Scientific Management and Taylor's Scientific Management

Concept of Scientific Management

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In today’s world of economy, Management is a very difficult job as it has to deal with lots of human manpower with a different background, perspective, attitude, and behavior. A manager has to not only incorporate human efforts but also has to make decisions on how to allocate the limited resources to the human resources to generate the output.

Many problems can come up each moment and impromptu decisions might be essential at times. So how do managers come up with solutions and solve these problems and make correct decisions?

Management is as old as human civilization. People have worked together to do any action for greater results. The highest level of management skills can be seen with great results such as The Taj Mahal of India, The Great Wall of China and The pyramids of Egypt.This shows that people in the past have integrated human efforts with resources to build great monuments and run their daily lives.

So over the last few centuries experts have found out various principles which have been proven effective with time. These principles are based on effect and cause system which means that an action has a reaction. These principles were derived from a lot of observation and analysis of the nature of human beings and organizational structure.

These scientific theories have helped managers to solve the daily problems in their organization and to manage their resources well. Some definition of famous writers are:

According to G. Hicks - “Principles of Management are guiding rules of laws for management action”

According to Henry Fayol- “Principles of Management are flexible and not absolute, but mostly utilized in the light of changing and special condition”

(Sharma , Surendra raj; Jha, Surendra Kumar - Pg.32)

Management principles are both descriptive as well as perspective in nature. Perspective means what should be done in a certain situation and descriptive describes the relation between any two variables. Hence over the time many writers, authors, and management experts have contributed to formulating the principles of management for the future generation.

Feature of Management principles are:

  1. Universally applicable in various types of organization all over the world
  2. Flexible in Nature according to time and situation
  3. Cause and effect relationship of all the action and their results
  4. Focused on Human behavior and nature
  5. Equal importance of all the principles

Concept of Taylor’s Scientific Management

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Fredrick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) was a pioneer in the field of scientific Management. He is regarded as the father of Scientific Management. Taylor published his work “Principles of Scientific Management” in the year 1911 A.D.

Taylor started as a worker in Midvale Steel Company and he was promoted to chief engineer. Later he joined Bethlehem Steel Company. After his retirement, he worked as a consulting engineer.

His vast experience of managing people led him to experiment and understand how to manage a company in the most scientific manner. He experimented how to increase an efficiency of manpower and get maximum profit.

According to F.W Taylor- “Scientific Management means knowing exactly what you want men to do and seeing that they do in the best and the cheapest way”

So we can understand that scientific management is the art of knowing what is to be done and how it is to be done.

During his time in the companies, he worked he found out that there were no any specific ideas guiding the action of management but managers used a rule of thumb. There was no proper division of responsibilities among the labor and managers. The resources were not fully utilized which led to less output.

So Taylor saw the need to make management scientific with well-defined ideas and fixed principles rather than depending on hazy ideas.

The principles of Scientific Management by Taylor

  1. Science, not a rule of thumb:
    The first principle of the scientific management aims to replace the traditional rule of thumb approach in management. Rule of thumb means general assumptions or rules that are made on the basis of past experiences or practice. So this principle suggests there must be scientific analysis and study of any job and only after the investigation, an action should be conducted.

  2. Harmony, not discord:
    In the process of management,there is a relationship between a manager and an employee. So there will be two different interest. There will be a personal interest of the employee and there will be organizational interest. So this principle states that both this interest should go side by side. There must be a harmony of interest and should be focused towards attaining the organizational goals with mutual benefit of both the employee and the organization.

  3. Co-operation, not individualism:
    According to this principle, there should be a feeling of co-operation between the manager and the labor. If there will be a feeling of personal interest then the organizational goals cannot be obtained hence both manager and the employee should focus on the organizational goals. So there needs to be a mental revolution in both the mind of the employee and the employer. The employer must provide a suitable environment for the employee to work and the employee must focus on the greater goal.

