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Five Functions of Management by Fayol

The five functions of management by Henry Fayol

Henry Fayol, a French engineer, was a classic management theorist. He is also well known as the father of modern operational management.  Fayol is known for his fourteen principles of management as well as the five functions or elements of management. In this regard, he is sometimes compared with Taylor (Frederick Winslow Taylor) who gave the theory of scientific management. Fayol developed several theories during his life that are still considered an important part of management concepts. His focus mainly was on the management, human and behavioral factors in the organization. He differed from Taylor in this regard whose main concern was improving worker efficiency. Moreover, while Fayol believed in a top down approach, Taylor took a bottom up approach.

Fayol also defined five distinct functions of management that are important for managers to understand . These five elements are like the critical responsibilities of management.  The five functions also show the relationship between the various layers of management and personnel and provide a framework to manage work and production as well as facilitate decision making.

Planning :

This is the first and most important function of management. According to Fayol, every company needs a good plan of action. However, a critical thing related to planning is the involvement of the entire organization. Managers should focus on planning so as to prepare a course of action that can help them manage production, personnel and resources. A plan of action helps the management remain ready for upcoming challenges as well. Planning should remain linked to all the layers in the organization. All the layers should participate in planning and implementation. An important concern while planning for the managers is to take into account the organizational resources and human resource capability. Moreover, planning can be short term as well as long term and should be seen as a continuous process. Managers should plan, implement and review continuously to adjust the plan as per the progress made.


This is also a critical function for the survival of any organization. Organizations cannot survive unless they are properly organized. It also helps at coordination of tasks between various levels and departments. Organizations can have different structures and sizes. However, a proper structure is still essential irrespective of the company’s size. If the resources are organized properly, they can be utilized efficiently. Organizations with a proper structure find themselves in a better position to utilize their resources. Workflow and decision making are also impacted by organization. This element is an important function of management and also affects productivity and profits.


Commanding is an essential management function. The management should give clear commands to its workforce so it can produce the desired output. Giving concrete instructions or clear commands also ensures that the performance of the workforce is optimized. Communication assumes an important role in the context of management. Managers should act with integrity in this respect and communicate clearly to the employees what is expected of them. Clear cut instructions also keep the employees motivated. Employees need commands to know how they are desired to act and what targets they need to achieve.


Another important management function that can have a direct impact on productivity is coordination. Leadership must focus on coordination to ensure proper workflow, employee motivation as well as high productivity. All these things can be achieved through coordination. To achieve a high level of coordination, communication must be used as a tool. Coordination leads to synchronization throughout the organization which leads to increased productivity. Proper training and communication helps achieve a high level of coordination throughout the organization. Lack of coordination can have negative effects on employee performance and organization’s productivity.


Control or monitoring ensures that everything is running as per the plan. Evaluation is a very important component of this function. Managers should evaluate employee performance regularly to ensure adherence to the plan. It requires the managers to see if there are obstacles to the implementation of the plan or if there is a critical deviation from the plan. The managers can set performance standards and measure performance based on them. After having compared results, it is easy to take corrective action to fill the gaps. Continuous monitoring ensures that the plan is adhered to and that performance gaps are identified and filled.

These are the most important functions of management that can ensure effective management as well as great results. All the five functions need to be focused upon for the smooth running of an organization. Organizational managers should understand the value of functions like coordination and organization so as to ensure that the employees can perform as expected and give their hundred percent to the organization.