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This study argues that in classifying Fayol as a founding father of the Classical Management School, we have to some extent misrepresented this still important management theorist. The received Fayol portrayed in contemporary texts invariably emerges as a caricature of a much more insightful, complex, visionary and rounded management thinker. This study re-examines Fayol’s personal and career history, as well as the arguments presented in his original work, General and Industrial Management. It finds that he was a much more complex and multidimensional figure than his conventional stereotype today, and that his management theories embraced a wider spectrum of approaches and concepts than traditionally identified with the classical management school of thought. In marked contrast to his traditional portrayal, this study uncovers traces of ideas and concepts that anticipated aspects of the human relations movement, systems-based contingency theory, the movement towards greater employee involvement in decision-making and elements of knowledge management.

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This page is a summary of: Revisiting Fayol: Anticipating Contemporary Management, British Journal of Management, September 2005, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2005.00453.x.
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