Working in a management role comes with many challenges. From supervising various teams of employees to seeking to resolve personnel issues, managers have a big responsibility when it comes to overseeing operations.

Though there are a wide variety of management tools and research available today, there were far fewer resources for managers in the past. Theorist Henri Fayol recognized the skill gap in 1914 and devised a set of 14 management principles that serve today as a foundation of modern management theory, according to Pestle Analysis.

Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management

Fayol’s 14 principles represent a pioneering theory of management and provide a look at effective management. Though management theory has expanded extensively since Fayol’s time, he is considered to be “one of the most influential contributors to the modern management concept,” Pestle Analysis says. Modern managers can learn from Fayol’s principles and apply them to their daily responsibilities.

Principles of Management


  1. Division of Work: Managers should be able to divide work among their employees so that each individual team member has a clear responsibility to focus on. When employees have specialized roles, they become more efficient and skilled in their work.

  2. Authority and Responsibility: Because managers act as supervisors for their direct reports, they have the authority to assign tasks and make sure that employees carry them out successfully. This responsibility comes with a duty to do so in a responsible way, so ethics play a key role in this principle.

  1. Discipline: While it’s important to maintain discipline among employees, this is another area where ethics come into play. Managers should be judicious about when discipline is required and carry it out in a responsible manner. Establishing clear policies and processes ensures that fairness is maintained.

  1. Unity of Command: To avoid confusion and conflict, Fayol argued that it was best for employees to have one direct supervisor.

  1. Unity of Direction: Closely tied to Unity of Command, this principle involves working toward a central business goal. Teams should have a clear sense of their goals and use the same processes to achieve them. This allows for efforts that save time in the long run.

  1. Subordination of Individual Interests: This is another principle that is primarily about ownership and goals. It suggests that the interest of the group should be more important than personal interests, even (and perhaps especially) in the case of the manager, Pestle Analysis says.

  1. Remuneration: Employees should receive fair pay as a way to ensure job satisfaction and loyalty. Other benefits and perks fall under this category as well, as it refers to both financial and non-financial compensation.

  1. Centralization: Centralization “refers to how involved employees are in the decision-making process,” and this principle suggests that managers maintain a balance. “The degree of centralization or decentralization a firm should adopt depends on the specific organization,” Pestle Analysis suggests.

  1. Scalar Chain: This term refers to an organization’s hierarchy. Fayol posited that each employee should understand his or her position within the larger structure of a business. Each member of an organization has a certain amount of authority, with leadership having the most and entry-level employees having the least.

  1. Order: This principle is about ensuring that the workplace is both safe and orderly. It also suggests that employees in the same role should all be treated equally with no favoritism. This ensures teamwork and coordination.

  1. Equity: One of the most important tenets of successful management is fairness. Managers should therefore maintain high standards for discipline as well as being kind and fair to employees.

  1. Stability of Tenure of Personnel: Reducing turnover is an important element of effective management as well. Keeping high-performing workers around for the long term should be a top priority for most managers, as it builds a functional culture and saves resources involved in recruiting, hiring and training new staff.

  1. Initiative: Though maintaining proper hierarchy is important, employees also need autonomy to perform to the best of their ability. Management should encourage workers to take on projects that interest them.

  1. Espirit de Corps: This principle is all about developing a sense of unity or “team spirit” among employees. By creating a positive company culture, managers can maintain a high level of job satisfaction.

Starting a Career in Business Management

In 1914, Fayol published his principles and provided managers with the tools they needed for success. He created a more streamlined and effective management style that enabled managers of the 20th century to supervise and build successful relationships with their employees.

While Fayol’s work revolutionized management practices during his time, his 14 principles are still utilized in some form by managers today, making them “a stabilizing force in the modern workplace” in a time of rapid change and globalization, according to Chron Small Business.

The fully online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management degree program from West Virginia State University teaches students the skills required for leadership positions in today’s business world. Learn more about WVSU’s online business programs.