Managers are imperative for the effective functioning of any organization. They occupy the middle ground in an organization (Chapman 2001), and they coordinate and oversee the work of other employees in order to ensure that all work is carried out efficiently and effectively. Additionally, managers have other tasks to carry out, tasks that are not related to the work assigned to other employees. There are three key roles of managers; Interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles. Interpersonal roles refer to leadership activities, informational roles involve monitoring activities, and decisional roles include entrepreneur activities and negotiating activities. This division of managerial roles was put forward by Henry Mintzberg (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter 2009).
The manager I have interviewed for the purpose of this essay is Shamal de Sylva (who will be referred to as Mr. S from here on), the managing director of TeaLink pvt ltd (which will be referred to as Company T). He has been working in the business of tea for over thirty years and is now the top level manager at Company T. Company T is a medium sized tea export company based in Sri Lanka. They export their goods to companies across the globe, some being Starbucks in the United States of America, Sara Lee in Europe, Cambiaso Hnos in Chile, and Wollenhaupt in Germany. As a tea trading company, they focus on these packers and supply them with their raw material, which is tea. The buyer does the final packing at the destination. As they are not a company that is involved in branding, Company T is not a competitor to larger companies.
The purpose of this essay is to analyze and evaluate whether or not Fayol’s four functions are relevant to the work of the manager I have interviewed. Henri Fayol was a French industrialist who put forward a theory that stated that all managers perform five functions, these being planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter 2009). These five factors were gradually abbreviated to four, expelling the ‘commanding’ factor. The reactions evoked by Fayol’s theory were both positive and negative. Urwick described him as “the greatest of the European pioneers of management”(Gerard Griffin 1998 p.3). Mintzberg however, described Fayol as “folklore” which does not have contemporary relevance (Gerard Griffin 1998, p.3). Regardless, critics like Carroll and Gillen have recently stated that Fayol’s management functions ‘still represent the most useful way of conceptualizing the manager’s job’ (Gerard Griffin 1998, p.3).
One of the reason why Fayol’s four functions are essential to managers is because as managers are responsible for the organization achieving its goals (Hales 1999), they must clearly plan out how they are planning on achieving those goals. This is the first aspect Fayol identified; planning. Mr. S is very much involved in defining Company T’s goals and also how best to...