Scientific School Of Management Thought

Frederick Winslow Taylor known as the Father of Scientific Management was born in 1856. He was a mechanical engineer who devised a theory to bring in efficiency in the industrial areas. Being a management consultant and director of a famous firm, his managerial skills developed the late motion studies to the latest valued ideas. He was the first man who had considered work justified of systematic observation and study.

Taylor is often acclaimed for his principles which were the base for many modern management theories. Through his study employees were given more significance than employer, and acknowledged the value of their proposals

Scientific school of Management Thought was intensely required in US as the supply of skilled laborers declined which affected the productivity boost, since the 20th century. The only method was to increase the efficiency of the workers which helped to overcome the matter, through which Taylor was the chief proponent in the field of scientific management. Scientific management was developed from Taylor’s principles and practices which described the management’s competence and systematization. Thus, Scientific Management introduced a system of complete mental revolution in the work place so the quarrels between the management and the workers would decrease and hence increase productivity which would further increase the profits. In the early 20th century there was an incredible influence on management practices due to scientific management theories. Study of scientific management has contributed to organizational areas such as industrial and human resource management.

Taylor’s Scientific Management

F .W. Taylor was also commonly known as the first management theorist. In 1911, he established his book called the Principles of Management which aimed at removing the non productive time taken by the workers for doing a particular task. Scientific Management introduced by Taylor used time and motion studies to accomplish the task in the best way possible. His theories were often referred as Taylor’s Principles or even Taylorism. There are several principles in scientific management as described by Taylor. The four main principles are:

By applying the scientific method of working one can accomplish the best way for performing each task.

Scientific Management aims at selecting and training the workers scientifically so that they can take their complete responsibility of performing their job efficiently.

To promote education and development of workers scientifically.

To encourage co-operation between the workers and the management so that the organizational goals are achieved.

Taylor’s management techniques are mostly time based studies in which each task is divided into several divisions, through which each division is accomplished in the easiest way and quickly. To determine the best way of doing the task, one has to find the crucial elements of each task and to increase productivity, wages and also the working conditions at the workplace. By doing this, it would not only benefit the workers but also the organization as whole. Even after having a positive impact, the workers feared that due to increase in demand for output they would be forced to work harder and thus result in the management or owners taking away all the credit in terms of money. In fact, it is the managers themselves who has violated the Taylors theory by using it in the production process and not interested in paying the incentives to the workers. This scenario is still present today in many organizations. Taylor not only introduced methods of increased productivity but also bought in the method of monetary benefits for hard workers by producing “Piece rate system” which helped in motivating the employees by paying them a certain amount for completing their job efficiently. Taylor also focused on the usage of the functional foremanship which implied that there should be different managers at different stage of production. A foreman is required to have intelligence, education, judgment, special knowledge, honesty, energy and good health. Since all these qualities cannot be found in one person, so Taylor planned to keep several specialists. Each specialist was to be assigned work regarding his qualities. Taylor’s work period allowed a typical manager to perform very limited activities in the factory, that is, a foreman would be given the complete instructions from the manager to carry on the responsibilities for producing goods.

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Elton Mayo

George Elton Mayo, the founder of Human Relation Movement was born in 1880 in Australian. The Australian born American sociologist and psychologist was known for his famous Hawthorne studies work which focused on social relations, motivation and satisfaction of employees in the production process. Mayo established that external factors like lightning, temperature and so on were of lesser importance than the social factors like feelings of belonging or relationship in work group, to understand the level of productivity of workers. He was the first man to question the behavioral assumptions of scientific management. His studies suggested that physical conditions weren’t that important as compared to the human factors to motivate the employees in the production process.

Behavioral School of Management Thought

The interpretations of Hawthorne studies by Elton mayo the major contributor, give rise to Behavior School of Management Thought which translated that people not only work for monitory benefits but also to satisfy their own several needs. Thus, satisfaction is also affected by factors rather than remuneration and motivation is also achieved due to factors other than wages or benefits. The Behavior School of Management Thought came into existence from the conclusion of Mayo and others ideas regarding the factors that have affected the human behavior. The Behavior School of Management Thought has taken management to an advanced level where employees are treated as individual or work groups. Present day managers consider employees as assets or resources to be developed and worked with and not as machines who constantly work just for monetary or satisfactory benefits. The Behavior School of Management Thought concentrates on fields like personality, motivation, communication, values, attitudes, conflict, group behaviors and leadership among other issues.

