With the human element incorporated, management consists of deciding what is to be done, how to do it, in organizing the material, technical and human resources required to do it accordingly, and then getting things done through people.
The principles of general management first developed by the French industrialist Henry Fayol in the early twenties came to be widely known only in the forties.
Noting that the principles of management are flexible, not absolute, and must be applicable regardless of changing and special conditions, the following principles are still useful for an understanding of management in general.
1. Division of Work:
The work assigned to each worker should be clearly defined, and activities of the organization precisely clarified.
All work thus gets performed efficiently with gradual development of competence and skills. This is the specialization which economists consider necessary in the use of human resource.
2. Authority and Responsibility:
Authority and responsibility are inseparable, with the latter arising from the former. Without authority one cannot discharge responsibility. However, authority should be commensurate with responsibility.
Considering discipline as respect for agreements which are directed at achieving obedience, discipline requires good supervisors at all levels.
Managers and administrators should set the good example through their actions and behaviour.
4. Unity of Command:
This means that employees should receive orders from one superior only. Each employee in the organization must know who his immediate boss is and be responsible to him for his work.
5. Unity of Direction:
Each group of activities with the same objective must have one head and one plan. As opposed to unity of command, unity of direction relates to the organization as a whole.
There should be teamwork and unity in the organization. If people at various levels are divided about objectives, there will be wastage of organizational resources.
6. Centralization of Authority:
This refers to the extent to which authority is concentrated or dispersed. It should be clear in the organisation as to who is to issue orders and the areas of authority. Otherwise, conflicting orders will create confusion in the organisation.
7. Scalar Chain:
The chain of supervisors from the highest to the lowest ranks in the organisation while this will not be departed from needlessly, it could be short-circuited at times only when to follow it scrupulously would be detrimental in a given situation.
This is “a place for everything (every one) and everything (every one) in its (his) place”. As a principle of organisation in the arrangement of things and people, this will result in optimization of the resources.
Equal pay for equal work each person should be paid according to his contribution, the remuneration and methods of payment should be fair and afford maximum possible satisfaction to employees and employer.
10. Stability of Tenure:
Unnecessary turnover of employees is both the cause and the effect of bad management. The employee requires assurance about the permanent nature of the job, resulting in a feeling of security and involvement in work.
11. Delegation of Authority:
Because managers manage through the work of others, there should be delegation of authority.
Through delegation, subordinates get prepared for higher responsibility. The needs, training, and motivation of the delegater and delegate must match.
Initiative is the thinking out and execution of a plan. Employee should be given opportunities for use of creative ideas in their work. It is a means to job involvement and commitment to organisational goals the keenest satisfactions for a worker to experience.
13. Subordination of Individual Interest to Organisational Interest:
When the two differ, management must reconcile them. As the organisation is set up to meet the needs of society, the individual must sacrifice some selfish interests in the overall interest of the organisation and society.
Loyalty and devotion should be elicited from personnel by a combination of impartiality, kindness and justice on the part of managers, when dealing with subordinates. Subordinates must be treated without any bias for race, religion, sex and class.
The principles propounded by the classical school of management are still in wide use today.
But attempts to apply these principles blindly to health services organisations can be unsuccessful at times, because of the highly personal nature of the service and the professional work-force which render the services.
Nevertheless, an understanding of these principles becomes necessary for all administrators including hospital administrators.