Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. Its development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s; by the 1920s, it was still influential but had begun an era of competition and syncretism with opposing or complementary ideas. Although scientific management as a distinct theory or school of thought was obsolete by the 1930s, most of its themes are still important parts of industrial engineering and management today. These include analysis; synthesis; logic; rationality; empiricism; work ethic; efficiency and elimination of waste; standardization of best practices; disdain for tradition preserved merely for its own sake or merely to protect the social status of particular workers with particular skill sets; the transformation of craft production into mass production; and knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation.
Motivation Theory - Taylor
Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Taylor & Scientific Management
Taylor developed his theory of "scientific management" as he worked his way up from a labourer to a works manager in a US steelworks.
From his observations, Taylor made three key assumptions about human behaviour at work:
(1) Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximising his economic gain;
(2) People respond as individuals, not as groups
(3) People can be treated in a standardised fashion, like machines
Taylor had a simple view about what motivated people at work - money. He felt that workers should get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and that pay should be linked to the amount produced (e.g. piece-rates). Workers who did not deliver a fair day's work would be paid less (or nothing). Workers who did more than a fair day's work (e.g. exceeded the target) would be paid more.
The implications of Taylor's theory for managing behaviour at work were:
- The main form of motivation is high wages, linked to output
- A manager's job is to tell employees what to do
- A worker's job is to do what they are told and get paid accordingly
Weaknesses in Taylor's Approach
The most obvious weakness in Taylor's approach is that it ignores the many differences between people. There is no guarantee that a "best way" will suit everyone.
Secondly, whilst money is an important motivation at work for many people, it isn't for everyone. Taylor overlooked the fact that people work for reasons other than financial reward.
Scientific Management tries to increase productivity by increasing efficiency and wages of the workers. It finds out the best method for performing each job. It selects employees by using Scientific Selection Procedures. It provides Scientific Training and Development to the employees. It believes in having a close co-operation between management and employees. It uses Division of Labour. It tries to produce maximum output by fixing Performance Standards for each job and by having a Differential Piece-Rate System for payment of wages.
Principles of Scientific Management
Techniques / Contributions / Principles of Scientific Management Theory :-
1. Performance Standards
F.W. Taylor found out that there were no scientific performance standards. No one knew exactly how much work a worker should do in one hour or in one day. The work was fixed assuming rule of thumb or the amount of work done by an average worker. Taylor introduced Time and Motion Studies to fix performance standards. He fixed performance standards for time, cost, and quality of work, which lead to uniformity of work. As a result, the efficiency of...
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