Management Functions Essay

Henri Fayol was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management. His career began as a mining engineer, later moving into research geology for Comambault. The company was struggling however, Fayol turned the operation round. Upon retiring he published his works – a comprehensive theory of administration. Personal experience and observation were the basis of his theories in terms of what worked well in organisation. His aspiration for an “administrative science” brought a set of principles that any organisation must apply in order to run both effectively and efficiently. In this report I will give and explanation of Fayol’s seven functions of management and how a person in the construction industry may use them to ensure tasks are completed efficiently. Henri Fayol’s seven functions of management are as follows:

* Forecasting
* Planning
* Organisation
* Control
* Co-ordination
* Communication
* Motivation

Forecasting

Forecasting is a critical component of management. Reliable predictions need to be made about the final duration and cost of projects starting from the inception stage. It is necessary for these predictions to be revised and compared with the projects objectives to distinguish any early warnings against potential problems. The effectiveness of the projects control therefore relies on the management’s capability to make reliable predictions in a timely manner. Financial forecasts, work load forecasts and resource forecasts should be carried out regularly for any business, organisation or project.

Planning

Planning is an essential part of business growth and development; it is the process for accomplishing purpose. It helps in deciding what objectives are in both quantitative and qualitative terms. A manager must determine the goals of the organisation and how the achieve them. Setting objectives for the goal and following up on the execution of the plan are critical components of the planning function. When planning in construction we must always assume that there are alternative courses of action available. The best course of action must be selected for the conditions which exist. It is good practice to take into account feedback from previous plans or projects. If the planning process has been carried out correctly it should be possible to see; the total job done and the total resources available.

Organisation

This is one of the most important management functions. Properly implementing the organising function can make or break a business enterprise. Organisation comprises of:

* Defining and distributing the responsibilities and duties of various personnel in the organisation
* The formulation and implementation of standard procedures, preferred methods of working and operating instructions
* Recording types of formal relationships that exist between personnel; the pattern of accountability and paths of communication In developing an organisational structure and distributing authority, a manager’s decision should therefore reflect the objectives, goals and tactics that came from the planning function. Specifically they decide; the division of labour, departmentalisation, delegation of authority, the span of control and co-ordination.

Control

The object of the control function is to monitor current progress against predetermined targets and establish whether the deployment of resources needs to be adjusted to achieve the desired objective. An effective system of control can establish realistic terms of output cost and quality. It can also provide a good means of measuring current performance against plans, goals and objectives. It should concentrate on essentials, be economical, timely and acceptable within the organisation. For a construction project this programme of works is essential as it illustrates what works should be carried out at a particular time on site and who should be carrying them out. The programme can be regularly updated and taking to meetings to establish what delays have occurred and what impact the may have on the programme overall.

Co-ordination

Co-ordination is the bringing together of a work force and the activities they are to perform, in such a manner that they are achieved with maximum efficiency and harmony. It is a product of the organising function however; it must be achieved throughout the organisations structure.

Here are some of what I would consider to be the most important co-ordination activities in construction:
* Ensuring the timeliness of work carried out
* Maintaining records of all drawings information, verbal instructions, directives and documents received from both clients and consultants
* Managing the quality of work
* Liaising with clients and consultants
* Identifying delays and strategic activities

Communication
The goal of communication is to convey information and the understanding of that information, from one person or group to another person or group. The efficiency and effectiveness of the construction process depend heavily on the quality of communication.

Throughout the construction process the people involved can communicate via email, word of mouth, drawings, written instruction, specification or schedules. It is important for a person working within the construction industry to be approachable and easy to communicate with, this will help to ensure that instructions are not misunderstood and delays do not occur.

Motivation
People are an organisations most valuable asset, to meet targets and plans the work force must have the necessary enthusiasm. The methods of motivation should be tailored to the needs of both the work force and the organisation.

These needs can be divided into three categories:
* Social – The relationship with other employees or supervisors, the working environment, acceptance
* Creative – Job satisfaction, achievement
* Economic – Job security and continuity, wages, further training and future prospects, pensions

Conclusion
In conclusion, Fayol’s classical management functions are the foundation of management. I think that for any business, organisation or management team to succeed in its chosen sector, a full practical and theoretical knowledge of his seven functions of management are essential. Although they have been modified so that they are applicable in modern organisations they are still both relevant and effective.

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