Critiques of Taylorism
Taylorism promotes the idea that there is "one right way" to do something. As such, it is at odds with current approaches such as MBO (Management By Objectives), Continuous Improvement initiatives, BPR (Business Process Reengineering), and other tools like them. These promote individual responsibility, and seek to push decision making through all levels of the organization.
The idea here is that workers are given as much autonomy as practically possible, so that they can use the most appropriate approaches for the situation at hand. (Reflect here on your own experience – are you happier and more motivated when you're following tightly controlled procedures, or when you're working using your own judgment?) What's more, front line workers need to show this sort of flexibility in a rapidly-changing environment. Rigid, rules-driven organizations really struggle to adapt in these situations.
Teamwork is another area where pure Taylorism is in opposition to current practice. Essentially, Taylorism breaks tasks down into tiny steps, and focuses on how each person can do his or her specific series of steps best. Modern methodologies prefer to examine work systems more holistically in order to evaluate efficiency and maximize productivity. The extreme specialization that Taylorism promotes is contrary to modern ideals of how to provide a motivating and satisfying workplace.
Where Taylorism separates manual from mental work, modern productivity enhancement practices seek to incorporate worker's ideas, experience and knowledge into best practice. Scientific management in its pure form focuses too much on the mechanics, and fails to value the people side of work, whereby motivation and workplace satisfaction are key elements in an efficient and productive organization.
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