management focuses on the management process and the principles of management and more on development administration. …which positively imposed the paradigm of administration. That’s all the discussion about the administrative theory or 14 principles of management.

Henri Fayol

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