Some of the major functions of management according to henry fayol are as follows:

Different theorists have cut the pie of management in pieces of different size and shape.

Some classify the functions of management as few as three while others even in more than a dozen. Various experts have classified functions of management.


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Classification of Functions of Management:

Management Thinkers List of Functions
1. Henry Fayol 1. Planning, organising, command­ing coordinating and controlling (5).
2. Lyndall Urwick 2. Planning, organising, command­ing coordinating, communicating, for-casting and investigation (7).
3. Maynard and Barger 3. Planning, Executing, reviewing (3).
4. Luther Gullick 4. Coined the word POSDCORB to describe the functions: planning, organising, staffing, directing, coordinating, responding and budgeting (7).
5. Newman and Summar 5. Planning, organising, leading and controlling (4).
6. Knootz and O’Donnell 6. Planning, organising (staffing), directing, leading and control­ling (5).
7. James A. Stoner 7. Planning, organizing, leading, controlling (4).
8. Harold Smiddy 8. Summed up in self-coined word POIM: planning, organising, integration and measuring (4).
9. G.R. Terry 9. Planning, organising, motivation controlling (4).

Henry Fayol, a French mining engineer and contemporary of F.W. Taylor, is called the ‘Father of General Management’ or ‘Francis Bacon of Management.’ His book ‘General and Industrial Administration’ was originally published in French in 1915 and its English translation was published in 1929.

Most of the management writers agree on the classification of Henry Fayol regarding managerial functions: planning, organizing, commanding (actuating), coordinating and controlling. In the following pages, an attempt has been made to describe the above five main functions.

1. Planning:

For success in business management, it would be better to remember the following lines of Rudyard Kipling:


I keep six honest serving men, They taught me all I knew;

Their names are what and where and when, And how and why and who.

Whenever a number of individuals come together and decide to achieve a common goal, planning becomes essential. It involves deciding, in advance, what to do, how to do, when to do, who to do and where to do it.


Planning assists to bridge the gap between where we are to where we want to go. Plan­ning is deciding in the present about the future. It means what is to be done, and how, when, where and by whom it is to be done.

In the opinion of Alford and Beatty, “Planning is the think­ing process, the organized foresight, the vision based on facts and experience that is required for intelligent action.” The attributes of planning are:

1. It is an intellectual (mental thinking) process.

2. It is a pre-action stage function and futurity is the root of planning.


3. Planning proceeds all other managerial functions. Before planning there is nothing to organize, direct and control.

4. It is not a stray function—it is a continuous, flexible and never-ending activity.

5. Planning is pervasive and has a broad coverage.

It should cover the entire enterprise, its segments and every levels of management. Planning process implies interwoven following steps-setting the objectives, collecting and analyzing information, determine alternative courses of action, weighing (evaluating) alternative courses, selecting the best course of action, developing sub-plans, implementing and following up the plan.


Some of the important benefits from planning are:

1. To face the uncertainties of future,

2. To adapt and adjust to changing environment,

3. To prevent hasty decisions,


4. To reduce the overall cost,

5. To improve the morale and motivation,

6. To bring unity in through and action, and

7. To exercise effective control.


Planning is indispensable and basis for all other managerial functions. As Knootz and O’Donnell have rightly pointed out, “without planning business becomes random in nature, and decisions become meaningless, ad hoc choices.”

Without planning, an enterprise would soon disintegrate, its actions would be as random as leaves scampering before an autumn wind, and its employees as confused as ants in an unturned anthill.

In spite of its basic necessity, planning has not been as widely adopted as it deserves. In fact, it suffers from some practical limitations:

1. Oftently, managers are reluctant to plan because it is seen as in important, time consuming, costly and tedious mental process. It demands serious thinking, tremend­ous amount of paper-work and time. Most managers do not like to undergo such a hard and painful mental work which may or may not produce results. Managers tend to prefer to be doers, not thinkers. Planning is the thinking process and managers being men of action, should have no use for it.

2. Well-determined plans force the management and employees into a straight jacket and leave no room for their initiative. The rigid plans discourage individual initiative and freedom. It also promotes red-tapism and unnecessary delay in work performance.

