Fayol's General and Industrial Management - Part 4
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
Philosophy and Beliefs
"By preference, I will adopt the term principles although dissociating it from any suggestion of rigidity because in the administrative matters there isn't anything rigid or absolute, everything is a matter of proportion."
Despite of his training oriented towards the exact sciences, Fayol had the capability to situate himself as for: a) understand that what he was helping create was a discipline within the field of the social sciences; and b) take enough distance from the exact sciences and equally achieving establishing, by using a rationality proper from the social sciences, a new action field and a revolutionary pile of knowledge which would constitute the new science of General Management.
a) About this, he established that "the principles are flexible and susceptible of adaptation to each need; it is a matter of knowing how to use them, which constitutes a difficult art that requires intelligence, experience, decisiveness, and a sense of proportion. Composed by the discretion and the experience, the proportion is one of the main attributes of the Manager."
b) Fayol shows that, in his country, the managers of companies of his times would be formed, mainly, in the French engineering schools: "The management doesn't even figure in the education programs of the superior engineering schools... the administrative capability can and should be acquired just as the technical capability"... The reason for this to happen "is due to the lack of doctrine: there isn't a consecrated administrative doctrine, product of the public discussion; there's only personal doctrines that recommend the most contradictory practices even though sometimes they are under one same principle. Is important then to establish as soon as possible an administrative doctrine."
The approach proposed by Fayol in the principle of Discipline is very interesting since it is based on the author's experience, who collects, throughout all his years of work, a very good concept of the workers.
We must attach then, to the philosophy and beliefs of Fayol, this important concept of which he was completely convinced and which he reaffirms through the rest of his book. It had to pass almost 50 years for theories (X and Y from Douhlas MCGregor) which would be based on the same grounds to appear.
"When a failure in the discipline appears or when the understanding or harmony between the bosses and the workers is not good, just negligently blaming this situation on the bad shape of the staff shouldn't be done; usually the problem is a consequence of the inability of the bosses. This is, at least, what I have seen in several regions of France."
Fayol never believed that the human being was just a rational and economical being who would just be motivated by the money; but he had a more holistic (from the Greek "Holos": embraces everything) point of view, worrying also for the social man, the self-fulfilled man, and from the reading of his work appears a notorious conception of the complex man.
"The administrative function has its only manifestation through the members of the organization (social force)... operates only over the staff." From there turns up the critical importance that the human resources have, for the author, for the proper operation of the organizations.
Notice here, the deep thinker who clarifies the relativity of his principles, the engineer who knows how to take certain distance from the exact sciences to deepen into a social science where the principles are not rigid but their application is a matter of measure, and demonstrating -its validity through time confirms it- that still, those principles are so valid as the principles of any other science.