Theories of Fayol and Maslow

Categories: Treatise


This essay illustrates the ideas of Henri Fayol and Abraham Maslow and their application to Suzie's job as a manager. According to Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter (2003, p.6), a manager is defined as someone who works with and through other people by coordinating their work activities in order to accomplish organizational goals. In this case, Suzie's job as a manager required her to work with and through the supervisor and employees to run the store more effectively. In addition, Suzie also had to motivate her employees to work more efficiently.

Fayol's perspective of the overall success of an organization was to include the formulation of goals, strategies and plans and to work through others to ensure that these activities were implement. These principles also had to be supplemented and supported by discipline and anticipation (Wren, 1995; 2001). Fayol also believed that management could be taught and was concerned about improving the quality of management (Schermerhorn, Campling, Poole and Wiesner, 2004, p.98).

Maslow's theory of motivation, on the other hand, took a more psychological approach, which focused on employee motivation.

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This theory proposed that within every person lied a hierarchy of five needs - starting with physiological needs and ascending to safety, social, esteem and finally, self-actualization needs. Hence, in order to motivate a person, Maslow stated that lowest level needs must be substantially satisfied before the next level can be activated and so on (Robbins et al., 2003, pp.445-446).

Application of Fayol's Concepts

In order for Suzie to apply Fayol's administrative theory of management, she must understand that the responsibility of general management is to lead the enterprise toward its objective by making effective and efficient use of available resources (Wren, 2001).

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Fayol identified five functions that are rules of his administrative doctrine. They are namely planning, organizing, co-coordinating, commanding and controlling (Fells, 2000). According to Reid (1995), Fayol had shown sustained effort that his administrative principles could be applied to all social organizations from the family to the state. In the case of the grocery store, Suzie and her employees are like a small family with Suzie being the head and her employees are her children.

The first of the five functions is planning. It is the examining of the future and laying out steps and actions to be taken (Fells, 2000). Suzie's plan of action was to find out what was being done at the grocery store everyday and from there, she had to plan the kind of goals she wanted to achieve. The plan of action is arguably the most important stage of management as it gives a clear and concise idea about the organization's goals.

Second in line is organizing. This aspect layers the lines of authority and responsibility (Fells, 2000). Suzie organized meetings with the staff to discuss ways to manage the store more efficiently and also to delegate various tasks to specific employees. Next, co-coordinating lays out the timing and sequence of activities (Fells, 2000). Suzie coordinated the tasks by gathering information and suggestions from her employees and than coordinated the work activities to maximise efficiency. After which, commanding puts the plan into action (Fells, 2000) and Suzie instructing the supervisor to prepare a list of the stores activities is an example on turning planning into action.

Lastly, controlling is to monitor the action of plans (Fells, 2000). Suzie would have to observe the workings of the store to see if everything was done according to plan and working in order. This function was exemplified when Suzie called the city inspector to check if the fridge temperatures were within the acceptable range.

In addition to the above five functions, Fayol also included another 14 principles. He stressed that the principles must be flexible and adaptable to the situation at hand (Fells, 2000). The principles of management were aimed at helping managers manage more effectively through division of work, authority and responsibility, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interests to the common good, remuneration of personnel, centralization, scalar chain, order, equity, stability of tenure of personnel, initiative and lastly, esprit de corps (Rodriques, 2001).

A number of them can be applied to Suzie's management of the grocery store. Firstly, the division of work principle proposes that work can be performed more efficiently and productively if it is divided into smaller elements and assigned to specific workers (Rodriques, 2001). If Suzie can determine which employee does what he or she knows best during the staff meeting, the result would be a most efficient output. Also, there must be a fair distribution of work among employees to avoid dissatisfaction and inequity.

Secondly, the authority and responsibility principle state that managers require formal and/or informal authority and responsibility to carry out their managerial duties responsibly (Rodriques, 2001). Suzie asked the supervisor to write a list of weekly and daily business activities. Her position gave her the authority to have orders carried out. She also felt that it was her responsibility to take an initiative in getting the store back in order.

Thirdly, the discipline principle suggests organizations require rules and procedures that are aimed at attaining good employee discipline and obedience (Rodriques, 2001). Suzie must ensure that strict rules and procedures were in place and that the staff abided by rules to uphold good discipline. This would ensure that incidents like money missing from the cash register would not happen again.

Fourthly, the unity of command principle states that for any action taken, an employee should receive orders from one superior only (Rodriques, 2001). In the case of the grocery store, the supervisor would receive orders from Suzie and the other employees would receive orders from the supervisor. This would ensure that different people do not give employees different orders, as that would cause confusion.

