Scientific Management and Human Relations Movement

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“Compare and contrast the attitudes of the Scientific School of Management thought (Taylor et al) with those of the Human Relations Movement (Mayo et al) with regard to people at work”

“Getting things done through people”, according to Mary Parker Follet (1941) is management. Management is said to have no fixed definition, but different authorities on management have different views on it. There are many theories on management. The Classical Theory comprising Scientific Management of Taylor, Administrative Management of Fayol, Bureaucratic Organization of Weber. The Neo-Classical Theory includes the Human Relations Movement of Mayo along with others like Roethsilberger and Dickson and the Behavioural Schools of Maslow, McGregor, Herzberg, Argyris, etc. There also exists another theory known as the Modern Management Theory. The aim of this essay is to bring out the differences and similarities between the theories of the Scientific School of Management Thought (Taylor et al - classical) and the Human Relations Movement (Mayo et al - neo-classical). The basis of contrast and comparison will be ‘the worker’ and the views of these schools of thought on handling and controlling the workforce as well as the workplace and the different ways in which they ‘get things done through people’.

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1915, Philadelphia) was a trained engineer who advocated the concept of Industrial Efficiency. Taylor is known as the Father of Scientific Management and is regarded as one of the first most successful Management Consultants. He is most famous for his ‘Time and Motion Study’ and the ‘Piece Rate’ system that he introduced. Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949, Australia) was the Director of the Department of Industrial Research at Harvard University (Donnelly. R, 2000) He is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement. Mayo’s involvement in the most famous ‘Hawthorne Studies’ led to an altogether different school of thought on management known as the Human Relations Movement.

According to Taylor, the working practices of his day proved to be barriers to increased output instead of facilitating the same. The ‘Rule of Thumb’ method of quantifying work, failure of management in directing the workers to full efficiency, and workers’ restriction of output in order to protect their interests (‘systematic soldiering’)(Pugh. D, 1996) were seen by Taylor as the main obstacles to maximum productivity. The principal object of management should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee (Donnelly. R, 2008) Taylor believed that management could be improved if it came to be seen as a science (Donnelly. R, 2000) Therefore, he came up with certain principles of management which would help the employers as well as the employees to attain maximum prosperity and productivity if used: 1.Each worker’s job should be broken down into pieces and the way of doing each piece of that work should be determined after ‘scientific investigation’. 2.Scientific selection of the worker.

3.The scientific training and development of the worker.
4.Division of work i.e. managers should handle the designing, directing and supervision of the work, and the workers should perform the given work as instructed while maintaining intimate and friendly co-operation between the management and the workforce.

The human relations school of management was developed as a result of the findings of the Hawthorne experiments (Agarwal. R, 2002) in the experiment, Mayo explained that: “what actually happened was that six individuals became a team and the team gave itself wholeheartedly and spontaneously to cooperation in the experiment.” “The consequence was that they felt themselves to be participating freely and without afterthought, and were happy in the knowledge that they were working without coercion from above or limitation from below” (web, 2008)

According to Mayo, to achieve its...
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