Fredrick Taylor, the father of scientific management. He had a firm belief in "one best way" (Samson & Daft, 2003), of doing something. In the year 1899, Taylor held an experiment that involved German and Hungarian men, whose job involved some very heavy-duty work (Gabor, 2000). To his disappointment, men either refused to work, or wouldn't work to his expectations. The men hated him utterly; to the extent he required security when going home (Gabor, 2000). In his entire dilemma with his employers, in stepped Schmidt, a man not of intelligence but had the strength of a bull and an ox-like mentally required to reach the standards of Fredrick Taylor. The story of Schmidt reflected 2 two significant aspects of Taylorism (Gabor, 2000). Firstly, it reflected his aggressive personality, which included his high expectation in people, hence his drive to keep on improving. Secondly, it reflected how he did not understand nor respect the limits of a human being, revealed in his strict and precise managerial style. Scholars of all times seem to criticise this aspect of Taylorism, but despite its deficiency, scientific management soared into the 20th century and remains relevant to today's organisations. Scientific management has its shortcomings and in some instances not relevant in today's organisations.
Its relevance to today's organisations is simply the fact that it worked and continues to today. The system had a strict and clear-cut methodical approach. That was because of Taylor's firm belief that there was one best way. His view of the management's role was to decide exactly how a task was to be performed and that they were to determine how this would be done (Crainer, 1999). His idea of finding the one best way was the use of a stopwatch and timing the process of doing a task. Further more, tasks would be broken up into smaller processes, timed and done repetitively until the fastest way of performing that specific task would be found. For Taylor, "no task was too small for improvement" (Olsen, 2001, p. 255). The aim in all the timing and recording was to maximise efficiency and scientific management done that and more. From researching, it can be seen that efficiency is the primary reason for its survival and relevance today i.e. Henry Ford. Scientific management introduced the initiative of a conveyer belt and assembly lines (Olsen, 2001). A development as simple as a conveyer belt has had a huge impact on today's productivity levels. According to Henry Ford, production of cars dramatically increased from 100,000 to 200,000 in the year 1908, at the same time reducing about 1500 workers (Perseus Publishing Staff, 2002). Hence, scientific management lowered the cost of production and therefore enabled profit maximisation. The thought behind the conveyer belt or assembly line was to eliminate unnecessary movement. Instead of people having to move themselves to the raw materials and delivering the goods, they stayed put while the goods and raw material would come to them. Before the conveyer belt, workers had to pull the goods around, generally the unskilled workers (Perseus Publishing Staff, 2002). This raises another aspect of scientific management. People were chosen to do particular jobs depending on their physical or mental capacity (Samson & Daft, 2003). From experience, a past co-worker at McDonald who was handicap was subject to cleaning only, scientific management in action today. The relevance of this aspect is that people are chosen to best suit a task designated to them i.e. if it is a physical task, a person with the physical capabilities would be chosen. As mentioned earlier, Schmidt was entirely admired by Taylor as he met Taylor's expectation (Gabor, 2000). Schmidt had the physical capabilities required of workers in Taylor's view. A case study on Mc Donald's indicates the survival of scientific management and its application to today's organisations (Kerr I. & Darl K., 1995). For instance, the production of a...
References: Crainer, S. (1999). 75 Greatest Management Decisions Ever Made.
Inkson, K., & Kolb, D. (1995). Management- A New Zealand Perspective.
Olson, J. S. (2001). Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in America.
Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 7th August 2005, from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/auckland/Doc?id=10040740
Perseus Publishing Staff (2002)
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