Henri Fayol’s second principle of
Management is Authority and Responsibility. Fayol defines authority as “the
right to give orders and the power to exact obedience”.
To manage an organization means to get
things done through people; and to get things done through people, there must
be one who knows what is what and who should do what and this one is generally
known as manager. A manager, therefore, has a clear goal to achieve and a right
direction to move on. To help him, or rather,
to cooperate with him in his aim of achieving the goal, there must be adequate
people, the colleagues. The manager knows which work must be given to whom and
when. He therefore instructs the colleague into the nature of his work. This
ability to give instructions to the fellow-worker to accomplish a particular
task gives him the power to give instructions, to give orders. In the
organizational context, an order is a command that has to be obeyed without argument
and the manager can compel his colleague to obey him with the right given to
him by the management. In other words,
the manager has the authority to command a fellow-worker to carry out a
particular task. Henri Fayol’s definition of authority underscores this point
The power to exact obedience has significance.
It says that the manager can take decisions within the restricted area
of operations as specified by his superiors and the management will accept his
Truly, authority and responsibility
always must go together. Omission of one
of the two will render the administration faulty and faltering. Without authority, responsibility cannot be
effective and the fellow-worker may choose to obey or not to obey; this situation
will land up ultimately in waste of time, resources and money. Come hell or high water, the manager must be
obeyed. Then only, there will be
direction in the process of management and it is easier to assess the progress
already made and yet to make.
Without responsibility, mere authority
is empty of significance and its command will have no weight. Any chaos and
confusion in any organization, public or private, can be easily attributed to
investment of huge authority without adequate responsibility; responsibility
denotes accountability. Accountability
stands for open acceptance of the consequences, be they good or bad.
Responsibility makes one serious in his
job and authority gives seriousness a meaningful purpose and direction.
Administration of any management cannot
move smoothly without this principle of Authority and Responsibility.