Henry Mintzberg vs Henri Fayol: Of Lighthouses , Cubists and the Emperor's New Clothes

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The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it is designed to rekindle interest in Fayol's work by way of a focus on the original rather than secondary accounts of his work, and more informed reflection on his ideas. Second, the paper examines the original account of Mintzberg's contributions to thinking about managerial work. When read with the same critical eye as that cast over the work of Fayol, a new understanding of Mintzberg's work becomes apparent. Third, and based on the preceding exposition, this paper argues that what Mintzberg has done, albeit unwillingly and unwittingly, is reaffirm and elaborate Fayol's ideation on management. Drawing on Tsoukas' metatheory of management, the logical links between Fayol's functions and Mintzberg's roles are demonstrated. Understood in this way, we now have available to us a more integrated theoretical base for research, teaching and advising on management and managerial behaviour.

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  • David Lamond

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