Prior to the development of scientific management, works were performed by skilled craftsmen who had learned their jobs by apprenticeships and they made their own decisions about how their job was to be carried out. Scientific management changed skilled crafts to a series of simplified jobs that could be performed by unskilled workers who could be trained to perform the task, Taylor developed this theory as he worked his way up from a labourer to a manager in a US steelworks company. He realised the worker in his company were not efficient, hence he wanted to improve the workers’ productivity.
Talyor stated that inefficiency is caused by both labour and management. He had observed, that workers purposely operate below their capacity and at the slowest rate that would not be punished, which is called soldiering. Managers were incompetence and irrational. Managers lacked information and knowledge about work process, worker’s abilities and the time which is required to complete the tasks. Time management is done by guesswork. Taylor portrayed managers as ignorant, arbitrary, selfish and blind to their own real interest. Rose, Rational Workmen and Incompetent Managers, 1978) Taylor’s scientific management can be divided into three broad areas. The first is improving the organisational structure and routine. The second is the measurement of work and the design of task. The third is on the selection and motivation of workers (Rose, Rational Workmen and Incompetent Managers, 1978). Taylor started “Functional Foremanship” to improve the company organisational structure and routine. Workers are more likely to be less productive when supervised by a manager who is ignorant about the work process.
Hence, Taylor recommended that 8 foremen are required to supervise the workers, because one foreman will not be able to be expert in all the work process. Taylor’s functional foremanship is separated into planning and operation. The four position Taylor named for planning foremen are route clerk, who determines the sequence of operations; instruction card clerk, who gives out detailed instructions about the work; time and cost clerk, who determines the time table, materials and cost of labour for a job and disciplinarian, who handles problems with discipline and absenteeism. managementstudyguide, 2008) The operations foremen are those in charge of the on-the-job-performance. They are the gang boss, who sets up the equipment; speed boss, who is responsible for maintaining a proper speed of work; repair boss, who is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of machines; and inspector, who is responsible for maintaining the quality of production. (managementstudyguide, 2008) Taylor developed work-study. It is the scientific study of a task to find the ‘one best way’ to perform that task .
It focuses on the methods used in the task, the time taken to finish the task, the tools used, the level of fatigue. Time study was characterized by the use of a stopwatch to time a worker’s sequence of motions, to determine the time to perform the job. This technique is based on the study of an average worker having reasonable skill and ability. Motion study, observe the movement to perform a job. The purpose of motion study is to eliminate useless motions and determine the best way of doing the job. Motion study increases efficiency and productivity of workers by cutting down useless motions.
Taylor designed workplace experiments to determine optimal performance level. He picked ten to fifteen men who have reasonable skills in the job and observe them and notice the elements of the sequence of operations they employed. Using a stopwatch, he timed each element for each worker. Identifying and eliminating useless operations that do not have contribution to the task. He then select the quickest methods discovered in each element and fit them into a sequence and teach the other workers this sequence, forbidding any differences.
Lastly, add up the times for each element and include allowance for resting, this will be the “quickest and best” method for the job. Since, it is the “best way” all the workers have to practise it. (Rose, Rational Workmen and Incompetent Managers, 1978) Designing of tools to suit the work process is important to increase work productivity. Materials, weight, length of the tool are taken into consideration of designing a better tool. Taylor experiments with shovel design until he had a design that would allow workers to shovel for several hours straight. Worker will get tired after working for long hours and productivity will decrease.
Hence, study could determine the number of hours or maximum amount of work a worker can do in a day before fatigue sets in. Lastly is labour selection and motivation. Taylor said that every task should be performed by a ‘first class man’ for a specific task. “First-class” men should be given “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”. (Rose 1978: 36) “First-class” man can be both born and trained. Workers should go for training and development courses so that they are always performing their work as efficiently as possible, Taylor believed that all workers work for extrinsic reasons and are motivated by money.
Therefore he promoted the idea of “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”. Work is pair according to the productivity of each workers rather than a set wage. If a worker did not achieve enough in a day, he would not be deserved to be paid as much as other workers who were more productive. However, Taylor also recognised that workers may be motivated by other ways too, other than money. Taylor’s scientific management consisted of four principles. He replaced rule-of-thumb work methods based on scientific study of the tasks.