Mayo’s Hawthorne Experiment

Elton Mayo, professor at Harvard Business School conducted the Hawthorne experiment at the western electric Hawthorne Works during 1924 to 1932. The experiment was conducted to examine the relationship between the workers productivity and the level of lighting in the workplace. Initially, it examined the physical and environmental control on the workplace and later moved on to the psychological aspects. The experiments were conducted by the researchers in two ways. The first experiment conducted was by dividing the employees into control groups, who had constant amount of lighting and test groups, who were advised to bring in intentional changes in lighting. The result of this experiment was very vague and uncertain because unpredictably when the lighting for the test group was improved the production level also increased. But when the lighting for them was made worse, it still showed an increase in production. And the same thing was followed for the control group as it also showed an increase in production even though the conditions of lighting remain constant. By this the author can conclude that there is something other than lighting that is affecting the workers performance. And the second experiment started off by placing small groups of workers in different rooms and varying a number of variables like introduction of varying lengths of rest periods, increase in wages, the days and weeks of work were also shortened. The supervisors, who were the researchers themselves allowed the employees to make any necessary changes and also allowed them to choose their own rest periods. Thus, the results of this experiment were also very ambiguous as their level of performance also increased but also unpredictably fell over time. Hence, by these experiments Mayo concluded that the increase in productivity was because of the complex chain of attitudes as the workers had developed a group pride which motivated them to increase their performance at their workplace. The general conclusion that can be made out of this Hawthorne experiment is that: Firstly, the production is highly influenced by the social factors although some suggestion about the physical and mental ability of an individual was given. Secondly, the relationships between the supervisor and the workers have made an influence on the productivity in an informal organization and this relation also tends to influence the way in which the workers would carry out the directions of the supervisors. Thirdly, the work group decides a norm of what is a ‘fair days work’ and try to interpret and provide a systematic description of the norms. Finally, the workplace is viewed as a social system consisting of several interdependent parts. Thus, this phenomenon was later called as the Hawthorne Effect.

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Differences between the Attitudes of the Scientific School of Management Thought with those of the Behavioral School of Management Thought

The contrast and comparison will be based on the views and thoughts of the workers and also the way in which they handle and control their workforce in the workplace along with the different ways through which they get their things done from the people. A good on job relations and social needs helps an individual to work better even under high pressure. An organization is also based on mutual understanding and cooperation. Management should be mainly concerned about the psychological needs of the individuals. The rate of productivity can also be affected by the involvement of the informal groups. As in the market it is said that every product has its price and so its the managers job to find out how to hook the workers. The work in the organization should be arranged in such a way that the power of conveying the orders of how the things should be done should be in the hands of the management whereas the execution should be done by the workers. The points of differences are stated below:

The Scientific School of Thought gives more importance to the individual workers in an organization whereas the Behavioral School of Thought focuses on relationships such as the informal groups in an organization.

The Scientific School of Thought allows a leader to set a defined criterion to be enforced on the workers to carry out their duties which shows them as the only person incharge whereas the Behavioral School of Thought promotes the idea of cooperation and coordination amongst the employees. This is also used in providing assistance and opportunities in the personal development of the workers. By doing this the workers see themselves as a goodwill agent in the organization.

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A worker working in the Scientific School of Thought are believed to be a mechanical passive who works only for monetary rewards and they believed that the best way to achieve the goals is by maintaining as much rationality as possible while the Behavioral School of Thought believed that communication and cooperation between the members of an organization can be facilitated by the existence of such informal groups.

The Scientific School of Thought intended the growth of the organization excluding the welfare of the worker’s individual growth by practicing external control on top of the workers performance whereas the Behavioral School of Thought believed in maintaining the organizational growth as well as the commitment towards the individual growth of the workers.

Taylor believed that monetary incentive is the only reason which stimulates a worker to perform better at work and so the Scientific School of Thought called their workers as an economic man whereas Mayo understood that workers feel more secured when there is a good communication and a enormous sense of acceptance in the organization and so the Behavioral School of Thought called their worker as a social man with good group satisfaction.

The Scientific School of Thought treats the workers as machines by using the ‘differential system’ to motivate the workers whereas the Behavioral School of Thought states that a satisfied worker is more motivated and equally effective in its work.

The views and thoughts of both the management schools seems to be vary a lot from each other but they seem to be heading towards one goal in common, that is, increase in their productivity. Both the theories are designed keeping in view the organizational excellence and to increase the efficiency of their manpower. In today’s business world, a smart manager is the one who tries to imply both the theories bit by bit keeping its pro’s and con’s in mind.


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