  4. Maximum output:
    According to this principle, a business organization must always be focused towards maximizing the profit and productivity. There should be an optimum utilization of resources and maximum effort by the manpower to generate the maximum output for the organization.

  5. Division of responsibility:
    This principle divides the role of planning and executing among the employer and the employee. The employer should be given the role of only planning and the employee should focus on only operating to execute the plans. By this there will be no confusion regarding their roles and there will be a smooth operation of action.

  6. Development of employees:
    According to Taylor, there must be a scientific selection of human resources and once they are selected they must be trained and developed in such a way that they can work to their maximum capacity for the organization. The success of the organization depends on the efforts of the most competent employees. So they must be trained and groomed providing essential facilities and growth.

Hence these are the basic principles of Taylor’s scientific management which focus on maximum output by efficient use of the resources. The major contribution of Taylor’s Scientific Management is its focus on the scientific approach to management and high increase in efficiency and productivity.

(Shrestha pg- 36-38)

(Neupane Surendra; Parajuli, Ram prasad; Jha , Deepak Kumar; Chhetri, Tuk Bahadur; Dulal, Gopal Prasad- pg-33-40)

Limitations of Taylors’s Scientific Management

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There are many merits of Scientific Management such as improvement of efficiency for maximum output, development of skills of employees and improving the productivity. But there are some criticisms by employers, workers, and experts which cannot be overlooked. Some of the limitations of Taylor’s Scientific Management are:

  1. Focus only on Employees:
    Taylor’s scientific management gives too much emphasis to the workers. It does not address other problems that might come up in an organization. In a way, it is also criticized that it exploits the workers and there is no wage rise system along with a rise in the productivity.

  2. No best way:
    Taylor’s scientific management tries to find the best solution to run an organization but in practice, there is no one best way to run an organization. There are many employees of different background and perspectives. So all cannot be treated in the same way. So there cannot be one best approach in management.

  3. Separation of planning and doing:
    Planning and executing are separated in Taylor’s scientific management. According to F.W Taylor- “Planning should be a responsibility of employers and execution of plans should lie to the employees”. But in practice planning and executing are closely related and both cannot be separated.

  4. Monotonous and Frustration:
    In Taylor’s scientific Management a worker has to do a certain job to the best capacity. So there is a specialization of the job. But there is monotonous and dullness which can cause mental fatigue. Due to lack of creativity and originality, employees might face frustration.

  5. Ignores Human Factor:
    Workers are just taken as economic tools by the scientific management of FW Taylor. The Principle believes that employees are only motivated by money. But this is not true in all the cases. Human beings are motivated by other factors as well such as human dignity, moral values, respect, and care etc. So the Scientific Management of Taylor neglects the human side of Labor.

  6. Supply without considering Market Demand:
    According to Taylor, maximizing production helps in maximizing sales which eventually leads to high profit. But it is not true as the supply must be made with respect to the demand of the market. If supply is more than the demand then there will be over utilization of resources and inventory cost will increase. So supply and production should not be maximum but should be optimum depending on market demand.

Hence even though Taylor’s scientific management was the base for the management principles in the early days of management principles, it has the above limitations. Some of such other limitations are expensive and time-consuming for small firms, ignores the subjects such as delegation of authority, flow of information, motivational aspect of management etc.

References

  • Neupane Surendra; Parajuli, Ram prasad; Jha , Deepak Kumar; Chhetri, Tuk Bahadur; Dulal, Gopal Prasad;. "Business Studies class: XII." Kathmandu: Nawakala Publications, 2011. 28-40.
  • Sharma , Surendra Raj; Jha, Surendra Kumar;. "Business Studies Grade XII." Sukunda Pustak Bhawan, 2011 A.D. 31-40.
  • Shrestha, Kul Narsingh. "Business Organization and Management ." Kathmandu: Nabin Prakashan, 2065 B.S. 30-46.

