McDonald's Scientific Management

Topics: Scientific method, Management, McDonald's Pages: 5 (1727 words) Published: January 11, 2014
McDonald's Scientific Management
Case study

I chose the example of McDonald's to demonstrate the existence of Taylor's principles in modern organizations, because of McDonald's outstanding role in the food industry. Thus, "McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 31,000 local restaurants serving more than 58 million people in 118 countries each day" ( Furthermore, its influence on the restaurant culture is unique. Hence, Love concluded that "no one has had more impact than McDonald's in modernizing food processing and distribution in the last 3 decades". A distinguishing principle of Taylor's work was his demand to use scientific methods to determine the most efficient way of doing work. Taylor stressed that a scientific study and analysis was crucial to find the 'one best way'. McDonald's adopted this assumption and became famous for its scientific approach towards the preparation and serving of food. Thus, it is stated that McDonald's was the first corporation that "had attempted to make a science out of the preparation of the one restaurant meal that had mass appeal". Furthermore, reports showed that McDonald's reformed the fast food business by "showering the lowly hamburger, French fry, and milk shake with more attention, more study, and more research than anyone had dreamed of doing", in addition to McDonald's minute standardization and "systematic planning of each job, broken down into the smallest steps". It said that "the company's industrial engineers measuring in seconds of time used computerised time-study methodology to plan the equipment layout and work scheduling". Their aim of taking out "the guesswork (...) of food preparation" is consistent with Taylor's beliefs to a great extent. A further basic principle was Taylor's claim to shift all responsibility for the organization of work from the worker to the manager, which is often recapitulated as the separation of the head from the hand, respectively of the planning and controlling from the doing. The implementation of this idea in the McDonald's organization can be noticed in the numerous manuals that were set up by the management and provide precise rules of conduct for the workers. For example, such a manual that "told operators exactly how to draw milk shakes, grill hamburgers, and fry potatoes". Besides definite cooking times and temperature settings for all products and equipment, the manual offered specifications about the standard portions on every food item and the way French fries had to be cut. Furthermore, it was reported that "every action (is) preplanned in a minute way, even in areas where personal interactions with others are concerned”, for example the appropriate way of smiling or greeting. In addition, "rules and procedures (covered) everything (and eliminated) decision-making for workers”, for example, cooking decisions were made by the machinery through "lights and buzzers (that told) workers when to turn burgers or take fries out of the fat". Accordingly, it is concluded that these techniques and procedures were "separating the hand and the brain in classic scientific management style". The third postulated principle referred to the selection of the best person to perform the job thus designed. Given McDonald's beforehand mentioned standardization and precise guidance the matching of this principle might not seem as obvious as the former. Indeed, the simple and repetitive tasks allow McDonald's to hire primarily untrained workers with a lack of prior restaurant experience with accordingly low wages. Nevertheless, McDonald's pays great attention to its recruitment practices. The best person to perform a job at McDonald's has to have "the 'right attitude'". According to Fred Turner, an ex-CEO of the corporation, "having the "right attitude" is the most important attribute to obtain employment at McDonald's". He looked for "that one-hundred percent compliance" that he observed at/with...
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