Scientifically select, train and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves. He provided instruction and each worker is being supervised. Works are divided equally between managers and workers, for managers to apply scientific management principle to plan work and for workers to perform the jobs. (Mindtools, 2011) Taylor’s methods and his views of the worker met with resistance from labour. In 1911 Taylorism suffered a setback when workers at Watertown Federal Arsenal went on strike. Workers did not accept Taylor’s methods readily.
Although Taylor’s scientific management principles aimed to improve productivity and had a substantial impact in workforces, it also increased the monotony and rigidness of work. Flexibility, skill variety, task identity, freedom, feedbacks were all not included in scientific management. Tasks are repetitive and boring and hence workers are not motivates to do the job whole heartedly. Teamwork was neglected and not emphasized in scientific management. Complaints that Taylorism was dehumanizing led to an investigation by Unites States Congress. NetMBA, 2002) Workers are treated like machines. The allocation of work, specifying not only what to be done but how it is done and the exact time to complete the task, leaving no room for workers to excel, think, display their talent and express their opinions. .There is weaknesses and flaws in Taylor’s scientific management. The way Taylor determined the “quickest and best” method for the job is technically faulty. It derived from a study of a group of workers who are skilled at the task. It is not an accurate representation of the whole labour, it is purposive not a random sample.
Different workers have different capabilities and some are not as skilled as the studied workers, hence they may be outpaced. Taylor thought these workers may be “best men” at some other task, which is unlikely to happen in the real world. Taylor’s approach ignores the many difference between people. Everyone has different capabilities and weakness. There is no guarantee that a “best way” will suit everyone Money indeed is an important motivation at work for many people but it is not for everyone. Taylor overlooked that fact that people may work for other reasons other than financial rewards.
Despite its controversy, scientific management changes the way work was done and forms of it are used today. There are some major factors of scientific management are currently implemented. However the full adaptation of scientific management is not possible as it will cause companies resistance to change. MacDonalds is one of the biggest users of scientific management. Taylor’s main objective was to create the best man for the job by dividing the labour and workers will be specialised in the task that they are doing. The method in which McDonalds create their hamburger is a form of deskilling and division of labour.
For example they have simplified the job by firstly grilling the burger, putting in lettuce and tomatoes, adding sauce etc, putting onto rolls and then wrapping it up. This is a breakdown of the job and by having individuals do each task improves efficiency. Other process such as cooking times, drinks dispensers, French fries machines, and programmed cash registers ( (Huczynski, p. 434), are methods that are used to reduce time that is needed to complete the task and hence showing that aspects of Taylorism. Another example of scientific management being implemented is in supermarkets.
Different employees have different roles, some scan products, handle queries, replenish stocks and hence this is all adapting some aspects of Taylor in terms of division of labour. Another sector that is using scientific management is call centres. Staffs were checked upon by their supervisors on whether they were giving an efficient and good service. This is the foundation of scientific management which replaced the old rule of thumb. Managers gain control over employees, by recording or listening to their conversations they are in. Piece rate system is adopted to motivate workers.
Similarly in call centres staffs are given a basic wage and then commission for every sale and if they meet their daily or weekly targets they are given bonuses Although the whole principle of Taylorism is not practiced much today, scientific management did provide many significant contributions to the advancement of management practice. It introduced systematic selection and training procedures, it provided a way to study workplace efficiency, and it encouraged the idea of systematic organizational design. Work count: 1684 Bibliography Huczynski, A. (n. d. ).
Organizational Behaviour. 434. managementstudyguide. (2008). managementstudyguide. Retrieved Feburary 20, 2013, from managementstudyguide: http://www. managementstudyguide. com/techniques_scientificmanagement. htm Mindtools. (2011). Mindtools. Retrieved Feburary 18, 2013, from Mindtools: http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newTMM_Taylor. htm NetMBA. (2002). Internet Centre for Management and Business Administration, Inc. Retrieved Feburary 19, 2013, from NetMBA. com: http://www. netmba. com/mgmt/scientific/ Rose. (1978). Rational Workmen and Incompetent Managers. 35.
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