Taylorism

Topics: Management, Scientific management, The Principles of Scientific Management Pages: 6 (2129 words) Published: September 25, 2013
Did Taylorism ultimately cause inefficiency in the workplace due to employee dissatisfaction? Scientific management also known as Taylorism was a management theory coined by Fredrick Winslow Taylor in which the main objective was to improve efficiency in the workplace. This was achieved by implementing scientific methods to the management of workers. These processes include optimizing the way tasks were performed and simplifying the jobs enough so that workers could be trained to perform tasks in the “one best way”(Scientific Management pg 131). Taylor believed there was only one method of work that would fully maximise efficiency and that this best method could only be discovered through studies and analysis (Scientific Management pg 131). Taylorism took away any independence or individuality in the work process and converted skilled crafts into a series of simplified jobs that could be performed by unskilled workers who could be trained to do the tasks. Scientific management is set out in four main principles; the development of a true science, the scientific selection of the workman, the scientific education and training of the workman and cooperation between management and the workman (Scientific Management pg 130). Taylor from his time working in the steel industry realised that many workers were purposely working below their capabilities, he called this soldiering. He explained that the main reasons that workers were not working to their full potential was due to the belief that increasing output would lead to less workers and hence would put their own job in jeopardy and also there was no incentive to work harder than another employee as wages were the same regardless of their work efforts (Scientific management page 23). Taylor managed to combat these ideas firstly by arguing that efficient work methods would increase demand and therefore decrease price. Also by introducing a wage that reflected the amount of output produced by each employee (Scientific management page 13-19). Taylorism was proven in many scenarios to improve efficiency (Scientific Management pg 130), However views that Taylorism increased efficiency by de-skilling labour and lowering the extent of meaningful labour (Waring 1991, p11), bought along the notion that Taylorism destroyed the soul of work, and dehumanized workmen leading to employee dissatisfaction that caused inefficiency and lower production by some employees and in extreme cases caused large strikes (Watertown Arsenal By Alan R. Earls page 8) In relation to soldiering Taylor proposed that when workers are paid the same amount workers will tend to do the amount of work that the slowest amongst them does, thus he introduced the idea of creating a compensation plan that was based on piece rates (Scientific Management pg 13-29). Although this was a good idea many managers broke their word on the wage promises (Goldberg (1992 pg 43). It can be argued that Taylor recognised that the key for his method to work was that there was a need for there to be an intimate relationship between the workers and management (Scientific Management pg 130). This was a crowning element to the Taloristic system but it was also the most difficult to achieve (Nardworny 1955 pg VI). Although it can be argued that this was not a flaw in the scientific management approach but rather a fault in managers, Taylor’s theories could have considered methods to reduce the employee dissatisfactions that occurred when managers did not keep their word. It was only after Taylor’s death in 1915 that his followers began to revise Scientific Management with regard to union involvement (Hoxie 1915 pg147, Nyland 1998 pg 525-6). In instances where scientific management was successful (such as for Cadbury) unions were involved to ensure that management held promises they made in relation to wage negotiation (Rowlinson 1998 pg 386-387). Taylor knew that scientific management could not work unless the workers benefited from the...
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