Taylorism and McDonaldization

Topics: Management, Scientific management, The Principles of Scientific Management Pages: 5 (1605 words) Published: May 17, 2004
Scientific management or "Taylorism" is an approach to job design, developed by Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) during the Second World War. With the industrial revolution came a fast growing pool of people, seeking jobs, that required a new approach of management. Scientific management was the first management theory, applied internationally. It believes in the rational use of resources for utmost output, hence motivating workers to earn more money. Taylor believed that the incompetence of managers was the major obstacle on the way of productivity increase of human labour. Consequently, this idea led to the need of change of management principles. On the base of research, involving analysing controlled experiments under various working conditions, Taylor discovered basic principles that would influence workers' productivity. His ideas were further developed in post- Tayloristic movements like Fordism. Today, Taylorism is mostly applied in the rapidly growing service sector, especially in fast food and call centres. Taylorism and Scientific management are the precursors for McDonaldization, which are processes of the fast food industry that have become the major organizing principle for other aspects of societies. Its main dimensions are efficiency, calculability, predictability and control.

The aim of Scientific management is to increase the productivity of human labour. Taylor believed that a science had to be developed for each element of a man's work, replacing the rule-of -thumb method. Managers would have to select, train and develop workmen, where as in the past, they had to train themselves. Taylor developed a number of principles by analysing controlled experiments under various work conditions. He considered the time and motion to carry out a specific task, the choice of tool and the payment for workers. Taylor would identify the fastest worker in the organization and he would examine his movements on the job, which helped Taylor eliminate useless and time-consuming motions. The first of Taylor's principles was that work had to be devided into its smallest parts. Each worker had to accomplish a specific task and nothing extra. For instance, if the machine the worker was using broke, even if he had the skills and knowledge to fix it, he had to step back, as that was the job of the maintenance team. The second principle of Scientific management was the separation of intellectual work and manual work. All the planning before Taylorism was done by the workman through his personal experience (direct labour), but in Scientific management, planning was done entirely by Scientific managers and the execution- by workers (indirect labour). The divorce of direct and indirect labour was Taylor's third principle. The forth principle involved deskilling workers and maximum reduction for time spent training the worker. The fifth principle stated that management had to make sure machines were distributed in a way, which helped minimize useless, time consuming motions. Taylor perceived workers as not intelligent enough to manage themselves, so the only condition they had to satisfy in order to be recruited was to be mentally and physically fit. As all the planning was done by the management, Taylor developed a Functional management system, including different levels of managerial responsibilities, like Setting-up boss, Speed boss, Quality inspector and Repair boss. Each contributed to Scientific management's structure of control of workers. Taylor believed that workers had to be controllable, manageable and most importantly replaceable. That is why they were deskilled and performed simple tasks, which required little training and cost.

In 1983, in one of the factories of the Bethlehem steel company, Taylor applied his findings and made profound analyses of the results. As a result of his empirical research, he concluded that the removal of useless motions in the process of work, use of the latest technology and procedure...
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