Scientific Management & Frederick Taylor

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Scientific management is defined by (Robbins et al., 2012) as ‘an approach that involves using scientific methods to define the “one best way” for a job to be done’. Frederick W. Taylor is said to be the forefather of scientific management, during his time many people criticised Taylor and his work, however it is easy to see that many of his approaches are used in contemporary management systems. This essay will provide a review of the article ‘The Ideas of Frederick W. Taylor’, Academy of Management Review (Locke, E., 1982) which discusses the positives and negatives of Taylor’s theory. A further 3 articles will be analysed on the critiquing or support of scientific management and Taylor. There have been limited academics that have been argued against, as much as Frederick W. Taylor, his approach to management was that a scientific methodology was introduced into the business. Locke talks of Taylor in his journal article in support of his work, and examines the techniques put forward by Taylor as outside his time; Locke doesn’t criticise or strongly support Taylor however he does state that many of Taylor’s major criticisms are unfounded. Drucker wrote that “Taylor was the first man in history who actually studied work seriously” (1976, p.26). Taylor has eight techniques described by Locke (1982); time and motion study, standardised tools and procedures, the task, the money bonus, individualized work, management responsibility for training, scientific selection and shorter working hours and longer rest periods. One of Taylor’s main idea’s behind the theory of scientific management was to decrease the time it took workers to complete a task by adopting the “one best way” to approach that task. Taylor’s decision was to eliminate wasted time and energy on a task by reverting to a system that involved for example, three workers completing small sections of a task that in the past typically was completed by one worker. Taylor also appealed that money was the...
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