The Contribution of Henri Fayol to Strategy

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The Contribution of Henri Fayol to Strategy
Alan Kennedy, Strategy Consultant, Canada

The biggest contribution Fayol made to the discipline of management or administration is not his 14 principles or the 5 functions of a manager.
In my opinion, it was to identify that there is a framework of strategies common to all organizations. On page one of chapter one of the first book ever written on the new subject of managing strategy, Fayol states that there are six activities that all executives must manage. These "activities" are in fact strategies and represent 6 of the eight strategies common to all organizations, whether they are for-profit, not-for-profit, or public sector in nature.
Fayol identified: risk, finances, organization, production (also known as manufacturing or service delivery depending on what the organization does), marketing and sales, and R&D/technology.
Peter Drucker identified the other two, business definition (known as mandate for public sector and not-for-profit organizations) in his book, The Practice of Management, published in 1954.
These eight strategies are what constitutes "the strategic plan" and all subsequent strategy implementation planning is driven by the expectations created by each of the eight.
Because none of the subsequent points Fayol makes, such as the 5 functions of a manager or 14 principles, have any relevance without being founded in strategy, I am always surprised at how so many readers missed what is contained on page one of chapter one.
I consider Fayol to the the true father of Strategic Management for this contribution. The reality is, we are only beginning to understand what he wrote. We are still hung up in a complex and confusing construct which uses synonyms for strategy (e.g. vision, mission, objectives, goals, tactics) rather than doing what Fayol recommended, which was to focus on the activities (i.e. risk, finances, production, etc.).

Contribution of Henri Fayol to Strategy
NGO Chantal, Other, Congo
Hello, Alan Kennedy, It is a pleasure to read to your contribution about the writings of Henri Fayol. I thank you very much because you completed something in my mind. What are these five functions of managers and the eight strategies of management anyway?

Fayol's 5 Functions of a Manager
Alan Kennedy, Strategy Consultant, Canada
Fayol lists planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling as the five functions or roles of a manager. Fayol believed that a manager was performing these functions to a greater or lesser degree every day.
He also listed his 14 principles of management. Don't forget, this is all contained in the very first book ever written on the new subject of "industrial and general management". Like Peter Drucker, whose book, The Practice of Management, would come some fifty years later, all of Fayol's "lists" came from workplace observations, experiences, and opinions. Like Drucker, Fayol was clearly fascinated by the "new" subject of management that was emerging as a result of industrialization.
Fayol's greatest contribution, in my opinion, was to observe, on page one of chapter one of his book, that there is framework of six of what he called "activities" every executive must manage. They are strategies actually, Drucker identified 2 more strategies some 50 years later to complete the list of 8.



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