notion that an employee should receive orders from one superior alone was a

Notion that an employee should receive orders from

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notion that an employee should receive orders from one superior alone, was a necessary prerequisite to the attainment of unity of direc- tion (see: Fayol, 1949, pp. 24–26). However, Fayol’s commitment to unity of command as a means to achieving unity of direction does not mean he wished to deny the value of employee participation in the decision-making, goal-setting and planning processes. Indeed, Fayol’s thoughts on the value of ‘initiative’ illustrate that he had a great deal of respect for practical and motiva- tional benefits of employee participation and involvement. ‘Thinking out a plan and ensuring its success is one of the keenest satisfactions for an intelligent man [sic] to experience. It is also one of the most powerful stimulants of human endeavour . . . At all levels of the organizational ladder, zeal and energy on the part of employees are augmented by initiative. The initiative of all . . . represents a great source of strength for business . . . Much tact and some integrity are required to inspire and maintain everyone’s initiative, within the limits, imposed by respect for authority and discipline . . . [Never- theless] a manager who is able to permit the exercise of initiative on the part of subordinates is infinitely superior to one who cannot do so .’ (Fayol, 1949, pp. 39–40, emphasis added) If one reads Fayol’s thoughts on the importance of unity of direction and command in the light of his clearly expressed regard for the value of initiative, then what emerges is a prescription that is very different to authoritarianism usually associated with Fayol’s name. For Fayol, the ideal manager appears to be one who guarantees the operational integrity of decision-making, goal-setting and planning processes by asserting his or her authority whenever needed, whilst retaining the capacity to motivate his or her subordinates by trusting their capacity for initiative. This balance, between asserting the needs and goals of the broader organization on one hand, whilst simultaneously creating space for employee involvement on the other, is an inherent feature of many contemporary practices. For example, ‘management by objectives’ not only encourages employee participation in the goal-setting and planning process; but also imposes a structured decision-making model that ensures employee participation yields a logically consistent goals and plans (Bartol et al, 2001; Davidson and Griffin, 2000; Robbins et al., 2000, 2003). Similarly, Total Quality Management exhibits a commitment to employee involvement whilst promoting decision-making outcomes that remain consistent with the broader interests of the organization (Davidson and Griffin, 2000, pp. 738–775). Managing managerial knowledge Fayol’s own explanation of his motives for writing General and Industrial Management draws upon a theme that would later emerge as a core issue in the knowledge management literature. A key distinction for those who write on knowledge management is the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge (Alavi and Leidner, 2001; Tiwana, 2002). Tacit knowledge accumulates through trial and error (Tiwana, 2002, p. 45)

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