Scientific Management Theory And Human Relations Movement Management Essay


The twentieth century has brought in a number of management theories which have helped shape our view of management in the present business environment. These different theories have aided managers to create new ways of organising and managing people. Mullins (2005) said that the role of managers where that they are “essentially an integrating activity which permeates every facet of the operations of an organisation”.  The two theories to be compared and contrasted in this essay are the scientific school of thought theory on management by Frederick Taylor and the Human relation school theory of Elton Mayo. Both theories tried to offer the best way to ensure that productivity is carried out in the work place.

Scientific Management Theory

The industrial revolution era has brought the need to bring about an increase in the effective rate of output and productivity and that led to the introduction of the scientific management theory by Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915. He believed that the most efficient methods for completing a task and for the selection, development and motivation of employees could be scientifically determined. The four objectives of Taylor’s scientific management theory were as follows:

The development of a science for each element of a man’s work to replace the old rule-of-thumb methods.

The scientific selection, training and development of workers instead of allowing them to choose their own tasks and train themselves as best they could.

The development of a spirit of hearty cooperation between workers and management to ensure that work would be carried out in accordance with scientifically devised procedures.

The division of work between workers and the management in almost equal shares, each group taking over the work for which it is best fitted instead of the former condition in which responsibility largely rested with the workers. Self-evident in this philosophy are organisations arranged in a hierarchy, systems of abstract rules and impersonal relationships between staff.

His theories were based on his studies of pig-iron production lines at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and centred on the increased productivity of a Dutch labourer by the name of Schmidt. By tailoring Schmidt’s work methods, Taylor was able to improve their output level. Schmidt was rewarded for the increased output by a 60% rise in wages. The theory was applied to the other steelworkers where there was a notable but erratic increase in output. (LJ Mullins, 2006). On the surface, Taylor’s theory of scientific management seemed successful.

The Human Relations Movement

The Human Relations Movement viewed people as driven by both economic and social needs. It attempted to approach the subject of organisational management psychologically. The theory was based upon increased productivity and employee satisfaction as a result of increased management concern for employee welfare and individual attention. Elton Mayo’s work on human behaviour at The Hawthorne Works of The Western Electric Company in Chicago (1924-1927) produced many conclusions in respect of human relations and motivation theory. These highlighted the need for group collaboration to be planned and developed, also understanding of the influence on the workplace of an employee’s personal circumstances. Key elements of Human Relations theory are:

A business organisation is basically a social system. It is not just a techno-economic system.

The employer can be motivated by psychological and social wants because his behaviour is also influenced by feelings, emotions and attitudes. Thus economic incentives are not the only method to motivate people.

Management must learn to develop co-operative attitudes and not rely merely on command.

Participation becomes an important instrument in human relations movement. In order to achieve participation, effective two-way communication network is essential.

Productivity is linked with employee satisfaction in any business organisation. Therefore management must take greater interest in employee satisfaction.

Group psychology plays an important role in any business organisation. Therefore rely more on informal group effort.

The human relations movement came as a criticism to the scientific school. The theory believes that there are other factors that actually motivate workers in an organisation other than the economical and environmental condition of workplace. “despite the economic process brought about in part by scientific management, critics were calling attention to the seamy `side of progress , which include severe labour / management conflict , apathy , boredom and wasted human resources (Wertheim , 2005). The Human relations school found out that workers operate as a team and an informal social interaction exists among them, other than the everyday formal working process. A multidisciplinary behavioural science approach can make an important contribution to the field of organisational behaviour because it adopts a multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary study of employee’s behaviour applying principles from behavioural sciences. Behavioural science has three main disciplines:

Psychology – personality systems

Sociology – social behaviour

Anthropology – science of mankind and study of human behaviour (cultural systems)

It is clear that modern organisations are strongly influenced by the theories of Taylor and Mayo. Their precepts have become such a strong part of modern management that it is difficult to believe that these concepts were original and new at some point in history. The modern idea that these concepts are common sense is strong tribute to these founders.

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This portfolio will identify how the role and functions of Human Resource Management are undertaken in my chosen organisation (Sainsbury’s) and make recommendations if necessary.

First of all human Resource Management (HRM) is the function within an organisation that focuses on recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work in the organisation. Human Resource Management can also be performed by line managers. Human Resource Management is the organisational function that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organisation development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.

Sainsbury’s was founded in 1869 by John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury. They opened their first small dairy shop at 173 Drury Lane, London. Drury Lane was one of London’s poorest areas and the Sainsbury’s’ shop quickly became popular for offering high-quality products at low prices. It was so successful that further branches were opened in other market streets in Stepney, Islington and Kentish Town.