  1. Scientific Management is principles-based management where scientific ideas and principles.
  2. Taylor's scientific management deals with a maximum output which is generated by efficiency.
  3. Limitation of Taylor's scientific management is that it focuses on only workers and takes workers as economic tools.

Fredrick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency.  He is regarded as the father of Scientific Management. Taylor published his work “Principles of Scientific Management” in the year 1911 A.D.

Taylor started as a worker in Midvale Steel Company and he was promoted to chief engineer. Later he joined Bethlehem Steel Company. After his retirement, he worked as a consulting engineer. His vast experience of managing people led him to experiment and understand how to manage a company in the most scientific manner. He experimented how to increase an efficiency of manpower and get maximum profit.

According to F.W Taylor- “Scientific Management means knowing exactly what you want men to do and seeing that they do in the best and the cheapest way”

So we can understand that scientific management is the art of knowing what is to be done and how it is to be done. It is a logical approach towards the solution of management problems. 

The principle of Taylor's scientific management are as follows:

  1. Science, not a rule of thumb: The first principle of the scientific management aims to adopt the scientific way of management rather than the rule of thumb approach. So this principle suggests there must be scientific analysis and study of any job and only after the investigation, an action should be conducted.  The decision should be made on the basis of facts, not on the basis of opinions and beliefs.

  2. Harmony, not discord: In the process a management there is a relationship between a manager and an employee. There will be a personal interest of the employee and there will be organizational interest. So this principle states that both this interest should go side by side. There must be a harmony of interest. It should be focused towards attaining the organizational goals with mutual benefit of both the employee and the organization.

  3. Co-operation, not individualism: According to this principle there should be a feeling of co-operation between the manager and the labor. It requires the change of mental attitudes and the change of management towards each other. When there is co-operation between them, the size of profit will increase and the is no chance to quarrel about the distribution of profits.

  4. Maximum output: According to this principle, a business organization must always be focused towards maximizing the profit and productivity. There should be an optimum utilization of resources. maximum output and optimum utilization of resources will bring higher profit for the employer and better wages and salaries for the employees.

  5. Division of responsibility: This principle divides the role of planning and executing among the employer and the employee. The employer should be given the role of only planning and the employee should focus on only operating to execute the plans due to this there will be no confusion regarding their roles and there will be a smooth operation of action. 

  6. Development of employees: According to Taylor, there must be a scientific selection of human resources and once they are selected they must be trained and developed in such a way that they can work to their maximum capacity for the organization. Trained employees increase their satisfaction and increases the productivity.

Some of the limitations of Taylor’s Scientific Management are:

  1. Focus only on Employees: Taylor’s scientific management gives too much emphasis to the workers. In a way, it is also criticized that it exploits the workers and there is no wage rise system along with a rise in the productivity. It does not address other problems that might come up in an organization.

  2. No best way: Taylor’s scientific management tries to find the best solution to run an organization. But in practice, there is not the best way to run an organization because there are many employees of different background and perspectives. So all cannot be treated in the same way. 

  3. Separation of planning and doing: Planning and executing are separated in Taylor’s scientific management. But in practice planning and executing are closely related and both cannot be separated.

  4. Monotonous and Frustration: In Taylor’s scientific Management focuses on the specialization and repetition jobs to increase the productivity. But this reduces the innovation and creativity of the workers.  There is monotonous and dullness which can cause mental fatigue. 

  5. Ignores Human Factor: The scientific management of FW Taylor neglects the human factor because this principle believes that employees are only motivated by money. But this is not true in all the cases. Human beings are motivated by other factors as well such as human dignity, moral values, respect, and care etc. So the Scientific Management of Taylor neglects the human side of Labor.

  6. Supply without considering Market Demand: According to Taylor, maximizing production helps in maximizing sales which eventually leads to high profit. But it is not true as the supply must be made with consideration to the demand of the market. If supply is more than the demand then there will be over utilization of resources and inventory cost will increase. So supply and production should be carried out considering the market demand.
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