Esprit De Corps in Management: Definition & Explanation

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  • 0:05 The Esprit
  • 0:27 Theorist
  • 0:53 Example of Esprit de Corps
  • 1:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Esprit de corps is an important concept in administrative management theory. In this lesson, you will learn what esprit de corps is and learn about some of its features. You'll have an opportunity to reinforce you knowledge with a brief quiz after the lesson.

The Esprit

Esprit de corps is a French phrase that translates into 'group spirit'. Esprit de corps is one of Henri Fayol's 14 administrative principles. The principle states that an organization must make every effort to maintain group cohesion in the organization. It notes that dividing your competition is a clever tactic, but dividing your own team is a serious error.


Henri Fayol (1841-1925) was French and worked at a mining company for his entire career. He eventually became the managing director of the business in 1888. He was responsible for saving the company from bankruptcy and contributing to its growth. Fayol summarized 14 administrative principles that he learned through his tenure with the mining company. One of the 14 principles was esprit de corps.

Example of Esprit de Corps

Probably the strongest and most powerful example of esprit de corps is found in close military units that have seen combat. These soldiers often form a tightly knit group. They work together well to achieve objectives and are often fiercely loyal to each other and their unit. Managers applying the principle of esprit de corps attempt to replicate this sense of cohesion, teamwork, and loyalty with the organization and its employees.

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