How Scientific Management Influenced Management Thinking

April 14, 2018 Management

How Scientific Management Influenced Management Thinking Butler (1991, pp. 23) believes “ Many of Taylor’s ideas, concepts, and rules seem even more appropriate today than at the time he promulgated them. Furthermore, today’s technology and developments enable a more effective implementation. ” The four principles of scientific management according to Butler (1991, pp. 4) are as follows: Scientific development of the best work methods through observation, measurement and analysis – replacing rule of thumb method Scientific selection and development of the workmen through training – previous system the workmen chose his own work and was self tort Relating and bringing together of best work methods and training and development of the selected workmen Cooperation of employers and workmen which should include the division of work and the managers responsibility of work – previous system almost all work & responsibility was placed on the worker I believe the modern workplace still has a system very similar to this in place today. The world is still competitive and advancing in technology and searching further for efficiency and earning power.

Now I will turn to the introduction of scientific management and how these principles changed management thinking. The introduction of this system in the United States was well received and agreed with Taylor’s (1911) suggestion that, employers and the workmen who adopt scientific management will eliminate disputes and disagreements, in particular relating to wages through scientific investigation. The result of scientific management was huge gains in productivity and prosperity and it also seemed to ease working conditions and industrial unrest that was occurring. The introduction of scientific management in France was somewhat a different story. According to Witzel (2005, pp. 0) “Subsequent studies have shown that fewer than 100 French companies adopted scientific management methods during this period. The debate which raged in intellectual and academic circles had very little impact on French management or French industry. ” Maybe the French culture was concerned about the deskilling and dehumanising that would occur and the dominance of capital over labour. It is interesting to note that scientific management was and still is used in France today. Witzel (2005, pp. 91) affirms “scientific management became what its detractors in the West always feared it could become: a tool for driving workers harder rather than a means of rewarding them for efficiency gains. The Soviet Union welcomed Taylor’s system with open arms but ended tragically in my opinion due to the communist government of the day and lack of education in the workplace. This is an example of scientific management techniques being used without the correct philosophy applied. In this situation it is most likely that the employer gained higher production levels leading to higher profits, however the workmen would have been disadvantaged in many ways. Butler (1991, pp. 25) believes “There are strong economic incentives to invest in selection, training, human resource development at levels in order to insure the success and survival of the firm” This very statement is why the principles of scientific management are relevant today and changed management thinking in the early 1900’s.

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I have looked at the principles of scientific management when it was introduced to the world and believe it is more relevant today due to development in economic conditions, technology, education and social skills. The world is a changing place and is currently in the process of globalisation which has many aspects such as politics, economics, financial markets. environment etc which will require some form of management to succeed whether scientific management is valid is a controversial debate. REFERENCE LIST Butler, G. R. (1991). ‘Frederick Winslow Taylor: The Father of Scientific Management and His Philosophy Revisited’, Business Premier Database, pp. 23-27. Taylor, F. W. (1911), The Principles of Scientific Management, Harper, New York. Witzel, M. (2005). ‘Where Scientific Managment Went Awry’, Business Premier Database, pp. 89-91.


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