Fifthly, the order principle states that everyone and everything should be in their right place and right time (Rodriques, 2001). Suzie must ensure that stocks were replenished on the shelves at all times and not left lying useless in the storeroom, like in the case of the firecrackers.

Lastly, the equity principle mentions the fairness that results from managers being kind and just toward their subordinates will lead to devoted and loyal service (Rodriques, 2001). Suzie disregarded her managerial position by making the staff feel comfortable to share their ideas in managing the store more efficiently. The initiative principle can also be applied in this case as 'employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort' (Robbins and Barnwell, 1998, p.30).

Application of Maslow's Concepts

Moving on to Maslow's theory, it is assumed that when an individual has the knowledge and skills to perform his or her job, a manager can influence their motivation to achieve levels of excellence (Seath, 1993). Hence, Suzie can apply Maslow's theory to motivate her employees.

Maslow's five needs are arranged in a hierarchy of importance that can be described as prepotency. The higher-level needs are not important and will not manifest till lower-needs are met and satisfied (Cherrington, Nyal and Mcmullin, 1989, p.170). This hierarchy can also be divided into two orders of needs. The lower-order needs are physiological, safety and social concerns, and the higher-order needs are esteem and self-actualization concerns (Schermerhorn et al., 2004, p.380).

Physiological needs include food, water, air and shelter. Suzie gave her employees a job so that they can earn money and provide shelter and food for themselves. That would satisfy their physiological needs. Next, security and safety needs mean feeling secure and un-threatened. The cashier probably felt threatened when the supervisor yelled at her. Hence Suzie should tell the supervisor to be more polite and courteous to the employees. Suzie should also install security alarm systems to help the employees and customers feel safer. Lastly, social needs are the needs to feel love and belonging (Kelly, 2002). Suzie arranged the staff meeting to introduce herself to the employees and vice-versa. This would help staff feel like they belonged to the organization and feel at ease with each other. This would strengthen their working relationship and create a more harmonious work environment. In addition, Suzie could also organize staff outings to encourage more bonding sessions.

With the higher-level needs, esteem needs like respect, self-worthiness and recognition must first be fulfilled before self-actualization. Encouraging the staff to give ideas and solutions to potential problems would make them feel like they have an important role to play in the store. 'Employee of the month' awards could also be handed out to encourage the staff to be more participative and take initiative. Lastly, self-actualization is the highest order of Maslow's needs. It is the feeling of accepting oneself and others and reaching self-fulfillment (Kelly, 2002). When Suzie has succeeded in achieving all goals like a more efficiently run store and a more motivated workforce, she would have reached self-actualization.


In conclusion, Fayol's ideas of the five functions and 14 principles are good frameworks for managers to follow if they want to manage more efficiently and effectively. Maslow's ideas on how an individual behaves in a working environment has helped us understand the importance of motivation complementing administration from a managerial point of view.

These two concepts complemented each other as they helped managers better manage administratively and psychologically. It depicted how effectively and efficiently a workplace should function and how employees should be motivated to commit and perform at their best. Hence, Fayol and Maslow's ideas and concepts have indeed helped us understand Suzie's job of getting things done through people.

List of References

Cherrington, D.J., Nyal, D. & Mcmullin, B. (1989), Organizational Behavior: The Management of Individual and Organizational Performance, Allyn and Bacon, United States of America.

Fells, M.J. (2000), "Fayol stands the test of time", Journal of Management History, Vol.6, Iss.8, p.345.

Kelly, P. (2002), "Revisiting Maslow", Workspan, Vol.45, Iss.5, pp. 50-56.

Reid, D. (1995), "Fayol: from experience to theory", Journal of Management History, Vol.1, Iss.3, p.21.

Robbins, S. & Barnwell N. (1998), Organization Theory: Concepts and Cases, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, Sydney.

Robbins, S.P., Bergman, R., Stagg, I. and Coulter, M. (2003), Management, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Australia, China.

Rodrigues, C.A. (2001), "Fayol's 14 principles of management then and now: A framework for managing today's organizations efficiently", Management Decision Vol.39, Iss.10, pp.880-890.

Schermerhorn, J.R., Campling, J., Poole, D. and Weisner, R (2004), Management: An Asian-Pacific Perspective, John Wiley and Sons Australia Ltd, Singapore.

Seath, I. (1993), "Turning theory into practice", Managing Service Quality, Iss. Nov 1993, pp.35-37.

Wren, D.A (1995), "Henri Fayol: learning from experience", Journal of Management History, Vol.1, Iss.3, p.5.

Wren, D.A. (2001), "Henri Fayol as strategist: A nineteenth century corporate turnaround", Management Decision, Vol. 39, Iss.5/6, pp.475-488.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Theories of Fayol and Maslow. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from

Theories of Fayol and Maslow essay
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