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Taylor's Scientific management Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Finance
Wordcount: 1970 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Introduction (250 words)

(Write after written the main body)

– Brief explanation of scientific management

– Briefly say how this links to contemporary management

* �Father of scientific management� (Pollard, 1982, page 3)

* Scientific management was developed as Taylor realised workers never worked anywhere near the speed possible due to the lack of knowledge and control from the managers; this was known as �systematic soldiering�. (Pollard, 1982, page 4)

* Although Taylor had many followers that also influenced scientific management this essay will just focus on Taylor and his contributions as these were the most significant.

Section 1 � Explanation of scientific management and Taylor and his principles. (short section) (300 words)

– During the nineteenth century production started to change, these changes meant that new management techniques were needed.

– Taylor began as an apprentice in manufacturing and quickly became a consultant where he conducted time and motion studies to find the most efficient way of completing a task; this became known as �the one best way�.

– Tasks were standardised and divided up in to small repetitive tasks workers were then assigned to a task that they were most suited to. These methods are known as division of labour and job specialisation.

– Taylor had five main principles that scientific management is based around. Roberts (2009) summarised these as:

1. A clear division of task and responsibilities

2. Use scientific methods to determine the �one best way� of doing a job

3. Scientific selection of best person for the newly designed job.

4. Ensure workers are trained to perform the job the �one best way�

5. Strict surveillance of workers using a hierarchy of authority and close supervision.

– Taylor saw people as lazy and motivated by money and consequently used piece rates to increase productivity. This view caused almost all responsibility of the workers to be removed.

– Taylor�s principles increased productivity, cut costs and increased wages. They allowed unskilled workers to be employed.

– Taylor gave managers their control back and this was a very important part of scientific management.

– Linking sentence � many of these principles are still used, some have been modified and others have been turned on their head. So in one way or another all parts of scientific management have influenced contemporary management.

Section 2 � Advantages of scientific management and what this has led to in contemporary management. (400 words)

– When the advantages of scientific management are analysed it can be seen that many of these methods are used today in one way or another. This is because �the same basic contradictions and pressures face managers at the start of the twenty-first century as they did at the beginning of the twentieth.� (Stoney, 2001, page )

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– Increasing efficiency and productivity links to the aim of profit maximization today (Peaucelle, 2000). Piece rates are still used today but usually alongside some other form of remuneration. This is because piece rates alone lead to poor quality and more waste as workers work too quickly. It can be seen that piece rates solved the problem of soldiering but in the twenty-first century have caused the opposite problem.

– The principles of standardization and having clearly defined rules are a common theme within many contemporary organisations. Clear rules are a necessity today especially where delegation and decentralisation exist. This shows how this principle has developed. Taylor had a more autocratic style of management where workers were just told what to do through these clear rules; now in many organisations a democratic style is used to empower and motivate employees and so clear rules are necessary for a different reason � for employees to see what individual responsibilities they hold.

– Division of labour and job specialisation have formed the basis of other concepts, for example Ritzers Mcdonaldization. Mcondaldization is �the process by which the principles of the fast-food industry are coming to dominate more and more sectors�. (Ritzer, 2004, page 1). The four main principles are efficiency, calculability, predictability and control; these align with Taylor�s principles. In the fast food industry it is necessary to have clear rules and standardization as tasks are dependent on each other and without these principles the fast service predicted by consumers would not be received. This proves that scientific management is still very much alive today.

– Within contemporary management there are many types of control, scientific management focused on what is now known as efficiency control. Taylor �sought control over every aspect of an employee�s job, right from its manner of execution to the final outcomes desired.� (Parker, L, D. Lewis, N, R, 1995, p 218). This total control was due to Taylor�s view of employees which is similar to McGregor�s theory X style of management where workers are passive, self � centred and dislike responsibility (Roberts and Corbett, 2009, page 249). From this it can be seen that Taylor�s ideas on control are still relevant today as theory X views are still used in some contemporary organisations such as McDonalds and other fast-food restaurants.

Linking sentence into disadvantages and back to the question.

