Emil Păun and Anca Nedelcu

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III. 3. Principles of Management

Management, as any other science, is based on a set of principles or fundamental ideas and general theses that guide managers in their activity.

Although such principles can be found in the works of the ‘parents’ of management, Fr. Taylor and H. Fayol, a consensus has not been reached yet with regard to the number and the content of these principles.

In his work, “La direction scientifique des enterprises”, Taylor identifies four such principles:

  • Developing a “science” for each job, which is going to include movement rules, a standardized activity and proper working conditions;

  • Carefully selecting the individuals that have the proper skills for that job;
  • Carefully training the people to do their job, providing incentives for applying scientific rules in their activity:
  • Supporting the people in their activities, by planning their tasks and by alternating the aspects that might appear in their activity.

Taylor and his followers failed to understand the psychological and sociological implications of work and considered that conflicts could be avoided through cooperation, if both managers and workers knew what was expected from them and what benefits they could have if the objectives of the organization were reached.

In exchange, H. Fayol put forward 16 principles for guiding managers’ way of thinking and acting in complying with their managerial tasks:

    1. The principle of autonomy, responsibility and authority.

    2. The principle of work discipline.

    3. The principle of command unity.

    4. The principle of action unity.

    5. The principle of subordinating particular to general interest.

    6. Personnel salaries.

    7. Centralization – decentralization.

    8. Leadership hierarchy.

    9. The principle of order.

    10. The principle of equity.

    11. Personnel stability.

    12. The principle of initiative.

    13. Personnel cohesion.

    14. Permanent training.

    15. Innovative leadership.

    16. Allow daily five minutes for reflection.

The specialists mention the fact that Fayol never suggested the necessity to strictly observe these principles and considered that they should be implemented according to each particular circumstance. Consequently, these are flexible management principles, adaptable to a high number of cases.

Other perspectives underlines other additional principles

  • The principle of efficiency increase

  • The principle of economic management

  • The principle of management and accountability unity

  • The principle of professional competency and staff motivation

  • The principle of flexibility.

Given all the above, we believe that, for any given field of activity, it is possible to equally operate with two sets of principles:

A.     Principles valid for every field of activity (such as the principle of order or the principle of correlating resources and objectives).

B.     Principles specific to a certain field of activity (such as the principle of command unity in the army or the pedagogical principles – for developing the teaching process).

Of course, these principles could be subjected to an analysis and assessment process, followed by various debates (involving politicians, educational managers from various levels, researchers, specialists), which will establish the set of principles considered to reflect the needs of the third millennium.


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© Universitatea din Bucureşti 2003. All rigths reserved. No part of the text may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the University of Bucharest, except for short quotations with the indication of the website adress and the web page. This book was first published by Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti ISBN: 973-575-815-6
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