Fayol's Functions of Management

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To what extent are Fayol’s functions of management relevant in today’s predominantly service economy? Discuss.

Fayol’s functions of management are as relevant today, just as they have been a century ago, both theoretically and practically. Though under harsh scrutiny by some theorists as an oversimplified theory of management, this essay argues that Fayol’s functions are not just part of a grand theory, they form a basis for all managerial work. In addition, Fayol’s functions are seen as flexible and malleable, adding to their application to today’s world. This essay also suggests that today’s predominantly service economy, as fast paced and ephemeral as it is, is a stark proof of Fayol’s theory’s success. The position is taken that
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Further, this explains how Fayol’s functions can be suited to a variety of managerial and organisational contexts.

It is the combinational property of flexibility and authority that make Fayol’s four functions relevant today, even in a predominantly service economy. Managers today have had to learn to plan and organise better than before in order to offer services beyond the physical product, they had to learn to become stronger leaders in order to push away from traditional “bricks and mortar” markets and have had to learn to be controlling in ensuring a smooth transition. Furthermore, they allowed managers to become organisational experts, rather than skills experts, and hence the ability to work with large markets and economies than physical products and machinery (Pryor & Taneja, 2010). In addition, these four functions have been so extensively used that management today is virtually synonymous with them, if not structured around them (Lamond, 2003).

It is useful then, to see what happens when Fayol’s functions are not observed, as in the case of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDP). In this heavily service organisation (offering anything from medication to dietary health programs to planning for the state’s health future), the repercussions of ignoring Fayol’s principles were a public scandal circulating
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