Scientific Management Approach
Scientific management approach was developed by Frederick W. Taylor in the late 19th century. This management approach can be defined as a scientific study done on the work methods aimed at improving the efficiency of the workers in order to achieve simplification, specialization, standardization and the overall efficiency in the organization. The approach further aimed at increasing productivity through mutual trust between the workers and the management. Through this, Taylor aimed at improving the level of trust with level of productivity improvement going to the workers. He also aimed at eliminating at eliminating anxiety and physical stress through training the workers and getting rid of the traditional ‘boss’ concept (Anderson, 1988). In report, principles of scientific management approach are discussed. The relevance of the approach in the modern business world is highlighted with specific examples of its appropriateness and influence given
To achieve this, Taylor developed four principles of scientific management approach that uniquely identifies it. The first principle is that uses science and not the rule of the thumb old rules. The principle further argues that the old rules of the thumb be further supported by scientific approaches to one’s work. Scientific selection of workers is the second principle. The principle states that members to the organization should be selected according to some analysis. The y should then be taught, trained and developed (Anderson, 1988).
The third principle is the management and labor corporation. Rather than managing conflicts, the management should collaborate with the members of the organization. This corporation makes it possible for the work to be done in such a in accordance to the set scientific principles. Scientific training of workers is the fourth principle. The principle points out that worker should be trained by experts based on scientific methods.
Relating this to the modern business world, it is evident how Taylor’s ideas have influenced and still shape the business environment. On the first principle, the laws and scientific principles have replaced the traditional methods that are old fashioned. This is seen in factory automation where tasks performed by workers are optimized using scientific methods and approaches with the aim of increasing productivity and being able to get optimal results. The most production lines are largely determined by the mechanical approaches chosen but have always been improved using emerging scientific methods (Albrecht, 1983).
The quality of the product has been improved by uses of scientific methods like ISO quality standards. In New Zealand for instance the use of ISO 9001 is a relevant example of a situation where the quality of the product is assured by the set work tasks. This management tool has been used widely to improve the quality of the products by most organizations in New Zealand. The tool proves to reduce waste, customer returns and rework. In the long run the end result is that efficiency is achieved.
The second principle of scientific selection of workers has widely been used in the modern business environment. The principle is deemed as the most relevant one today as most organizations endeavor to hire the right person for to various positions. One common example where this scientific principle is the use of psychologists to conduct interviews in order to determine the use the suitability of an applicant to take up certain position. Use of business training programme and training Curve in New Zealand is an example of how science has been used to perform in selecting the right persons to undertake various tasks.
Bringing together the trained worker and the science in order to offer opportunities for expression of employees need and better treatment is illustrated by the third principle in scientific management. The concept is evident today in the form of human relations. Problems related to human relations have however not been seen as been advocated by scientific management but according to (Gilbreth, 1914) scientific management has been beneficial to productivity. Most managers try to maintain safe and healthy workforce in order to improve their productivity. This has lead to the coming up of legislations such as the safe and Healthy in Employment Act of 1992 in New Zealand. The legislation is aimed at ensuring employees are happy and work in safe environment.
The last principle emphasizes the need for distinguishing the roles played by each group in an organization. This is done by dividing the work in the organization into two large components. These are the one for the management and workers. This division gives the management higher responsibility than the workers as the functions of the management is further by fostering the importance and need for the management to exercise the for management functions effectively. These functions include but not limited to planning, organizing, controlling and leading. This are the major functions of management that do are fundamental without which the textbooks on management would not exist.
(Boone, & Bowden, 1987) argues that, going beyond the four principles of scientific management, the approach has proven to be vital in the development of contemporary business. It also remained relevant. Businesses in the technology industry have had their quality and efficiency improves like in the case Group technologies in Australia where the quality of their products have been improved with the use of specification and standardization process as well as the using production control. This concept of group technologies was introduced by Taylor in 1919 and is used even in today’s factory automation. The concept has worked well especially in situations where thousands of parts are designed and classified.
Most manufacturing plants today use group technology which it small and more flexible plants. An example of such plants is the Vertex pacific. This a plastic manufacturing company in New Zealand that has factories all over the country. The machine forming the plastic in each plant is flexible hence able to change the product its manufacturing within a very short time. This has enabled the efficiencies of group technology to be realized as they reduce the number of tools required. The process is however standardized by having the machines together in close proximity and production control (Hough & White, 2001).
The scientific management is old relevant in the modern business has it has shaped the practices in the modern accounting. The management method is exceptionally derived from the classical management that was practiced in the early days. This is where only the derivations were reported to the management. This is a common phenomenon in the modern accounting system where if budgets are overrun the accountants can notice and be able to inform their relevant higher management. Continuous improvement in the performance of the workers and improved efficiency is always attributed to improved quality management. All this are valued as the goals of the scientific management. However it is argued that securing harder works by the workers is necessary.
According to (Hough & White, 2001), though history has always considered scientific management as being narrow minded, it has always failed to point out the human elements in an organization that have more often been the cause of the problem. Human element has been an important part of the scientific management. This is the work length. Taylor has always advocated shortening of the working hour in order improve efficiency and productivity. This is evident in the recent years where organizations are shifting away from the traditional working eight hours in the office to working from home, selection of working hour and the increasing the availability of communication systems hence changing the contemporary business environment.
To further the idea of scientific management being relevant in the modern world of business, Parker & Lewis (1995) state that business environment in the modern day is similar to the early days scientific management. Service and product diversification, corporate mergers, intense competition, technological changes, pre-occupation and national economic recessions are examples of how the system has remained the same. This reason as to why scientific management approach can still be used today. Streamlining of business systems existing in two or more merged companies can be done by use of scientific analysis. Increasing the productivity of an organization in times of recessions and compete well in a competitive business environment are some of the valuable thing that can only be achieved with use of the scientific management.
An example of this is the application of management theories and practices in a global setting based on the scientific management in the rebuilding of many businesses after the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York which caused a major negative impact on the tourism sector in most parts of the world. Its world noting that this Taylor’s work has faced some criticism. Perroni & Wrege (2001) argue that Taylor was inconsistent in his pig-iron handling experiments as has data was consistent .They therefore concluded that his ‘pig-tale’ used to illustrate the scientific management approach was morally unacceptable. They suggested the message was more important than the accuracy that Taylor shown in has research.
It would unjust however for managers to discredit scientific management approach on this basis ignoring the possibilities that scientific management can offer increased productivity and efficiency. Hough & White (2001) showed how the current disciplines like operations management, systems reengineering and work designs use many aspects in Taylor’s work.
In conclusion it is imperative to say that scientific management has contributed immensely to the successful management in the current business world worldwide. The ideas propagated by Frederick Taylor in the late 19th century and early 20th century still have a place in the modern day management thinking. It’s therefore advisable every manager regardless of the position one hold to embrace scientific management and use it carefully bearing in mind it is limited to the mechanistic organization. It is also possible to make improvements by carefully learning the work processes, designing and implementing relevant changes. This is however possible when considered in a holistic of the organization (Albrecht, 1983).