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Scientific Management Theory

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Scientific Management Theory

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  • March 29, 2007
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Scientific Management Theory (1890-1940)
Scientific Management is defined as the use of the scientific method to define the "one best way" for a job to be done. At the turn of the century, the most notable organizations were large and industrialized. Often they included ongoing, routine tasks that manufactured a variety of products. The United States highly prized scientific and technical matters, including careful measurement and specification of activities and results. Management tended to be the same. Frederick Taylor developed the "scientific management theory" which espoused this careful specification and measurement of all organizational tasks. Tasks were standardized as much as possible. Workers were rewarded and punished. This approach appeared to work well for organizations with assembly lines and other mechanistic, routinized activities. Taylor wanted to create a mental revolution among the workers and management by defining clear guidelines for improving production efficiency. He defined four principles of management which are:

1. Develop a science for each element of an individual's work, which replaces the old rule of thumb method.

2. Scientifically select and the train, teach, and develop the worker.

3. Heartily cooperate with the workers so as to ensure that all work is done according to the principles of the science that has been developed.

4. Divide work and responsibility almost equally between management and workers. Management takes over all work for which it is better fitted than the workers.

Taylor argued that following these principles would benefit both management and workers. Workers would earn more pay, and management more profits.

Using scientific management techniques, Taylor was able to define the one best way for doing each job. Then, he could select the right people for the job and train them to do it precisely in this one best way. To motivate workers, he favored incentive wage plans. Overall, Taylor achieved...