The scientific management approach was developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor at the end of the 19th century to improve labor productivity by analyzing and establishing work flow processes.
Scientific management theory is the scientific method to define the “one best way” for a job to be done. It is the systematic study of the relationships between people and tasks for the purpose of redesigning the work process for higher efficiency.
Frederick Taylor once described scientific management as “seventy-five percent science and twenty-five percent common sense.” He made it clear that the goal of scientific management was to use systematic study to find the “one best way” of doing each task. To do that, managers must follow the four principles.
1. Develop a science for each element of an individual's work, which replaces the old rule of thumb method.
2. Scientifically select, 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.
Above all, Taylor felt these principles could be used to determine a “fair day’s Work,” that is, what an average worker could produce at a reasonable pace, day In and day out. Once that was determined, it was management’s responsibility to pay workers fairly for that “fair day’s work.”
In essence, Taylor was trying to align management and employees so that what was good for employees was also good for management. In this way, he felt, workers and managers could avoid conflicts.
1.1 Contributions Of Scientific Management.
The benefits of scientific management lie within its ability to coordinate a mutual relationship between employers and workers. The theory provides a company with the focus to organize its structure in order to meet the objectives of both the employer and employee. At the time of its inception, Taylor found that the firms who introduced scientific management as he prescribed it became the world’s most meticulously organized corporations (Nelson, 1980). Scientific management also provides a company with the means to achieve economies of scale. This phenomenon occurs because the theory stresses efficiency and the need to eliminate waste. Managers are given the duty to identify ways in which costs can be accounted for precisely, which leads to a division of labor and a specialization amongst staff, thus allowing each employee to become highly effective at carrying out their limited task. Consequently, firms will have in place efficient production methods and techniques. Another benefit of scientific management for a company adopting it is that it will obtain full control of its workforce. Management can dictate the desired minimum output to be produced and, with a piece rate payment system in place, can be guaranteed workers will produce the required amount.
1.2 Scientific Management Today.
Scientific management was the first attempt to systematically treat management and process improvement as a scientific problem. With the advancement of statistical methods, the approach was improved and referred to as quality control in 1920s and 1930s.
In the 1980s it was called total quality management, in the 1990s reengineering. Today’s Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing could be seen as new names for scientific management.
It is not unusual to find instances of scientific management in the 21st century. Most automobile and computer manufacturing organizations, hospitals and restaurants operate more efficiently due to the application of scientific management.