Essay – IRHR1001
Jeremy Buckley C3137793
1. Briefly explain the main conclusions that can be drawn from Taylor’s theory of Scientific Management and critically evaluate the implications for contemporary management practice
Scientific management is directly associated with organisational theory and is linked with improving labor productivity and the economic efficiency of businesses. Scientific management focuses on how to improve work procedures and practices. The principal object of management should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee (Taylor 2003, p.123). The purpose of this essay is to explain the main conclusions that can be drawn from Taylor’s theory of scientific management which involve outlining the four main principles to Taylor’s theory and discussing the impact of scientific management on organisational behaviour, mainly employees. A discussion on the impacts on behaviour and the opinion that may be evidenced towards scientific management is also mentioned. The scope of this essay will be to investigate the impact scientific management has had on work practices and also the impact it has had in changing the environment of management and finally a few implications of Scientific and Contemporary management are presented.
Scientific management, in its most simplest form, is a term referring to methods called for optimizing the way that tasks were performed and simplifying the jobs enough so that workers could be trained to perform their specialized sequence of motions in the one ‘’best’’ way. (NetMBA, September 2010). The father, or creator, of Scientific Management is Frederick Winslow Taylor who developed his theory on scientific management based on studies of organizational behaviour and studying the work performance and work practices of individuals, usually men, within organizations, often factories. Taylor’s theory was heavily centered on productivity improvement and management service practice (ACCEL, September 2010) and although he was not the creator of a lot of his own ideas he had the ability to identify how to make things more efficient and effective for a firm which has led him to creating his own theory. Taylor developed four main principles that make up the foundations of scientific management. The First principle involved developing a science for each element of a man’s work, which replaces the old rule-of-thumb method (Taylor 2003, p.139). Taylor would identify the steps involved in a production process and investigate to see if it is feasible for any further improvement in reducing time and increasing output for the firm. The second principle involves an organization scientifically selecting and then training, teaching and developing the workman, whereas in the past he chose his own work and trained himself as best he could (Taylor 1947, pp. 30-39). Under this principle in the past workers would have the ability to take ownership of there tasks creating a task identity and this aspect of there job design would have enabled most workers to gain a sense of job enrichment. Although when change occurs and more tasks are exposed to ‘Taylorism’ then workers may experience lower morale due to job simplification and loss of job significance and skill variety. The third principle states they heartily cooperate with the men so as to ensure all of the work being done is in accordance with the principles of the science which has been developed (Freeman 1996, p. 35). This principle outlines managements approach to supervision and ensuring that certain standards, or performance level indicators, are being achieved. One example of this is that Taylor was witness to cases of workmen performing at low levels of productivity, also known as ‘Soldiering’, ‘Loafing” or “Natural Soldiering” which is the inclination to take it easy (BOLA 2010). The objective of workmen is to work at an output level that is acceptable enough to keep...
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Wood et al, 2010, ‘Job design, goal setting and flexible work arrangements’, ch.5, in Wood et al, Organisational Behaviour: Core concepts and Applications, Wiley & Sons, QLD, pp. 161-165.
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