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In this lesson, we will review Henri Fayol’s 14 Management Principles. We will also go into more detail about one of these principles – the Scalar Chain – and when you should use the Gang Plank in the workplace.

Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management

Henri Fayol (1841-1925) worked for many years as a manager of a mining company in France.

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He developed his own ideas about managing while serving as the chief executive officer (CEO). He believed that all supervisors of a company, from line supervisors to the president, should receive managerial training.Fayol developed a list of principles of management to help him become a better manager. He believed that there were more than 14 of them, but chose to focus on those he found to be the most useful in his own career. The 14 principles that Fayol concentrated on were:

  • Division of work
  • Authority & responsibility
  • Discipline
  • Principle of one boss
  • Unity of direction
  • Subordination of individual interests to the general interest
  • Fair remuneration
  • Centralization & de-centralization
  • Scalar chain
  • Order
  • Equity
  • Stability of tenure of personnel
  • Initiative
  • Esprit de corps (building harmony and unity)

Scalar Chain

Fayol believed in constant communication between supervisors and employees. Fayol defines the scalar chain as the chain of supervisors ranging from the ultimate authority to the lowest rank.

An employee should feel free to contact his supervisor about anything through the scalar chain. Every order, message, request, instruction or explanation has to pass through the scalar chain. This path shows a company’s line of authority and the links through which communications are transmitted from the top to the bottom of a company and back.

To avoid possible communication delays, Fayol developed a ‘gang plank’. A gang plank is a temporary arrangement between two different points to make communicating quicker and easier. In the figure shown here, if D has to communicate with G, D will send the communication upwards through C, B, A and then downwards through E and F. It would take some time before G actually got the message. With a gang plank, D can communicate directly with G.

Scalar Chain with the Gang Plank

Lesson Summary

Henri Fayol spent a lot of time trying to improve communications between supervisors and employees. Fayol developed the scalar chain, which is the chain of supervisors ranging from the ultimate authority to the lowest rank. He believed that some business problems require an immediate answer, so sometimes employees need to bypass the scalar chain and utilize the gang plank.Fayol’s principles were intended to be a guide for managers to use while also pursuing efficiency, order, and stability.

Fayol’s ideas were revolutionary during his time. His ideas and principles influence management thinking to this day. For this reason, Fayol is known as the ‘Father of Modern Management’.

Learning Outcomes

When you are done, you should be able to:

  • Recite Fayol’s 14 most important principles of management
  • Explain Fayol’s concept of the scalar chain
  • Recall the purpose of the gang plank in the scalar chain

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