Scientific management

Topics: Scientific management, Assembly line, Henry Ford Pages: 5 (1155 words) Published: July 20, 2014








Scientific Management Theory


Before scientific management came along, work was performed by skilled workers who had learnt their jobs in lengthy apprenticeships. They made their own decisions on how they had to carry out their tasks.

Fredrick Taylor had noticed that many workers were performing below their capacity as they had no reason to work harder as they were paid based on the job position and the hours they worked.

Taylor had come up with his scientific management theory as he wanted to prove that the application of scientific management would greatly improve productivity.

Scientific management methods were carried out to perform work with maximum efficiency, and jobs were made simple so that workers could be trained to perform their part at work in the most efficient way. It converted major jobs into a series of simplified jobs that could be done by unskilled workers whom could be easily trained to “the work for which it was best suited” (Koontz H. & Weihrich H)

Four Principles of Scientific Management

Taylor's four principles are as follows:

1. Replace working by "rule of thumb," by using the scientific method to study work and determine the most efficient way to perform specific tasks.

2. Allocate each worker to their jobs based on capability and motivation, and train them to work at maximum efficiency.

3. Management should monitor workers performance, and provide instructions and supervision to ensure that they're using the most efficient working methods.
4. Ensure there is equal division of work between managers and workers so that the managers spend their time planning and training, allowing the workers to perform their tasks efficiently.

The first principle speaks about using the scientific approach to carry out task at work which is still relevant in the modern workplace today. (Miller, 2010) claims that a management needs to break each job into individual tasks and determine which steps does not contribute to the end product before proceeding with the task.

The second principle suggests selecting, training, teaching and developing the most suitable person for each job scientifically, rather than leaving them to passively train themselves (Priestley, 2005). This principle can still be found in organizations today. In every job, it is the duty of the management to select to the most suitable candidate and oversee that their training is conducted appropriately.

The third principle explains that in an organization, the management should always keep an eye on the workers performance, and ensure the job is done in the best way to suit the organization goal. This will make sure that even in the most efficient department; workers will not fall back into bad working habits.

The last principle states that work should be divided equally between managers and workers. The managers apply management principles to planning and supervising the work, and the workers carry out tasks. This theory has been utilize in most modern organization and has led to an increase in production and also takes some of the pressure off the workforce, but allows managers to stay involved in the daily processes of the department (Miller, 2010).

Example of Organization that practice Scientific Management

In 1903, Henry Ford formed a business partnership with Alexander Malcomson. They launched the Ford Motor Company, to mass-produce automobiles. Ford named these cars alphabetically from A to S. At the close of its first year in production, the growing company netted $36,000.

In the early days of automobile manufacturing, during the assembly stage, the body of the car would be fixed into a stationary position as...

References: 1) Koontz H. & Weihrich H. (1990). Essentials of management (5thed). New York: McGraw-Hill.
2) Miller, B. (2010). Frederick Winslow Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management – Still Valid in Today’s Workplace? Retrieved from,
3) Modern History Sourcebook: Frederick W. Taylor: The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911.
4) Priestley S. (2005). Scientific Management in 21st Century. Retrieved from,
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