The topic I have chosen for my essay assignment would be option 1 which is reviewing the arguments for and against the statement whether scientific management creates efficient organizations. In the world of today, it has been known that scientific management developed over the years and is applied in the everyday work life. Frederick Winslow Taylor is the person who discovered scientific management, also known as ‘Taylorism’. It is a theory about management that analyses and synthesize the workflow of a work place but the main objective is to improve the efficiency of the economy, especially in labour productivity based on five principles as described by Buchanan(2010, pg 423).The first principle of Taylorism is to have ‘A clear division of tasks and responsibilities between management and workers’ whereby the author Chris Grey(2010, pg 40) disagreed that it was an added advantage to an organization. He described it as a system that transfers the power from workers to managers. It reduces autonomy among workers, working conditions and threatened unemployment. It is more of a radical and near complete separation between planning and decision-making, where managers would make the decision while workers carry out the order. The outcome of this caused workers to leave their jobs and go on strike, time and motion studies were banned in US defence plants and even owners and senior managers were against Taylorism as they think that the system has given the managers a higher authority than them.
The second principle, ‘The use of scientific methods to determine the best way of doing a job’ was brought up to a disagreement by Paul Adler where he claims that Taylorism represents a fundamental emancipatory philosophy of a job design. His research reveals two fundamental flaws in the standard view that is based on two psychological assumptions. The first one is that work will only be motivating to the extent that it resembles free play and the second that workers need to have autonomy. Adler states that the standard critique of Taylorism is that it presents the payoff of the workers as the only source of motivation to get them going. Adler also argued that when workers develop positive feelings towards their job and perceive Taylorism as an effective way of accomplishing the task, then low individual and team autonomy can co-exist with high morale. (Buchanan,2010,pg 444 – 445).
Buchanan (2010, pg 428) also commented that there are several criticisms that disagree with Taylorism bringing efficiency to an organization based on this principle. The first one was because it assumes that the motivation of an employee was to gain maximum payoff for their hard work and neglected the importance of the other rewards such as being given recognition and achievement. This will cause workers to feel that they are not appreciated and are being used as tools to do the job. Secondly, it failed to explain to the workers the use of implementing new procedures, being timed and closely supervised all the time. Workers will not enjoy being watched all the time, as it would make them feel like a prisoner. It also makes them feel uncomfortable as to not having any privacy at work.
However, the Gilbreths came up with their own study through developing Taylorism showing their agreement with Taylor’s second principle. Frank Gilbreth
studied motion and time of job to analyse how long it would take for a person to complete the given task which then lead to the development of a system called ‘therbligs’ which is formed from elementary movements, each having its own symbol and colour. His research then lead him to developing a standard time for each job element, and this is still being used till today for designing the wage payment systems. As for Lilian Gilbreth, she contributed psychologically. She studied motions to eliminate unnecessary actions and to reduce fatigue experienced by workers. She figured that if she could succeed it would increase...
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