Comparing Henri Fayol and Henry Mintzberg management frameworks

Comparing Henri Fayol and Henry Mintzberg management frameworks

One of the most important components of an organization is the aspect of management without which it would indeed be very hard to assure the continued success of the said organization. Perhaps over the years, a large number of scholars and researchers have attempted to offer up views on the most effective way that organizations can implement management structures that will ensure that all sectors of the organization are well catered for (Carroll & Gillen, 2008, p. 381). This paper therefore examines the management frameworks set in place by Henri Fayol and Henri Mintzberg and provides a comparison of the two frameworks put forth by both.

Fayol and Mintzberg have cultivated a reputation as two of the leading theorists in the field of management and even though their ideas show a contrast to each other, they have been instrumental in ensuring that managers have learned important skills on how to certify that the tasks set before them are effectively done and at the same time these skills that they have learnt have served them well in their day to day activities (Lamond, 2004, p. 330-356). One of the most important questions that comes to one’s mind as one goes through both Fayol and Mintzberg’s theories is whether the work of a manager is definite by objectives of the institute or indeed whether a good manager is defined by the tasks he carries out (Robbins & Coulter, 2009, p. 12).

It is significant to note that it has often been said that management and its subsequent functions which include planning and organizing as well as controlling the rest of the employees and the organization’s stakeholders. These functions provide the most distinct way of differentiating management from other disciplines as accounting and finance. It is in line with this that Henri Fayol was considered the first to come up with an identification of the functions that describe management. His description put it forward as those concerned with the planning, organizing, controlling, commanding, controlling as well as coordinating. These functions, he argued were universally accepted regardless of the sector one was involved in (Robbins & Coulter, 2009, p. 12). According to Fayol, planning was not a rigid process since it involved the consideration of the impact that future events would have on the success of the organization. There was therefore a need to be more flexible in the method of thinking (Robbins & Coulter, 2009, p.12).

Fayol’s theory was based on personal observation as he carried out his study on the basis of observing the managerial activities of five business executives added to the experience he had accumulated in the field of management. It can be seen that Fayol advocated for a method of management that sought to show that there was only one way for a manager to be considered as both effective and successful. He argued that it was based on the following of certain set principles (Heames & Breland, 2010, p. 427). To Fayol, an effective manager is one who is adept at carrying out supervision of the employees in a way that motivates and inspires them to attain the set down aims and objectives. He also struggles to understand his employees which will ensure that his work of coordination is more effective. Further, he added that the power that managers have to control is often to be used to identify the obstacles that were posing a risk to the achievement of the set objectives of the organization (Heames & Breland, 2010, p.427).

However, theorists such as Mintzberg strongly criticized Fayol’s thoughts who argued that the functional definition of management as put forward by Fayol was false. They actually considered Fayol’s ideas of the processes of management as inaccurate if implemented in today’s managerial set up which was often chaotic and uncertain (Wren, 2007, p. 470).

According to Mintzberg, successful management was determinant on the successful implementation of three roles. These included the interpersonal where the manager was seen to promote the ideas of being an approachable leader as well as a bridge between the employees and the top levels of the organization (Drucker, 2003, p.25). Further, an effective manager played the role of being a clear spokesperson for the different levels of the organization as well as ensuring the clear dissemination of the organization’s objectives. This was done in a manner that ensured they well understand their role in the achievement of the set objectives. Finally, according to Fayol an effective manager was also a clear and direct decision maker which included playing the role of being a negotiator especially bearing in mind that conflicts within an organization are commonplace. Therefore, an effective manager needs to be able to learn how to deal with the affected parties and end the conflict in an amicable manner that would not affect the working environment of the organization (Simmons, 2011, p.49).

Further, Mintzberg believes that effective management is not only carrying out the functions of controlling and commanding. It has more to do with the cultivation of personal relationships not only with the employees but also with the various stakeholders. This is in direct contrast with Fayol’s traditional way of describing effective management further, whereas Fayol’s idea of management is seen as a closed method of management. Mintzberg’s system of management is seen as more open and flexible. Fayol focuses more on the internal factors of the organization and how they impact the management system of the organization whereas Mintzberg focuses on not only the internal factors but also the impact of the organization’s external environment (Lamond, 2003, p. 5).

In conclusion, the notion of management is a vital component to the success and long term survival of any organization. This is the reason why several theorists have come up with theories on the most effective method of management. Henri Fayol and Henry Mintzberg were among these theorists and came up with differing views on the most effective method of implementing management.

List of References

Carroll, Stephen J., and Dennis J. Gillen. 2008. “Are the Classical Management Functions Useful in Describing Managerial Work?” Academy of Management Review 12, no. 1: 381

Drucker, P.F (2003). Management; Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. New York: Harper and Row.

Heames, J. T. and Breland, J. 2010. “Management pioneer contributors: 30 year review”. Journal of Management History, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 427–36.

Lamond, D.A. 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, p. 5–23.

Lamond, David. 2004. “A Matter of Style: Reconciling Henri and Henry.” Management Decision 42, 2: 330-356.

Robbins, Stephen P. and Mary, Coulter. 2009. Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Simmons, R. 2011. Strategic Orientation and Top Management Attention to Control Systems. Strategic Management Journal 12, p. 49-62.

Wren, D. A. and Hay, R.D. 2007. “Management historians and business historians: differing perceptions of pioneer contributions”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 20 No. 3, p. 470–6.

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