Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taylor's Scientific Management (USA 1856-1915):

Started as an apprentice machinist in Philadelphia, USA. He rose to be the chief
engineer at the Midvale Engineering Works and later on served with
the Bethlehem Works where he experimented with his ideas and made
the contribution to the management theory for which he is so well
known. Frederick Winslow Taylor well-known as the founder of
scientific management was the first to recognize and emphasis the
need for adopting a scientific approach to the task of managing an enterprise. He tried
to diagnose the causes of low efficiency in industry and came to the conclusion that
much of waste and inefficiency is due to the lack of order and system in the methods
of management. He found that the management was usually ignorant of the amount of
work that could be done by a worker in a day as also the best method of doing the job.
As a result, it remained largely at the mercy of the workers who deliberately shirked
work. He therefore, suggested that those responsible for management should adopt a
scientific approach in their work, and make use of "scientific method" for achieving
higher efficiency. The scientific method consists essentially of
(a) Observation
(b) Measurement
(c) Experimentation and
(d) Inference.
He advocated a thorough planning of the job by the management and emphasized the
necessity of perfect understanding and co-operation between the management and the
workers both for the enlargement of profits and the use of scientific investigation and
knowledge in industrial work. He summed up his approach in these words:
 Science, not rule of thumb
 Harmony, not discord
 Co-operation, not individualism
 Maximum output, in place of restricted output
 The development of each man to his greatest efficiency and prosperity.
Elements of Scientific Management: The techniques which Taylor regarded as its
essential elements or features may be classified as under:
1. Scientific Task and Rate-setting, work improvement, etc.
2. Planning the Task.
3. Vocational Selection and Training
4. Standardization (of working conditions, material equipment etc.)
5. Specialization
6. Mental Revolution.
1. Scientific Task and Rate-Setting (work study): Work study may be defined as the
systematic, objective and critical examination of all the factors governing the
operational efficiency of any specified activity in order to effect improvement.
Work study includes.
(a) Methods Study: The management should try to ensure that the plant is laid out
in the best manner and is equipped with the best tools and machinery. The
possibilities of eliminating or combining certain operations may be studied.
(b) Motion Study: It is a study of the movement, of an operator (or even of a
machine) in performing an operation with the purpose of eliminating useless
(c) Time Study (work measurement): The basic purpose of time study is to
determine the proper time for performing the operation. Such study may be
conducted after the motion study.
Both time study and motion study help in determining the best method of doing a
job and the standard time allowed for it.
(d) Fatigue Study: If, a standard task is set without providing for measures to
eliminate fatigue, it may either be beyond the workers or the workers may over
strain themselves to attain it. It is necessary, therefore, to regulate the working
hours and provide for rest pauses at scientifically determined intervals.
(e) Rate-setting: Taylor recommended the differential piece wage system, under
which workers performing the standard task within prescribed time are paid a
much higher rate per unit than inefficient workers who are not able to come up to
the standard set.
2. Planning the Task: Having set the task which an average worker must strive to
perform to get wages at the higher piece-rate, necessary steps have to be taken to plan the production thoroughly so that there is no bottle neck and the work goes
on systematically.
3. Selection and Training: Scientific Management requires a radical change in the
methods and procedures of selecting workers. It is therefore necessary to entrust
the task of selection to a central personnel department. The procedure of selection
will also have to be systematized. Proper attention has also to be devoted to the
training of the workers in the correct methods of work.
4. Standardization: Standardization may be introduced in respect of the following.
(a) Tools and equipment: By standardization is meant the process of bringing
about uniformity. The management must select and store standard tools and
implements which will be nearly the best or the best of their kind.
(b) Speed: There is usually an optimum speed for every machine. If it is
exceeded, it is likely to result in damage to machinery.
(c) Conditions of Work: To attain standard performance, the maintenance of
standard conditions of ventilation, heating, cooling, humidity, floor space, safety
etc., is very essential.
(d) Materials: The efficiency of a worker depends on the quality of materials and
the method of handling materials.
5. Specialization: Scientific management will not be complete without the
introduction of specialization. Under this plan, the two functions of 'planning' and
'doing' are separated in the organization of the plant. The `functional foremen' are
specialists who join their heads to give thought to the planning of the performance
of operations in the workshop. Taylor suggested eight functional foremen under
his scheme of functional foremanship.
(a) The Route Clerk: To lay down the sequence of operations and instruct the
workers concerned about it.
(b) The Instruction Card Clerk: To prepare detailed instructions regarding
different aspects of work.
(c) The Time and Cost Clerk: To send all information relating to their pay to the
workers and to secure proper returns of work from them.
(d) The Shop Disciplinarian: To deal with cases of breach of discipline and
(e) The Gang Boss: To assemble and set up tools and machines and to teach the
workers to make all their personal motions in the quickest and best way.
(f) The Speed Boss: To ensure that machines are run at their best speeds and
proper tools are used by the workers.
(g) The Repair Boss: To ensure that each worker keeps his machine in good order
and maintains cleanliness around him and his machines.
(h) The Inspector: To show to the worker how to do the work.
6. Mental Revolution: At present, industry is divided into two groups – management
and labour. The major problem between these two groups is the division of surplus.
The management wants the maximum possible share of the surplus as profit; the
workers want, as large share in the form of wages. Taylor has in mind the enormous
gain that arises from higher productivity. Such gains can be shared both by the
management and workers in the form of increased profits and increased wages.
Benefits of Scientific Management:
Taylor's ideas, research and recommendations brought into focus technological,
human and organizational issues in industrial management.
Benefits of Taylor's scientific management included wider scope for specialization,
accurate planning, timely delivery, standardized methods, better quality, lesser costs,
minimum wastage of materials, time and energy and cordial relations between
management and workers. According to Gilbreths, the main benefits of scientific
management are "conservation and savings, making an adequate use of every one's
energy of any type that is expended". The benefits of scientific management are:-
1. Replacement of traditional rule of thumb method by scientific techniques.
2. Proper selection and training of workers.
3. Incentive wages to the workers for higher production.
4. Elimination of wastes and rationalization of system of control.
5. Standardization of tools, equipment, materials and work methods.
6. Detailed instructions and constant guidance of the workers.
7. Establishment of harmonious relationship between the workers.
8. Better utilization of various resources.
9. Satisfaction of the needs of the customers by providing higher quality
products at lower prices.
1. Worker's Criticism:
(a) Speeding up of workers: Scientific Management is only a device to speed up the
workers without much regard for their health and well-being.
(b) Loss of individual worker's initiative: Scientific Management reduces workers
to automatic machine by taking away from them the function of thinking.
(c) Problem of monotony: By separating the function of planning and thinking
from that of doing, Scientific Management reduces work to mere routine.
(d) Reduction of Employment: Scientific Management creates unemployment and
hits the workers hard.
(e) Weakening of Trade Unions: Under Scientific Management, the important
issues of wages and working conditions are decided by the management through
scientific investigation and the trade unions may have little say in the matter.
(f) Exploitation of workers: Scientific Management improves productivity through
the agency of workers and yet they are given a very small share of the benefit of
such improvement.
2. Employer's Criticism:
(a) Heavy Investment: It requires too heavy an investment. The employer has to
meet the extra cost of the planning department though the foreman in this
department do not work in the workshop and directly contribute towards higher
(b) Loss due to re-organization: The introduction of Scientific Management
requires a virtual reorganization of the whole set-up of the industrial unit.
Work may have to be suspended to complete such re-organization.
(c) Unsuitable for small scale firms: various measures like the establishment of a
separate personnel department and the conducting of time and motion studies are
too expensive for a small or modest size industrial unit.


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