Fayol vs. Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management
Fayol has been regarded by many as the father of the modern operational management theory, and his ideas have become a fundamental part of modern management concepts. Fayol is often compared to Frederick Winslow Taylor who developed Scientific Management. Taylor’s Scientific Management deals with the efficient organization of production in the context of a competitive enterprise that is concerned with controlling its production costs. Taylor’s system of scientific management is the cornerstone of classical theory. Fayol was also a classical theorist, and referred to Taylor in his writing and considered him to be a visionary and pioneer in the management of organizations.
However, Fayol differed from Taylor in his focus. Taylor’s main focus was on the task, whereas Fayol was more concerned with management. Another difference between the two theorists is their treatment of workers. Fayol appears to have slightly more respect for the worker than Taylor had, as evidenced by Fayol’s proclamation that workers may indeed be motivated by more than just money. Fayol also argued for equity in the treatment of workers.
According to Claude George (1968), a primary difference between Fayol and Taylor was that Taylor viewed management processes from the bottom up, while Fayol viewed it from the top down. In Fayol’s book General and Industrial Management, Fayol wrote that “Taylor’s approach differs from the one we have outlined in that he examines the firm from the bottom up.” He starts with the most elemental units of activity—the workers’ actions—then studies the effects of their actions on productivity, devises new methods for making them more efficient, and applies what he learns at lower levels to the hierarchy”…(Fayol, 1987, p. 43). He suggests that Taylor has staff analysts and advisors working with individuals at lower levels of the organization to identify the ways to improve efficiency. According to Fayol, the approach results in a “negation of the principle of unity of command”. Fayol criticized Taylor’s functional management in this way. “… the most marked outward characteristics of functional management lies in the fact that each workman, instead of coming in direct contact with the management at one point only, … receives his daily orders and help from eight different bosses…”(Fayol, 1949, p. 68.) Those eight, Fayol said, were (1) route clerks, (2) instruction card men, (3) cost and time clerks, (4) gang bosses, (5) speed bosses, (6) inspectors, (7) repair bosses, and the (8) shop disciplinarian (p. 68). This, he said, was an unworkable situation, and that Taylor must have somehow reconciled the dichotomy in some way not described in Taylor’s works.
Fayol’s desire for teaching a generalized theory of management stemmed from the belief that each individual of an organization at one point or another takes on duties that involve managerial decisions. Unlike Taylor, however, who believed management activity was the exclusive duty of an organizations dominant class. Fayol’s approach was more in sync with his idea of Authority, which stated, “that the right to give orders should not be considered without the acceptance and understanding of responsibility.”
Noted as one of the early fathers of the Human Relations movements, Fayol expressed ideas and practices which differed from Taylor in that they showed flexibility and adaptation as well as stressed the importance of interpersonal interaction among employees.