What are the main features of Taylor’s approach to ‘Scientific Management’, and what criticisms have been made of it? Do firms use Scientific Management today?
Frederick Winslow Taylor, a mechanical engineer, developed a theory called 'Scientific Management' where he believed making people work as hard as they could was not as efficient as optimising the way the work was done. His arguments began from his observation that, in general, workers in repetitive jobs work at the slowest rate that they can get away with. This slow rate of work was described as 'soldiering' by Taylor. So, traditional and rules of thumb should be replaced by precise procedures developed after careful study of an individual at work to maximise productivity. Taylor believed that all workers were motivated by money, so he promoted the idea of "a fair day's pay for a fair day's work." In other words, if a worker didn't achieve enough in a day, he didn't deserve to be paid as much as another worker who was highly productive.
Taylor believes that scientific management of work will alleviate the common work problems of inefficiency, slow rate of work, and decreased productivity. He also advanced the idea that workers and managers needed to cooperate with one another. In 1909, Taylor published 'The Principle of Scientific Management'; this was very different from the way work was typically done in businesses beforehand. The main principles were:
1. Replace working by 'rule of thumb', and instead use the scientific method to study work and determine the most efficient way to perform specific tasks (This Principle means that employees/workers should be observed while they are working and they should be analysed when time is a crucial element.) 2. Matching workers to jobs based on capability, skill and motivation and train them further to work at maximum productivity (Workers should be selected by a scientifically designed procedure; physical, mental and other requirements should be...
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