Life and Works of Henri Fayol

1585 Words Feb 8th, 2010 7 Pages
Introduction
This topic paper covers the overview of the life of management theorist, Henri Fayol, the development of his key works, and looks into the environment which influenced Fayol’s development of theories. This paper also gives a review of relevance of his theories in today’s context.

Biography
Born in 1841 in Istanbul, Turkey, Henri Fayol received his education at a mining school at Saint Etienne and graduated in 1860. He started off as an engineer in a mining company, Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambeault-Decazeville in Commentry. He was later appointed as the Director in 1888 (Wren & Bedeian 2009).
Fayol realized managerial ability was required for businesses to succeed and should be taught in schools. He therefore developed
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Fayol noted that mathematical skills were not only redundant at work, but also left the younger generations unequipped with the necessary skills to succeed the retiring engineers. He called for a change in the way subjects were taught in school, where subjects not useful at work should be removed, and practical work should be introduced to prepare the students for work. He believed that administration is an art of handling people where practice makes perfect (Fayol, 1930).

Economic Influence
The following section seeks to discuss the economic conditions which influenced Henri Fayol and the development of his theories.
Since 1860s, the companies in central France were weakened by competition from the east and north of France, with the development of metallurgical institutions. It posed a threat to the profits and existence to companies in central France (Wren, Bedeian & Breeze, 2002).
In 1871, France lost the war with Germany, which destroyed the French economy (Pierre, 1984). From 1882 to 1887, France faced a depression in the iron and steel industry.
In 1888, Henri Fayol was appointed president when the company was declining. By 1888, Comambault have not been paying dividends since 1885. Its facilities were making losses, and the coal deposits at Commentry and Montvicq were depleting (Wren, Bedeian & Breeze, 2002). In short, the company was…