Frederick Taylor wrote Principles of Scientific Management a little over a century ago, and it forever transformed the way corporations perceive their people and their organizations. According to Taylor’s book, managers at that time considered workers lazy and inefficient in their jobs, and Taylor came up with a game-changing solution:
The solution to this inefficiency is methodical management rather than looking for some rare or outstanding guy.
You may assume that a century-old notion would be irrelevant in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society. But you’d be mistaken! A lot of what you’ve studied till now is based on Taylor’s work and will be learning more in the workplace as well. You’ve probably seen his scientific management methods in action if you’ve seen organizational charts, performance assessments, quality measures and metrics, and sales and/or production targets.
Scientific management is a paradigm that examines work processes to boost economic efficiency, particularly labor productivity. In the 1880s and 1890s, an industrial management philosophy developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor dominated the American industrial sector.
The two phrases “scientific management” and “Taylorism” are usually used interchangeably. Taylorism is known as the earliest type of scientific management. The Taylorism approach is sometimes called the “classical perspective,” which implies that it is still studied for its effect but not fully implemented. From 1910 to 1920, scientific management was the most well-known, but in the 1920s, alternative management ideas and practices arose, leaving scientific management essentially outdated by the 1930s. However, many of the concepts of scientific management may still be found in today’s industrial engineering and management.
The following is a summary of Taylorism:
- Replace any current practices or rules of thumb with the scientific approach when planning tasks.
- Make a distinction between the planning function and the actual labor activity.
- Across all processes, standardize the method, time, equipment, and costs.
- Workers must be carefully chosen and trained for their specific roles.
- To establish the allocation of effort between employees, time, motion, and tiredness metrics should be used.
- Cooperate with or assist employees in carrying out their obligations.
- Functional supervisors knowledgeable in their specific fields of work are required.
- Workers and management should have clear responsibilities assigned to them.
- Provide financial incentives to motivate employees to boost their production.
- As you may expect, this approach is founded on comparative advantage concepts. As part of a larger process, people are prepared to do specific duties. This specialization provides for increased productivity.
- Scientific management is based on four key ideas still relevant in today’s enterprises. The following are some of them:
- Examine each work or task from a scientific standpoint to discover the “one optimal way” to complete it. This is a departure from the old “rule of thumb” approach, in which workers invented their most cost-effectively and efficient methods for completing tasks.
- Hire the best people for each position and train them to work as efficiently as possible.
- Worker performance should be monitored, and education and training should be provided as needed.
- Divide the job between management and labor so that management can plan and train while employees can effectively do the task.
Classical Management Theory’s Importance
Taylorism’s main selling point is its ability to increase productivity. Its goal is to maximize the effectiveness of persons with various capacities and talents. It suggests that scientific methodologies be used to help firms get to where they need to be.
The notion also encourages managers and their employees to collaborate, which has led to the expansion of teamwork. It also promoted staff training and systematic labor recruitment. All of these factors are important in establishing a successful business.
One of the most common criticisms of Taylorism defined in all the best management courses is that it is unfriendly to workers. It is overly focused on production and revenue, and as a result, the employee as a creative is undervalued. However, the theory’s faults should not detract from its accomplishments. Business owners and managers may learn the greatest scientific management concepts and apply them to their businesses.
Scientific management provides the following advantages:
(1) Production Cost Reduction:
It boosts output by utilizing mechanization and cutting-edge technologies in the manufacturing process. The cost of production per unit is significantly decreased as a result of large-scale production.
(2) Products of Higher Quality:
Better quality goods are achieved by using standardization and strong oversight procedures.
(3) The Advantages of Labor Division:
The benefits received from the division of labor are ensured by the scientific management principle of specialization. The task is simplified and completed in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.
(4) Disputes between labor and management should be avoided at all costs:
Scientific management aids in the development of good collaboration between management and labor, resulting in pleasant and harmonious interactions between the two parties. As a result, there are fewer workplace conflicts and more industrial peace. F.W. Taylor used the term “Mental Revolution” to describe the process of gaining deep understanding, mutual trust, and confidence between labor and management.
(5) Wage Increases:
Higher production is the goal of scientific management, and workers are compensated accordingly. Taylor proposed a differential incentive strategy that would reward productive employees with higher compensation. The greater earnings serve to raise the workers’ standard of living.
(6) Owner/Investor Benefits:
More turnovers and more earnings for the investor result from increased productivity and large-scale production. Higher earnings might be reinvested in self-financing to ensure a stable financial foundation for the company.
(7) Appropriate Worker Selection and Training Methods
Scientific management includes scientific selection, placement, and training of industrial personnel as one of its primary ideas. In this way, the appropriate kind of individual is chosen for the right kind of work.
(8) Improvements in Working Conditions:
Workers are provided with a good working environment via scientific management. Workers are guaranteed sufficient working hours, rest breaks, enough lighting, ventilation, proper safety, and a variety of additional facilities, among other things.
(9) Worker Instructions:
Work is carried out methodically and according to predefined plans under scientific supervision. Workers are given detailed instructions and assistance so that they may carry out the task according to the plans that have been created ahead of time.
(10) Shorter Time to Market:
Scientific management enables the task to be completed in less time. Because production processes are pre-planned, there are fewer production delays.
(11) Improved Resource Utilization:
Scientific management procedures guarantee that existing resources, such as materials, machinery, equipment, money, and personnel, are used to their full potential. It eliminates all types of waste and inefficiency.
(12) Consumer Benefits:
Consumers gain from scientific management in three ways:
(a) Consumers receive higher-quality items;
(b) they pay lower costs, and
(c) they receive better service
(13) Nationally beneficial:
Scientific management offers a nation several benefits, including industrial peace and harmony, improved productivity and lower production costs, a higher quality of living for all sections of society, enhanced national income, and rapid industrial progress, to name a few. Scientific management may be regarded to play a significant part in the development of a strong nation.
Despite the fact that scientific management was first introduced in the early 1900s, it continued to make substantial contributions to management theory throughout the remainder of the century. Quality assurance and quality control originated in the 1920s and 1930s with the advent of statistical methodologies employed in scientific management. Scientific management developed into operations management, operations research, and management cybernetics in the 1940s and 1950s. Total quality management became prominent in the 1980s, while “re-engineering” grew more popular in the 1990s. Taylorism, one might say, laid the foundation for these big and prominent disciplines that we still practice today and are required for future leaders.