On the 4th Principle: Unity of Command

Principles of Management
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On the 4th Principle: Unity of Command

According to Fayol's 4th Principle, Unity of Command, I should receive instruction from one boss who is my immediate manager.
However I have been instructed by other managers from other department too. And even by my colleagues. These instructions make my work overloaded. Is this not a violation of this principle by Fayol?


Franciscus Koning
Interim Manager, Netherlands

Multiple Instructions of Multiple Instructors

Maybe Fayol, in his time, would have classified it as the violation of several principles of industrial administration!
It is even more important that the content of the commands given to you is consistent and the direction of actions to be executed is one-dimensional. And the probability that this will be not guaranteed in your workstation is high. The effect is improductivity and waste of capacity and materials (failures).
If the work is overloaded with instructions, the instructed person can avoid overload by following the most productive and effective instructions. Those come from the one who can judge the result of your work, your process, and those before and after your process. Prevoyance, organisation, coordination, control!

Richard Ngcobo
United Kingdom

Unity of Command is Aimed at Avoiding Confusion

The main aim of this principle is to avoid confusion. If an employee receives conflicting instructio... Sign up

Adeyinka Oluwaseun
Student (University), Nigeria

More than One Supervisor Chokes the Subordinate

Henry Fayol was quite on point regarding the principle of unity of command. I observed that if a sta... Sign up

Marie Florence Dieudonne, Haiti

Managers Must Realize that Employees have an Immediate Manager

I believe the Unity of Command principle is most significant to make leaders realize that they shoul... Sign up

Mukwana Ronald Samuel
Student (University), Uganda

Discuss the Unity of Command Principle with your Immediate Boss

It is indeed a violation of this principle. It could be the other managers are not aware of the pr... Sign up

Sachin Narayan Nagle
Manager, India

Unity of Command if one has a Line Manager and a Functional Manger

Hi, this really creates confusion about what should be your priorities and even more difficult who w... Sign up

Suleiman C. Muttani
Consultant, Tanzania

Confusion, Loss of Focus and Loss of Trust

This situation is confusing; it is like in the saying "many whistles can confuse a dog to obey the c... Sign up

Thusego Kabo

How a Manager and his Manager should Maintain Unity of Command towards the Employee

My view is that if some higher supervisor wants a particular employee to perform a task, (s)he shoul... Sign up

dhanaraj, India

Don't Worry

Don't become confused after receiving various instructions given by your boss, and various other peo... Sign up

Bernard Ngwenya
Analyst, Zimbabwe

Unity of Command in Case of an Acting Supervisor

Thanks for bringing out the above. Yes, it can be confusing. I have been experiencing yet another va... Sign up

Manager, Uganda

Unity of Command is Also Aimed at Quick Execution

@Richard Ngcobo: I agree unity of command is aimed at avoiding consufion, which makes the work very ... Sign up

wil son chnyamurindi

Play Along

Unity of command principle would only work in an environment, where everyone including your boss and... Sign up

Jamie Solak, United States

Unity of Command is Just One Principle That is Violated

This is a common challenge (especially for highly talented employees of which you are one!) which of... Sign up

Student (Other), Hong Kong

Unity of Command Enables Accountability

I agree that if a manager violate this rule, it might cause confusion to employees. It will be easie... Sign up

CEO, Bahamas

Response to the Conflicting Reporting Structures in the Current Envinornment in the Organizations

Hi. These kind of situations are the reason I state that these are outdated principles and would rea... Sign up

David Egbeama, South Africa

Unity of Command

Unity of command does not necessarily mean that instructions or additional tasks may not be passed o... Sign up

Adeyinka Oluwaseun
Student (University), Nigeria

Unity of Command Ensures Orderliness

The Principle of Unity in Demand is to ensure orderliness. Too much commands from different managers... Sign up


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