Fredrick W. Taylor Ideas in Today's Organisation

Topics: Management, The Principles of Scientific Management, Scientific management Pages: 9 (2493 words) Published: August 8, 2007
Fredrick W. Taylor (1856 – 1915), pioneered the scientific management movement which studies a job carefully, breaking it into its smallest components, establish exact time and motion requirements for each task to be done, and then train workers to best complete these tasks in the same ways over and over again (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 1998). These efforts are the forerunners of modern industrial engineering approaches to job design that focus on process efficiencies, the best methods and smooth workflows. Despite these efforts, there were critics that criticized Taylor's assertion that there is no such thing as "skill" in making and moving things and for not asking the workers he studied on how they thought their jobs could be improved.

The purpose of this essay is to identify how relevant are Taylor's ideas to the survival of today's organizations. Firstly, this essay will briefly discuss Taylor's four principles of management. Next, the essay will compare Taylor's four principles with other theorists' such as Hawthrone and Weber; and mainly on Ford and Fayol, to discover out the relationship among their theories. Following that, the essay will demonstrate Taylor's principles, which have succeeded in managing organisations, particularly the Japanese organisations. Also, it will investigate the development of Taylor's principles from the past to today's management rules.

Taylor's four components of management are summarized as follows: Firstly, developing a science for each element of work that has to be accomplished, which replaces the old rule-of-thumb method. Secondly, scientifically, select, train, teach and develop each employee to accomplish his or her task. Thirdly, sincerely cooperate with employees to ensure implementation of the scientific principles that have been developed accordingly. Lastly, dividing the work and the responsibility equally between management and workers (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter, 2003).

According to Taylor, as cited in Butler (1991), greater results achieved through scientific management were attained, not through a marked superiority in the mechanism of one type of management over the mechanism of another, but rather through the substitution of one set of underlying principles – by the substitution of one philosophy for another philosophy in industrial management. It is instructive to review Taylor's philosophy of scientific management with its emphasis upon the human element, not generally associated with Taylor. This philosophy is perhaps more important and appropriate for today than individual principles of scientific management. Human resource developments should be a matter of national concerns at all levels. As technology changes, so do skill and other worker requirements change (Butler, 1991).

As cited in Crainer (2003, p. 4), Drucker argued that Taylor's is "the most lasting contribution America has made to Western thought since the Federalist Papers" compared to Henry Ford, as the assembly line was simply a rational extension of scientific management.

Crainer (2003) discussed that Taylor's popular beliefs about management is being divorced from human affairs and emotions. Similarly, Fordism's mechanisation of mass production further emphasised the use of humans as instruments or machines to be influenced by their leaders (Fuchs, 2002). Hence, by Ford's successful mass-production processes, Fordism's combination and emphasis on the scientific methods in getting things done.

Despite Fordism borrowing many Taylorism ideas, Fordism includes strong hierarchical control, with workers in a production line often restricted to the one single task, usually specialised and unskilled (Fuchs, 2002), hence, enabling managers to regulate production and uphold their own position within firms as well as meeting the efficiency criteria set by owners.

Dissimilarities also exist between the two theories. Fordism dehumanised the worker (Fuchs, 2002) whereas Taylorism...
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