General and industrial management

It seems that although we are away from our work environment, we are all occupied with some kind of management process. We may not even know it, and we often don't come from managerial backgrounds either but there is always something going on in our lives that warrant a particular management style. I am going to detail a variety of management activities that were used during a recent DIY project I was working on and describe some of the relevant processes that Henri Fayol talks about in his book 'General and Industrial Management'. I am then going to associate the management activities from my project to the managerial processes that are described in the course and draw the conclusion that "Even in our leisure time, we are all "managers" now".

Where DIY is concerned, careful planning is a key factor when it comes to deciding what to do and when. As the room I was going to be working in was quite small, 2m x 1m in fact, I needed to make sure the hall way was left clear so there was room to store materials. I needed to cut wood, tiles and pipes there too. I also had to plan an order in which to work, due to having to wait for certain items to be delivered and certain jobs needing to be done before others.

The organisational aspect of the job was also important. The room was measured first of all so the correct amount of tiles were bought. There was also a need for timber as a corner unit was being built for the new basin location and all the pipe work was being boxed in. Not to mention the pan, cistern, basin and tap which all needed to be organised before the job got started.

Once the job was underway, careful monitoring of the materials was required from time to time so that a shortage didn't occur and also of the time it took to carry out certain parts of the job. Having re-routed most of the pipes, which included part of the main water inlet to the house, I had to make sure there were no leaks by monitoring all of the new joints I had made before covering them over.

The renovation included stripping out the old fixtures, and relocating the new. It involved new pipework, woodwork and tiling, and also painting. All of this took a great deal of coordination so as to complete the work in the correct order and on time, for example, the tiling can't be started until the woodwork is complete, the woodwork can't be started until the pipework is complete and so on.

An element of control was required to make sure the job didn't take too long and that I didn't stray from the original plans too much. There was of course the odd unforeseen circumstance but nevertheless, control was achieved relatively easily due to the room being on the small side and thankfully not much going wrong.

In his book, General and Industrial Management, Henri Fayol describes several processes that are used to explain what management is and how better to understand it. Amongst other things, Fayol thought management basically consisted of five methods; planning, organising, leading, coordinating and controlling (Fayol, 1949, cited in Lucas et al., 2007). These processes have been known as the 'classical approach to management' (Lucas et al. 2007).

The term planning for example can be used to describe how you might assess what is required for a particular job, as I did during my DIY project, or to arrange particulars in advance of an event. Efficient organisation permits intended ideas or proposals from the planning stage to flow in the direction they were anticipated. Effective leadership can help achieve desired results, especially if there are a number of staff that require motivation to do their job. As a leader you may also be seen as a figurehead of a company or a particular department, therefore interpersonal skills will help bolster staff loyalty which in turn will encourage and enhance production. Appropriate coordination allows staff to achieve a common goal by setting an example for them to follow, this also permits several departments to run simultaneously thus realising set targets. An element of control is required to make certain that what was planned originally corresponds with what is being carried out.

During my DIY project I found that I could relate to most of these managerial processes by applying what Fayol had wrote about. Planning in advance allowed me to speculate on what was going to be quite a difficult job. I could consider some ideas and disregard others, think about designs and positions of furniture. Organisation of the materials took some time due to cost which meant deviating from the plans slightly, but once I was underway coordinating the project was relatively straight forward making the control aspect of the task fairly painless.

I chose a DIY project that allowed me to support my findings in relation to managerial processes as described by Henri Fayol. I also noticed that while we are going about our day to day activities we subject ourselves to various situations that require a particular style of management, we may not know it or even realise it, but it certainly offers to the opinion that "Even in our leisure time, we are all "managers" now".


  • Lucas, M., Friel, M. And Hughes, J. (2007) Understanding Management, Milton Keynes, The Open University

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