IRHR1001 Essay 1 – Taylor's theory and the implication for contemporary management practice
Taylor's Theory was developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor, it was mainly associated with Scientific Management. Taylor endeavoured to increase labour and productivity in the workplace through a thorough study of a worker's role and design a more efficient and productive approach to their jobs, this procedure derived from the observation Taylor made of workers 'soldiering', the term applied if a worker deliberately worked at less than maximum potential. Taylor's studies would involve analysing and breaking down tasks, reorganising and then simplifying them (Van Delinder, 2005).
Taylor's theory has been utilised in the past and is still in use in contemporary management today. There are advantages and disadvantages of applying Taylorism to management today as both have their merits.
This essay will be focusing on both advantages and disadvantages of the application of Taylor's theory in contemporary management practice. The essay will expand on the impact of Scientific Management in regards to the efficiency, production and psychological benefits and detriments in its application in the modern management scene.
Many workers believe that since Taylorism has been introduced, managers have exploited and used it as a reason downsize firms or to force more work from the employee (Wood et al (2010). This, having a negative impact on the employees morale and in turn affecting the original focus of the theory. As stated by Wood et al, 'Taylorism' is a term that angers many due to the techniques being unsuitable when applied by oppressive management (2010). As the current market becomes more competitive, managers may seek the use of Taylor's theory, they will in turn analyse and calculate employees tasks and cut down on employees, burdening the remaining with extra duties or even out sourcing employment to cheaper alternatives as seen in recent times with such companies as Nike and Levis. With that being said, Taylor's theory being applied by management today may be bitterly received by employees and create a negative impact and strain on the domestic economy.
However, despite the disadvantage of Taylorism affecting morale, the general concept of Taylor's Theory according to Savino, seeks to systematically and comprehensively conserve effort, materials and capital (2009). This promoting the core base of the theory of improving the efficiency and productivity of organisations. We see the concepts of scientific management used effectively in earlier years with Henry Ford's managing and designing of assembly lines and factories in the auto-mobile industry which saw vast improvements in efficiency and production. These applications were made after breaking down the workers task, utilising maximum efficiency on the
production line and designing workers equipment to perform duties in the most effective manner, Taylor's theory having quite a large contribution towards the success of Ford's organisation. This method was also used in treatment of soldiers in World War 1 and was heavily celebrated and internationally recognised as a key part of the success of the USA and Allied forces. (Boyle, 2003; Lindsey, 1998). Companies have made large efficiency gains by applying Taylor's methods of management, and managers still rely on this form of management in relation to mass production today (Wood,Zeffane,Fromholtz,Wiesner,Creed (2010). It is reasonable to conclude that the application of Taylorism in the past and present still provides results, boosts efficiency and utilises labour and capital thus improving the overall productivity of the organisation.
Another advantage of Taylor's scientific methods are the ideas and improvements derived from the classical theory founded by Taylor by his contributors and colleagues.Such contributors were Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, who used the time and motion studies adopted from Taylor's theory...
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