Scientific Management Essay example

Submitted By apombo
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Pages: 9

Scientific Management was the product of 19th Century industrial practices and has no relevance to the present day. Discuss.

Scientific management is a theory of management, which possesses the goal of improving labour productivity by controlling the efficiency of the workers. This method of managing workers was used in order to optimize the efficiency of each task and it made the specific task of each worker simpler in order for them to be able to specialize in this one area. This specialization would allow the worker to excel in his specific task by finding the best way to perform it and having this be reinforced by the managers. Though this method became widely spread in the industrial factories, it is no longer used today for valid reasons explained later in this essay. Before the idea of scientific management, work was produced by craftsmen that spent years perfecting their line of work. They were given a lot more control on how to produce their goods, and had to specialize in the whole process of creating the final product. Scientific management separated each step of making the product, simplifying it for the workers. This way one worker would specialize in the first step, another on the second and so one. Therefore each step could be done faster as time went on and the skills improved. Scientific management came about in the early 19th century, as a product of the industrial revolution. In 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor published his book, The Principles of Scientific Management, where he describes in detail the process of scientific management. He felt the need for this new method of management after studying how the workers worked in the steel industry. He noticed that the workers avoided working at their full potential, and he called this soldiering. There are three main logical reasons for this soldiering, one reason is that the workers feared that if they did work to their full potential then the company would need less workers so many would be fired. Another reason is that the employees worked in a non-incentive wage system; this produces lower productivity seeing as the worker received the same wage no matter the efficiency of his work. The employees knew that as long as they persuaded the employer that the pace at which they worked was actually very reasonable, then they had nothing to worry about. They feared that if they did increase the pace then this would raise the standard of the manager, so then the manager would instil a system in which the workers would be paid by the amount of goods they produced. The third main reason for why soldiering could have been taking place is because workers wasted a lot of time by simply following the traditional way of producing goods, rather than finding more efficient solutions. After Frederick Winslow Taylor became aware of these concerns, he decided to conduct a number of experiments to figure out the optimal way of producing goods. Taylor believed that even the simplest tasks that required little thinking could be monitored and acted out in a more efficient way that would dramatically increase the level of productivity within the work force. He thought that managing workers through incentives actually decreased efficiency, because it still did not monitor how the workers performed each task. As it still gave all of the control to manage each task as they wished rather than scientifically looking for the most efficient way. So, in order to find the most efficient way of producing goods, Taylor conducted some experiments that were known as time and motion studies. He used a stopwatch to time each series of movements that the workers would make, in order to find the optimal way of performing a job. There was the pig iron experiment, where the idea was that if workers were transporting 12.5 tons of pig iron daily, they could be pushed to actually transport 47.5 daily. Though he knew that if this task were left to their own judgment, then they would get tired