The retail market has changed significantly over the past decade, and with it Sainsbury’s has continued to transform and change. They are now focused on their UK business, comprising Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, Bells Stores (acquired in 2004) and Sainsbury’s Bank. Their store portfolio has been strengthened through new stores, enhanced store formats and refurbishments and they have increased their position within the UK convenience market. Nectar, their customer loyalty programme, is the UK’s largest loyalty programme with more than 50 per cent of UK households currently participating.

Sainsbury’s Human Resources management

Human resources look after and employ the employees who work for Sainsbury’s. Human Resources regard staff as the most important resource for a successful business. If the employees are not motivated and only do the minimum work that is required, then all the products and services that Sainsbury’s offer would not make the business successful. If the employees are keen to do their best, are well trained and committed to the aims of Sainsbury’s, then Sainsbury’s will be successful. This is why the human resources department is so important. The diagram below shows the roles and functions of the Human Resource. 19/business/hrm/lesson/hrm1.htm

1- Recruitment and Selection

This is one of the most fundamental roles of the HR department in Sainsbury’s. This is because this function ensures that the Company under consideration selects the most skilful and competent person from a sea of applicants at that time. This function involves evaluation of ability and competency of potential employees in relation to what the Company needs. This role falls under the Staffing role of management. If this function is performed well, then the organisation will increase value consequently being on the right pathway to achieve its organisational and departmental goals and objectives. (Hyde, 2004)

Recruitment is a costly process for Sainsbury’s and it identifies the needs to employ someone up to the point at which application forms for the post have arrived at Sainsbury’s. Selection then consists of the processes involved in choosing from applicants a suitable candidate to fill a post. There are a number of stages, which can be used to define and set out nature of particular jobs for recruitment purposes in Sainsbury’s. The flow chart below shows the recruitment process in detail. What happens in each stage and the point that the candidate is successful or not.

Alec Rodger’s Seven-Point Plan and Munro Fraser’s Five-Fold Grading System

First of all the Company can conduct educational and psychological measurements. This task will involve assessment of abilities, skills and character evaluation of applicants. Through psychometric evaluation, the Company can ensure that employees have the right attitude necessary to fit into the organisation. Another method Companies use to recruit members of staff is through interviews. Here, the Human Resource Department can ask applicants questions that evaluate their decision making abilities and how they would deal with certain situations if presented with them. The Department can also employ the use of written interviews where applicants answer questions addressing key issues in the organisation. Through these channels, the Department contributes towards organisational performance. 

2-Training and development

Training consists of a range of processes involved in making sure that job holders have the right skills, knowledge and attitudes required to help Sainsbury’s. Training is very important in achieving Sainsbury’s aims and objectives as it creates, sustains dialogue and relationships, which increases the level of understanding about the service. Training helps staff appreciate their professional role, which will be reflected in their work. By this the aim will be achieved which is increasing the sales and profit as the employees will know what they are doing and have experience on the job.

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Also Sainsbury’s will increase the productivity of their employees and Sainsbury’s will be able to identify the members of staff that need further support, assistance or training. Sainsbury’s uses training as an opportunity to reinforce organisational aims and to subtly review areas for improvement to maintain the quality of the service.

Training and development is very important to Sainsbury’s and the employees receive a wealth of learning and development throughout their career. Because Sainsbury’s want to be the best at what they do, training and development will not only make sure that the employees have the skills and confidence to do their job well and deliver outstanding customer service and business results, but will also give them plenty of opportunities to grow along the way. Sainsbury’s have wide range of learning and development available using a variety of methods (i.e. workshops, activity and coaching training, workbooks) not all learning and development is relevant for everyone or takes place at the same time in their career so it is spilt into the following 4 steps.

Step 1 Induction training (getting started)

Mandatory for all colleagues

Takes place during the first 2 days

Is a basic introduction to Sainsbury’s – explains the way they work (values), how to deliver great service and includes all the legal and compliance subjects such as health and safety and food safety.

Step 2 Foundation training (basics to do your job)

Mandatory for all colleagues to be at this skill level

Takes place during the 12 weeks

Introduces the employees to their role and includes all the basics they need to know on how to work productively and safely on their department

Step 3 Advance training ( managing, suppervising)

For management and team leader colleagues, job experts and those who want to develop for their next step.

Takes place once signed off at intermediate level

Covers how to manage and supervise in their role

Signed off to manage legal and compliance on each department in the first 12 weeks.

Many avenues exist to train employees. The key is to match the training method to the situation. Assess each training method implemented in the organisation and get feedback from trainees to see if they learned anything. Then take the results from the most popular and most effective methods to design a specific training program.

3 – Industrial relations and employment legislations

Industrial relations are the relationships between employees and employers within the organisational settings. The field of industrial relations looks at the relationship between management and workers, particularly groups of workers represented by a union. Industrial relations are basically the interactions between employers, employees and the government, and the institutions and associations through which such interactions are mediated.