3. Planning is an empty academic exercise in a fast chang­ing environment. It is difficult for planners to forecast the government policies, human behaviour, competition, strikes, look-outs, wars, earthquakes, etc. Future is a moving target and external factors are beyond the planners’ control.


4. If some changes occur in the organization due to plan­ning, generally it is opposed by employees. New policies compel them to change their old way of working so they resist the change and planning.

2. Organizing:

The word ‘organizing’ originates from the word organ which means parts (components). Organizing means a system in which parts work together. The two important ingredients of organizing are—(a) parts and (b) their relationship.

The parts consist of human and physical resources. G.R. Terry defines organizing as “the establishment of effective authority relationships among selected work, persons, and work places in order for the group to work together efficiently.” The process of organizing involves the following steps:

1. Listing all necessary activities to achieve the goal,

2. Group the work into departments,

3. Designating the head of each group of department,


4. Assign qualified personnel for work,

5. Delegating the authority and responsibility,

6. Establishing formal reporting relationship.

Organizing is the key function of managers and organization is an inescapable part of our lives. We are born in organizations, educated by organizations and most of us spend much of our lives working for organizations.

Man is an incurable trouble maker, but efficient organizations force him to cooperate with other. Good organization avoids confusions, misunderstandings, laggards, lethargy and disloyalty. Organization is an important tool to achieve enterprise objectives.

3. Actuating:

After plans have been made, the structure of the organization has been determined, and the staff has been recruited and trained, the next step is to arrange for movement towards the organization’s defined objectives.


This function can be called by various names: leading, directing, motivating, actuating and others. But whatever the name used to identify it, this function involves getting the members of the organization to perform in ways that will help it to achieve its established objectives.According to Dimock, “The heart of administration is the directing function which involves determining the scope, giving orders and instructions and providing the dynamic leadership.”

The main aspects of actuating are: leading, supervision, motivation and communication. Leading means to lead and hold command the followers (subordinates). Supervision refers to the direct and immediate overseeing employees at work. Motivation is the work of a manager to inspire, encourage and impel people to work willingly for achieving the desired goal. Motivating is the morale boosting function.

Communication is defined as human interchange of facts and opinions. It is a systematic two-way traffic of telling, listening and understanding. These four aspects of actuating (directing) are interconnected and continuous activity. Directing is always done by boss not by the subordinates. It bridges the gap between managerial decisions and actual actions.

4. Controlling:

Control and evaluation are the two nodes of the same process. Controlling ensures that activities are producing the desired results. It is limited to monitoring the outcome of activities, reviewing feedback information about the outcome and if necessary, taking corrective action.

“Controlling is the checking of current performance against pre-determined standards contained in the plans, with a view to ensuring adequate progress and satisfactory performance and also recording the experience gained from the working of these plans as a guide to possible future operations.” The characteristics of controlling can be derived as following on the basis of its meaning:

1. It is an end function,


2. It is continuous and dynamic activity,

3. It is mainly forward-looking,

4. Controlling is a pervasive function,

5. It is a normative and positive force,

6. It allows the organization to cope with uncertainty, and

7. It helps guiding and integrating employee’s behaviour toward broader organizational goals. The controlling process involves four steps: establishment of standards, measurement of actual performance, comparison of performance with standard, and taking corrective actions.


Controlling is the effective counterpart of planning. Although planning appears glamorous and controlling appears annoying but planning is a futile exercise without controlling. Controlling involves keeping the organizational activities on right track and aligned with plans. Without an adequate set of controls, the best laid plans of managers will remain imagination and a white elephant. Planning without control is meaningless and control without planning is a wasted effort.

5. Coordinating:

Coordinating is the essence of management for the achieve­ment of harmony of individual efforts towards the accomplish­ment of group goals. To quote Dalton E. McFarland, “Coordination is the process whereby and executive develops an orderly pattern of group effort among his subordinates and secure unity, of action in the pursuit of common purpose.”

The manager coordinates internally and externally. In internal coordination the other managerial functions viz., planning, organizing, actuating and controlling are coordinated within the constitution. In external coordination the manager coordinates with outsiders as, government, public, trade unions, other enterprises, politicians etc.

In a business concern, with a large number of persons working at different levels and performing diverse activities, it became essential to synchronies the work at each level, and in the organization as a whole.