Scientific Management

Topics: Management, Productivity, 21st century Pages: 5 (1403 words) Published: February 20, 2014
Scientific Management is a system that was originated from Fredrick W. Taylor (1911), which composite analysis of worker’s individual workflow and their labour productivity. The main purpose of this theory is to maximize efficiency within organisations to speed up the process of work in the minimum amount of time and cost incurred by the organisation (Ross 2010). Taylor believed that the most efficient way that work could be done was only when workers knew what they were doing and not merely working hard. (Mindtools)

Scientific Management focuses on four main principles. Firstly, different parts of the task are studied scientifically for a best possible method to achieve and perform it. Secondly, workers are scientifically selected and trained to perform the designated task at their best trained ability. Thirdly, workers and managers will collaborate to ensure the results expected. Lastly, planning and division of work will be divided by managers to workers respectively.

There are many examples of Scientific Management in the modern society, of which some includes, car, technology and computer manufacturing plants, hospitals and some of the restaurant (Dharmasiri 2013). Foxconn is one of the many manufacturing companies that use Scientific Management in the twenty-first century. In an interview with CNN (2012), a worker said, “women work like men and work like machines … It’s so boring, I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like: I get off from work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal.” (Grant 2012, para 14&16)

When work becomes a routine for workers in a repetitive environment, alienation occurs. From the theory of Durkheim (1893), alienation was producing anomie, which could lead to crime and even suicide. This shows very clearly in the case of Foxconn’s serial suicide cases, that workers do not feel a sense of belonging to the company by the recurrent vicious work cycle. They were also not allowed to voice their opinions and all that was needed was to finish their designated task. This increases disloyalty and decreases employee’s morale, which could indirectly affect the productivity of the company. According to the Hawthorne Studies by Elton Mayo, he believes that workers should be given the rights to speak up their mind and unhappiness. Even if there were no solutions to it, employees would already feel better as they feel respected and treated like part of the organisation.

The workers were working in an overcrowded environment and had salaries that were not equivalently fair to their working hours and the excessive amount of work given (Hays 2008a). When employees have to work long hours, not having enough rest it will lead to unhappiness among them.

However, the matter of fact is that huge companies like Apple work with Foxconn because of their ability to produce millions of gadgets (Hays 2008b). This usually results from the Scientific Management style, where higher efficiency from the workers gives a higher revenue input to the company. This theory basically focuses on individual workers whom are scientifically trained for a specialised task (as seen in the 2nd principle of Scientific Management) so that they will be better at it. However, when specialisation occurs, there is a higher tendency of a de-skilled workforce. As stated by theorist, Braverman (1974), when employees only learn responsibilities and skills within their job scope, they tend to lose their level of communication skills and knowledge as they are confined only within their area of mastery. This would narrow down a person’s creativity and absorption of knowledge. It would make it hard for them to switch to another industry because of their limitations.

It also remains a fact that many jobs (1.2million) were created for the people, creating higher employments. People wanted to work for Foxconn initially because of the incentives they offered. Founder Terry Gou, believed that incentives...


References: 1) Ross, C. 2010, “Use of Scientific Management for Business” Viewed 26th February 2013,
2) Mindtools, “Fredrick Taylor and Scientific Management” Viewed 26th February 2013,
3) Dharmasiri, A. 2013, “Tailoring Taylor for today” Viewed 27th February 2013,
4) Grant, S. 2012, “Inside story of Foxconn shrouded in secrecy” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
5) Hays, J. 2008a, “Apple and Foxconn: Work conditions, problems and changes” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
6) Hays, J. 2008b, “Apple and Foxconn: Work conditions, problems and changes” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
7) Johnson, J. 2011, “1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame?” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
8) Freedman, D 1992, “Is Management still a Science?” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
9) Barboza, D. 2010, “After Sucicides, Scrutiny of China’s Grim Factories” Viewed 2nd March 2013,
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