Scientific Management Theory

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The Scientific Management Theory is a theory of management developed by Frederick Taylor. It was first published in 1911, and it has been widely used to describe the organization of work in factories since then. The term "scientific" refers to scientific methods to improve efficiency.


KEY Takeaways

  • The Scientific Management Theory emphasizes efficiency and eliminating waste.
  • Critics say that the Scientific Management Theory focuses too much on standardization and ignores individuality.
  • Critics believe that the Scientific Manager Theory is too controlling and leads to a loss of morale and dignity. It is dehumanizing and controlling.

Taylor's approach to management

Taylor believed that employees were not inherently lazy, but instead, they were being held back from their full potential due to bad working conditions. He argued for replacing old-fashioned supervision with scientific observation of how people performed tasks so employers' goals could be met more efficiently. This would eliminate waste and allow all workers to achieve maximum output. While this may seem ideal, some have criticized his approach for emphasizing control over others at the expense of worker autonomy.

Its main objective is to improve economic efficiency, especially labour productivity.

The fundamental concepts of this include:

  • Efficiency and elimination of waste
  • Standardization of best practices
  • The transformation of craft production into mass production

Taylor's Scientific Management Principles:

Frederick W. Taylor founded the Scientific Management Theory. He believed that there were three main problems with factory production:

  • Workers did not produce enough output per hour
  • Workers did not do their jobs correctly
  • Workplace conditions made it difficult for workers to carry out their jobs correctly

He proposed some solutions to these problems.

Frederick Taylor devised the following four scientific management principles:

1. Select methods based on science, not the "rule of thumb."

Taylor suggested looking at the job scientifically and determining the best way to do that job.

2. Right person for the job and train them for best efficiency

Assess the most capable person for each specific job and train them to work at peak efficiency.

3. Monitor worker performance.

Assess your workers' efficiency and provide additional training or instruction when necessary.

4. Properly divide the workload between managers and workers.

Managers should plan and train, while workers should perform or execute what they've been trained to do.


Time and Motion Study

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth introduced the concept of time and motion study.

  • They focused on improving efficiency by studying how motions affect efficiency.
  • This involved splitting the job into smaller elements and movements and recording the time to complete these.
  • Films were created to study, which were then used to train workers.


Criticisms of Taylorism (Scientific Management Theory)

Many critics argue that the Scientific Management Theory is too controlling and dehumanizing. It assumes that humans are machines who need to be controlled and directed.

One of the most critical aspects of the Scientific Management Theory is standardization. Standardization can lead to a loss of creativity and innovation and cause a decrease in quality.

Another problem with standardization is that it can make workers feel like they are just doing what they are told. They will no longer feel like they are contributing to the company or themselves.

Another issue with the Scientific Management Theory is that it does not consider the individual's needs. If something goes wrong, it is often assumed that the fault lies with the worker instead of the system itself.

Taylorism has also been accused of creating a culture of fear among workers. Workers feared losing their jobs if they failed to meet targets.

In addition, many critics argue that the work carried out by employees should be seen as part of the human experience rather than simply as an economic process. This means that managers should pay attention to other factors besides production costs, such as people skills, relationships, and morale.

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