Not only does Sainsbury’s HR deal with union organisations, but they are also responsible for resolving issues-namely, the contract. The contract defines employment related issues such as compensation, benefits, working conditions, job security, discipline procedures, individual’s rights, management’s rights, and contract length. Collective bargaining involves HRM and the union trying to resolve any issues peacefully-before the union finds it necessary to strike.

Now days, employees have more rights than before in order to work safely and ensure that they are receiving their rights. This is because employers have more duties imposed on them, therefore the government must ensure that employees are not missed out and they are receiving their full rights from their employers. The Employment Act 2000 introduced a number of changes to how employers, employees and unions conduct their relationships. Also this act ensures that each party’s rights are well protected. Amongst the most common legal issues that fall under employment law are:

Holidays and pay – Based on the Working Time Regulation 1998, all full time employees are entitled four week’s paid annual leave per leave year. There are some workers who are not entitled to paid holiday. However, part-time employees are entitled to holiday in proportion to the time they work.

Maximum working week – The normal working hours for employees should be set out in the contract of employment. The Working Time Regulation protects employees from working too many hours in a week. Employees should not have to work more than 48 hours a week on average. There are special rules for some workers, such as young workers, trainee doctors and mobile workers. For example, an employee is under 18 and over school leaving age. Young workers cannot usually be made to work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.

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Minimum wage – Almost all UK workers have a legal right to a minimum level of pay, called the National Minimum wages. All workers in the UK aged 16 or over are legally entitled to be paid a minimum amount per hour. This is regardless of the kind of work they do or the size and type of company. The rate is reviewed every year, and any increases take place in October.


It is important to note that an individual does not necessarily have to “have” the ground (or relevant characteristic). Discrimination may also occur where a relevant characteristic existed in the past, but no longer exists. Here are some of the acts that are related to discrimination.

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

This act states that it is unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their sex or being married. For example, it makes it illegal to discriminate a particular sex when advertising to fill jobs available appointing employees for those jobs promoting staff into better jobs determining the terms and conditions of the job when offering employees opportunities for training and development. Also discrimination can be direct and indirect.

Race Relations Act 1976

This act makes it generally unlawful to discriminate on grounds of race. It’s illegal in the same areas as described above under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. There are a few exceptions to the Act including: Ethnic restaurants can specify they want people of a particular race to work as waiters/waitresses to make the restaurant look more authentic or Social work departments can specify they want to appoint staff of a particular race when they have to deal with social problems of people of the same.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

This is defined as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term (at least 12 months) adverse effect on people’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’ The Act makes it unlawful for a business to discriminate against a person in:


Selection or dismissal

The terms of employment offered

Promotion, transfers, training or other benefits


Under equality, if a contract of employment does not state that men and women will receive the same remuneration for like work, it shall be an implied term of the contract. For example, if a business employs two employees one man and the other is woman and they doing the same work but the man is paid more than the woman, by the fact that he is man. Below are the acts that are related to this point.

Equal Opportunities

Equal opportunities mean that everyone has the same chance, in other words if a candidate or employee is discriminated against because of their sex or race. Reasons for discrimination can be because of women, people from ethnic minorities, disabled people, and older people.

Equal Pay Act 1970

States that women should be paid equal pay for work which is ‘like work’ or ‘work rated as equivalent’ to that of a man. Prior to this Act many jobs paid lower rates of pay to women. As we all know that in UK women are paid 20% less than man at work.

Unfair dismissal

Dismissal is when an employer, with or without notice, ends an employee’s employment. It can also happen when a fixed-term contract isn’t renewed or when an employer forces someone to retire. Dismissal can be done verbally or in writing. Constructive dismissal is where employer’s actions (e.g. extreme bullying) force employee to resign.

Before the dismissal the employer must normally give employees at least the notice stated in the contract or guaranteed by law. Dismissal without notice is only allowed for ‘gross misconduct’, which means a situation serious enough to dismiss an employee without first giving a warning (such as theft, fraud or violence). An employer should always investigate the circumstance before dismissing – even in possible gross misconduct cases.


Redundancy is a form of dismissal from a job. Redundancy occurs when workers are not longer required. There are many reasons behind this which might be:

new technology or a new system has made your job unnecessary

the job you were hired for no longer exists

the need to cut costs means staff numbers must be reduced

the business is closing down or moving

In redundancy employees have the rights under the Employment Rights Act 1996. If the employer is closing part of the business, the employer should look another work within the business which will be suitable for the employee. However, the employee has the right to be paid a redundancy payment if the employee worked for the employer continuously at least for two years. Redundancy pay is also due when a fixed-term contract of two years or more expires and is not renewed because of redundancy.

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