Section 3: (Disadvantages of scientific management and what this has led to in contemporary management. (400 words)

– Scientific management received a lot of criticism especially from trade unions in the United Kingdom. Despite these criticisms being bad for scientific management and Taylor himself they have helped other concepts of management to develop and avoid the problems that these principles created for scientific management.

– One of the major problems with scientific management was that many managers were selective in the principles that they employed. Scientific management became �a tool for driving workers harder rather than a means of rewarding them for efficiency gains� (Witzel, 2005, page 91). Management in organisations today realise the importance of motivation. Many theorist of motivation, for example Stacey Adams and the equity theory (Roberts and Corbett ,2009), have recognised that employees are motivated be perceiving remuneration as fair. It is quite common for organisations that have the aim of increasing productivity will set targets that entail a bonus for the employees if it is reached.

– Scientific management removed the control from the employees and so innovation was scarce; one of the reasons for this was the fact that managers perceived conflict as a bad thing. This view is consistent with the unitarist perspective where there are common goals and no conflict (Roberts and Corbett, 2009). However even in industries where scientific management is implemented heavily, such as Toyota, use concepts such as continuous improvement (where employee�s views are discussed and considered). This shows a more pluralist view where conflict is seen as inevitable which leads to more employee involvement. This shift in management style was due to the high labour turnover and absenteeism that could have been due to dissatisfied employees.

– Scientific management is dehumanizing, employees become cogs in a machine (Roberts 2009, slide 10) which is demotivating. �Taylor fell for a too mechanistic, too inhumane image of human nature (Tsukamoto, 2008, p.349). To overcome this contemporary organisations use concepts such as job rotation to ensure that employees don�t get bored, also social factors are taken into consideration as Mayo found in some of the Hawthorne studies that these factors play an important part in motivation which in turn increases efficiency. However it can be argued that by training the employees to become �first class men� (Wren, 1994, page 220) motivation was considered and so this principle could just have been extended rather than modified.

Section 4: how scientific management is used within industries today. (400 words)

– The main industries today that make use of scientific management principles are fast food restaurants and call centres.

– �Call centre work is a modern form of Taylorism.� (Dieter et al,2003, p.311). Call centres employee unskilled workers who have a low level of control; due to the standardisation and monotonous tasks that have to be completed they have high labour turnover and absenteeism.

– From this it can be seen that it may well be necessary to use Taylor�s principles despite the disadvantages that they bring. Mangers of call centres will be well aware of the other concepts of management that exist but they may have decided that scientific management is well suited to the aims of the organisation.

– As mentioned earlier the Mcdonaldization of society explains the influence of the fast food industry on other sectors in the global market. It could be perceived that this is the industry that implements scientific management the most; however some modifications to Taylor�s main principles have been made. For example there is more flexibility now due to the fast moving pace of the global economy, without this change this industry may not have been able to keep up with the changes that are necessary to staying competitive.

– With the slight modification of the main principles the influence of scientific management can be seen in many firms that form part of our everyday lives. For example retailers such as Ikea and Starbucks use these principles to a greater or lesser extent. As well as this universities and health care also implement these principles to help to improve their efficiency.

Section 5: Conclusion (250 words)

– Although ideas such as standardisation and job specialisation are used less the newer objectives such as diversification and flexibility are only possible through increasing efficiency which is one of Taylor�s main aims. (Peaucelle 2000)

– The management style that is implemented within an organisation depends a lot on the managers styles of leadership which to some degree is influence by the industry.

– �Scientific management was a product of its environment in the sense that it grew out of the pressing needs of industry for efficiency.� (Wren, 1994, p.221). This need was due to an increase in machinery which required different management techniques. Today technology is developing very quickly and so Taylor�s principles are relevant now as they enable managers to cope with the fast pace of these changes effectively and efficiently.

– �Scientific management was a significant force, however, and it continued to evolve as individuals and ideas come forth in an ever-changing cultural environment.� (Wren, 1994, p.217). It will continue to influence future concepts of management through its advantages and disadvantages that cause modifications to be made and new styles to evolve.


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