Scientific Management Era

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Scientific Management

Scientific Management was a new form of management that evolved in the late 1800’s that was based on a number of principles that analyzed the activities of individuals, which in turn, optimized efficiency and productivity. In this essay I will discuss the major advances that were pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henry Gantt and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Frederick Winslow Taylor was thought of as the most influential business guru of the twentieth century. (154) Taylor was a well -educated man that started his work as a laborer and quickly moved up to a chief engineer at Midvale Steel Company. Through his various positions and experience within this company he discovered many problems that were apparent between management and laborer. His first attempt in his creation of Scientific Management was to combat a process called “soldiering”. Taylor observed how the process of soldering led to low production because workers had intentionally worked slow, while making management believe they were working faster. Taylor identified two types of soldiering that workers practiced: natural and systematic. Natural soldiering was referred to as the “the natural instinct and tendency of men to take it easy.” Managers tried to overcome natural soldiering by forcing workers to be more productive. (123) Systematic soldiering was when workers all together would reason with one another to work slower. Taylor believed that workers systematically soldiered because of three main reasons. First, if workers completed their jobs faster, they believed they would be laid off. Secondly, when workers were paid by piece rate, if their production increased, they believed management would cut the piece rate requiring them to do more work for the same amount of pay they were receiving at the time. Finally, workers were accustomed to old work habits that were handed down from generation to generation. (124) Taylor believed that systematic soldiering posed more concerns than natural soldering. He thought that the problems arose because of management’s lack of responsibility to create proper jobs that offered good incentives. Taylor knew that a new industrial system would need to be created to correct the problems that were evident with management and laborer. Time Studies

Taylor set out to develop a new system in an attempt to overcome the process of soldiering. Taylor believed he could determine how each job could be accomplished most efficiently and then establish performance standards based on his findings. (125) The first step in his system was defined as time studies, which was the beginning of Scientific Management. Taylor believed that he could overcome soldiering by determining what workers ought to be able to achieve with equipment and materials by scientifically setting performance standards. According to the authors of The Evolution of Management Thought “Taylor used a stop watch, weight scale and tape to literally measure the distances that workers and materials traveled.” (125) From his findings, Taylor discovered that workers used too much effort and materials to accomplish their tasks and believed this was mainly due to improper management. Taylor classified his time studies into two phases: analysis and synthesis. Analysis meant that each job was broken down into movements then the movement was described and recorded along with enough time allowed for unavoidable delays. Synthesis was all the movements in the correct sequence to determine the time and exact method for performing a job. (126)Taylor’s time studies created improvements in all elements that surround a job, careful examination of individuals at work led to a more efficient approach to perform tasks which ultimately reduced effort and increased production. Improved Incentives

Taylor noticed that the traditional incentives for workers were discouraged in more ways than one. Taylor believed that management needed to create new...
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