Five Functions of Management by Henri Fayol

Five functions of management - Toolshero

Five Functions of Management: this article explains the administrative theory of the Five Functions of Management by Henri Fayol in a practical way. Next to what they are, this article also Fayol’s Sixth Function, and a practical video wheer this theory is been explained. After reading, you’ll have a basic understanding of this scientific management theory. Enjoy reading!

Five Functions of Management video (1-Minute Skill Booster)

Our 1-Minute Skill Booster below will help you get a quick overview on the Five Functions of Management and at the end of this article you will find an in-depth video on this management tool.

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Introduction of the the five Functions of Management theory

At the beginning of the last century (1916) the French engineer Henri Fayol created the first principles of management theory. Henri Fayol is classified as the founding father of for example the line and staff organization.

Based on his experience as a successful director or a mining company, he developed several theories that are still relevant today. At the time, managers had no formal training.

However, the increasing complexity of organizations created a need for professional management.

What are the five Functions of Management?

Henri Fayol gained world-wide fame for his 14 general principles of management. He distinguished six general activities for industrial enterprises: technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and managerial.

He defined five functions of management for the management component and these are still seen as relevant to organizations today. These five functions focus on the relationship between personnel and its management and they provide points of reference so that problems can be solved in a creative manner.

Five functions of management model - Toolshero

Figure 1 – Five functions of Management model (Fayol)

1. Planning

Planning is looking ahead. According to Henri Fayol, drawing up a good plan of action is the hardest of the five functions of management.

This requires an active participation of the entire organization. With respect to time and implementation, planning must be linked to and coordinated on different levels.

Planning must take the organization’s available resources and flexibility of personnel into consideration as this will guarantee continuity.

2. Organizing

An organization can only function well if it is well-organized. This means that there must be sufficient capital, staff and raw materials so that the organization can run smoothly and that it can build a good working structure.

The organizational structure with a good division of functions and tasks is of crucial importance. When the number of functions increases, the organization will expand both horizontally and vertically. This requires a different type of leadership. Organizing is an important function of the five functions of management.

3. Commanding

When given orders and clear working instructions, employees will know exactly what is required of them.

Return from all employees will be optimized if they are given concrete instructions with respect to the activities that must be carried out by them.

Successful managers have integrity, communicate clearly and base their decisions on regular audits. They are capable of motivating a team and encouraging employees to take initiative.

4. Coordinating

When all activities are harmonized, the organization will function better. Positive influencing of employees behaviour is important in this. Coordination therefore aims at stimulating motivation and discipline within the group dynamics.

This requires clear communication and good leadership. Only through positive employee behaviour management can the intended objectives be achieved.

5. Controlling

By verifying whether everything is going according to plan, the organization knows exactly whether the activities are carried out in conformity with the plan.

Control takes place in a four-step process:

  1. Establish performance standards based on organizational objectives
  2. Measure and report on actual performance
  3. Compare results with performance and standards
  4. Take corrective or preventive measures as needed

It starts with an overview

Each of these steps is about solving problems in a creative manner. Finding a creative solution is often more difficult than discovering what the problem is, than making choices or the decision-making process.

It starts with creating an environmental analysis of the organization and it ends with evaluating the results of the implemented solution.

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Henri Fayol ‘s Sixth Function

The sixth function of Henri Fayol is mostly managerial. This include activities like planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling.

Although well understood in their own right, none of the first five of these functions takes account of drawing up a broad plan of where the business is going and how it will operate, organising people, coordinating all of the organisation’s efforts and activities, and monitoring to check that what is planned is actually carried out.

Fayol’s sixth function acts as an overall function in relation to the five functions.

Five Functions of Management : A Closer look at organizing

As one of the five functions of management, Henri Fayol divided “organizing” into five subcategories.

These first five subcategories of management are still important in organizations today. The first of the five Henri Fayol mentioned was “specialization”; if every employee is allowed to use their individual skills this will be advantageous to their area of expertise.

Secondly he mentioned “unity of command”, in which an employee is answerable to one manager only. The “formal chain of communication” is linked to this so that the employee will know how and with whom they will have to communicate.

The fourth category is “unity of direction”; all employees must be aware of the organization’s strategic objectives.

The fifth category is “authority and responsibility” in which managers have the authority to give orders.

Five Functions of Management explained (video)

Watch the in-depth video below for a recap of what you’ve just read, so you will remember it more easily!

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Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Are these five functions of management applicable in today’s management? Has leadership changed on these points?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Fayol, H. (1917). General and Industrial Management. Dunod et E. Pinat.
  2. Hodge, B. J. (2002). Organization theory: a strategic approach. Pearson Education.
  3. Wren, D. A. , Bedeian, A. G. , Breeze, J. D. (2002). The foundations of Henri Fayol’s administrative theory. Management Decision, Vol. 40 Iss: 9, pp.906 – 918 state: It was not until the Storr’s translation that Fayol’s (1949) Administration Industrielle et Générale reached a wider audience, especially in the USA and established Fayol as a major authority on management.

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Original publication date: 09/09/2011 | Last update: 07/01/2024

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Vincent van Vliet
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Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


15 responses to “Five Functions of Management by Henri Fayol”

  1. Priti Singh says:

    I am student-teacher of commerce and i am glad to found Fayol’s five principles of management with brief and straight forward explanation. I will definitely use this article for in my teaching learning classroom. Thank you for providing this information on Fayol’s theory.

  2. Thank you; regarding your question the relationship between planning and controlling, is there a specific theory, method or model that yo are looking for? We also wrote an article on the Balanced Scorecard.

  3. zena balumbi issa says:

    I am student in procurement and supply. These five functions by Henri Fayol helped me a lot to prepare for a test. Thank you

  4. Aisha A Hamza says:

    I am a student of Modibbo Adama University of Technology (Nigeria). I am glad that I have read your article about the functions of management. It makes the theory clear and helped me to understand the Fayol principles. Thanks a lot.

  5. Josefina says:

    I’m a student in Business management subject and I’m glad I found some tips, hopefully glad for Henri Fayol, of sharing all his functions that help many of us in our roles!

  6. Patrice Smith says:

    I’m a high school student studying business Thank you for your website it helps a lot

  7. Emmabugi says:

    I am a student studying business in high school the articles help me a lot in my finding

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m a student of business administration and management and the website of ToolsHero is very helpful to me.

  9. Calvin Zulu says:

    Education at the University of Zambia, Lusaka. This article is very much of good use. please keep updating as on the different principles of management.

  10. Ngobeni Brownie says:

    Hi, I am a student of public administration at University of Venda (South Africa). I found this article very useful and straight forward. thanks

  11. Carlos Wina says:

    I have found these functions of Henri Fayol to be very useful to my course Principles of management. I’m a student at Copperbelt University- in Zambia. thanks a lot.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to Fayol French Engineer who came up with a brilliant set of function of management, they really give an insight to many of us in Mount Kenya University.
    Salim Muzungu

  13. Steven phiri says:

    Am a student at immaculata visitation teachers college in kabwe, I really appreciate for this product article for it has helped me write my assignment about the functions of a manager. zambia

  14. ACKSON BANDA . C. says:

    Thank you for your service it helped me write my assignments.

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