Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management [Explained]

What are the Principles of Management?

Principles of management are the basic guidelines for effectively and efficiently running the organization. They are the essence of management, applicable universally, and are the results of thorough research, observation, and practice.

These principles guide managers on how to conduct activities in the workplace according to their responsibility. They are the means to run organizations successfully in order to achieve desired goals and objectives.

Management principles are fundamental truths of general validity that have value in predicting the result of management action. – Kootz and Weihrich

What are the Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management?

Henri Fayol is a French industrialist who is best known for his 14 management principles. He is also regarded as the father of modern management.

Fayol’s principles are general guidelines that are applicable worldwide to all types of managers, organizations, and departments. They are the means to managers’ success to bring efficiency and productivity to the organization.

In 1916, Fayol published his book “Administration Industrielle et. General” which was translated into English as “General and Industrial Management”. In his book, he introduced the 14 principles of management.

He also stated due to the very dynamic business environment management practices are also changing rapidly. Although these principles are applicable to every organization they are not such hard and fast rules that must be followed as they are rather he stated that they can be modified according to the time and situation.

Although there are other principles contributors to the management such as Max Weber, F.W. Taylor, etc. Henri Fayol’s principles are regarded as mostly yet widely accepted.

Henri Fayol’s fourteen management principles are mentioned below:

Division of Work

As its name suggests, division of work refers to dividing the given whole task into its different components. This principle states that the divided task should be given to a specified person (employee) who is skilled in it.

As a manager, you should give a specific task to a particular employee that fits his knowledge, skills, and expertise. This leads to specialization of work, less time consumption, no wastage increases efficiency, and ultimately the productivity of your organization.

Authority and Responsibility

Authority is the power to get command and get work done through others. Through authority, the manager has a right to control his subordinates. Responsibility is simply the obligation or duty to be performed in the organization.

These two terms authority and responsibility are tools of management that are interrelated and interdependent.

If there is authority there must be some responsibility to fulfill and vice versa. The absence of one can leads to misuse of one. Thus, this principle of management states that there should be a balance between them.


The discipline principle of management is the core function of an organization to succeed. Here, discipline means honoring the rules and regulations of the organization in which an individual is associated.

Discipline implies obedience and respect for authority. Irrespective of position each member of the organization should be disciplined in the workplace. There should be an appropriate environment in the organization to follow specified rules, regulations, and guidelines.

Unity of Command

When you work under many superiors (supervisors) at a time, you might not work efficiently as they wish to do. Your productivity may decrease. The solution to this problem in the workplace is the unity of command principle.

Unity of command means you (employee) should have only one boss-one task and you are responsible for only one boss at a time. This helps to reduce confusion, efficient work, and speed ups the work.

Unity of Direction

The unity of direction principle of management means there should be one head and one plan for similar activities.

More simply, if some activities are similar these activities should be grouped into one group, and a boss should make a plan to accomplish them. This means there should be only one instruction for similar types of jobs.

If employees get different types of instruction to accomplish the job, they get confused. Implementation of instruction becomes difficult. As such there should be the same direction for subordinates to accomplish similar tasks.

Subordination of Individual Interest to General Interest

This management principle emphasizes general interest i.e. organizational common interest than individual interest.

Every individual (employee) is guided by his/her own personal goals and that might not align with organizational goals. If every employee gives priority to his personal goals organizational goals can not be achieved.

Thus this principle states that, for the betterment of the organization, every employee should give first priority to organizational goals and place their own goals second.

Remuneration of Personnel

Remuneration is the pay employees get for their service to the organization. The pay should be fair.

To this principle, organizations should provide fair and marketable rewards to their employees. The reward must be based on experiences, qualifications, productivity, and inflation rate. It must be transparent and competitive.

Fair pay motivates employees to work better, increases satisfaction, and they stay longer in the organization. Organizations further should provide financial and non-financial benefits to their employees to boost their performance.

Centralization and Decentralization

Centralization refers to resting decision-making authority only on the top management i.e. higher positions of the management has the power to make decisions. Whereas in decentralization, decision-making power is vested also to subordinate levels.

However, following centralization or decentralization depends upon the nature and size of the organizations and no organization is fully centralized or decentralized. This management principle states that there must be a balance between centralization and decentralization for the effective functioning of the organization.

Scalar Chain

The scalar chain principle of management refers to the chain of superior subordinates ranging from top to bottom (or bottom to top) for the effective flow of authority, orders, and information.

There should be an unbroken chain of command and communication. An unbroken scalar chain facilitates the effective flow of communication and command.

Although this is an unbroken line between subordinates and superiors in the organization, Fayol also introduced Gang Plank for emergency situations.


Order principle indicates placing the man (employees), machine, and things in the right manner so that they can be used at the right time without delay.

It says that the right man should be appointed at the right place at the right time. For efficiency and productivity, the right things (raw materials, machinery, finished goods, etc.) must be kept in the right place. This increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.


Equity refers to fair treatment or equality or justice in the behavior of all concerned people associated with the organization.

This principle states that there should not be any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, caste, religion, demography, education, etc.

It ensures a healthy industrial relation in the organization so that absenteeism and turnover get reduced. It further improves the job satisfaction of employees.

Stability of Tenure

The stability of tenure refers to the job security of employees. Job insecurity decreases the morale of employees due to which efficiency and productivity get lowered. The lack of stability of tenure leads to higher turnover.

This principle states that management should establish a guarantee of job continuity for the employees. Managers should work for increasing tenure (years of working employees in the same organization) of employees.

Low turnover of employees increases organizational image and reduces the cost of recruitment, selection as well as training, and development.


According to the initiative principle, managers must take steps in order to make work done properly to realize the goal of the organization.

Managers must encourage initiative. Every employee should be encouraged to be creative with new ideas and ways of doing new things. Initiation makes every work possible as it encourages and boosts the morale of employees.

Espirit De Corps

This principle refers to the “Strength in Unity“. It states that management should establish cooperation and coordination.

It means joint work materializes the goal of an organization as a single effort is not enough. Cooperation increases a positive attitude toward the organization and its goals.

Teamwork with cooperation and coordination generates synergy which becomes the reason for organizational success.

What is the Importance of Principles of Management?

The answer to the question of why (how) management is so fit in every type of organization is these 14 principles. After reading these principles you may have known how these principles are related to boosting organizational performance.

These principles are the basic tools for managers to successfully manage people and things to run an organization. They may be different to some extent from each other but their fundamental goal is to increase efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and performance to achieve predetermined organizational goals and objectives. Thus, it is said that successful managers have depth knowledge of these 14 management principles.

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