‘Scientific Management’ is a managerial development theory that was proposed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s. It was designed to apply scientific methods to the management of work organisations in order to improve economic efficiency and labour productivity. This theory is also well known as ‘Taylorism’ and has had a significant impact in the history of organisational management. Scientific management has had many benefits in the work organisation such as the division between workers and managers, increased efficiency in production and task specialisation. To some extent, this idea may still be relevant in some organisations but it is evident that the problems associated with this theory has led to the downfall of scientific management in today’s service economy and furthermore has allowed for the introduction of improved managerial methods. The issues and disadvantages of scientific management will be further discussed and explained why it is no longer considered relevant in our modern day service economy.
With the introduction of scientific management in the work organisation there has been a controversial debate over the changes that occur within the workplace. Do the disadvantages of scientific management theory outweigh the advantages? It is true that this method allows specific tasks to be assigned to specific workers according to their specialisation thus increasing efficiency in productivity as well as a “regimented system of work organisation and managerial practice” (Aguiar, 2002, p.239). However these changes have had a detrimental effect on the welfare of the workers due to the investigation of introducing new management procedures. Stress levels and insecurity of the workers were said to have increased as a result of redundancies, layoffs and health and safety issues according to Aguiar (2002). There was also a change in work conditions that introduced the ‘gender division of labour’ meaning that women were assigned with easier jobs...
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