Scientific Management

Topics: Management, Project management, Scientific management Pages: 6 (1350 words) Published: October 19, 2014
Critically discuss the notion that Scientific Management was a ‘good’ idea in the history of management thinking. Since the thousands of years, people use the management in the great projects such as the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China. According to Robbins, et al. (2006), Henri Fayol said that all managers perform five functions: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling in the early part of the twentieth century. Robbins stated that, in the mid-1950s, management functions changed to planning, organizing staffing, directing and controlling. However, management functions have been reduced to four such as planning, organizing, leading and controlling. There are six major approaches to management: scientific management, general administrative theory, quantitative approach, organizational behavior, system approach, and contingency approach. This essay is going to focus on why is scientific management is still used in today’s organization although there has some drawbacks. As stated by Cole (2004), during industrial revolution in the 19th century, employers in the Western world had the problem which was how to organize to resources such as new factories, new plants and labors to get the efficient and profitable operation. Frederick W. Taylor who worked in the Midvale and Bethlehem Steel Companies in Pennsylvania, realized workers’ inefficiencies because employees used enormously different methods to do same job and believed that worker output was only about one-third of what was possible (Robbins et al., 2006). Taylor thought that he should find more efficient methods and procedures for co-ordination and control of work. Scientific management became from his idea “Taylor’s Four Principles of Management”. Taylor said that both managers and workers needed a complete mental revolution. The first principle is the development of a true science for each person’s work. Cole (2004) stated that Taylor produced the best method of doing a job by studying jobs of a sample of especially skilled workers, noting each operation and timing it with a stop-watch in the shop floor level and then this best method would become the standard to be used for all similar jobs. The second principle is the scientific selection, training and development of the workers. According to Mullins (2007), Taylor selected the employee based on the detailed instruction of the job and trained the workers in order to get the highest productivity. The employees were paid by a ‘fair day’s work’ and on optimizing the level of workers’ productivity. According to Buren (2008,p-633), each employee should be paid buy according to his or her own output rather than the output of the group. The third principle is co-operation with the workers to make sure that all work is done in accordance with the principles of the science that has been developed. Robbins et al. (2006) stated that fourth principle is that dividing work and responsibility almost equally between management and workers. This is also called labor specialization. Management takes over all work for which it is better fitted than the workers are. Before scientific management, almost all the work and the greater part of the responsibility were thrown on the workers. (Robbins et al., 2006) Another couple who contributed scientific management is Frank Gilbreth and his wife Lillian. According to Robbins et al., (2006), the couple studied work to remove wasteful hand-and-body motions and also experimented with the design and use of the suitable tools and equipment for optimizing work performance. A worker’s motions and the amount of time spent doing each motion were recorded by microchronometer which was invented by the Gilbreths and, therefore, the wasted motions missed by the eye could be identified and eliminated (Robbins et al., 2006). According to Cole(2004, P-19), the couple said they could find the ‘one best way’ of doing things according the ideal one after recorded by the...


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