Prior toscientific management, work was performed by skilled craftsmen who hadlearned their jobs in lengthy apprenticeships. They made their own decisions abouthow their job was to be performed. scientific management took away much of thisautonomy and converted skilled crafts into a series of simplified jobs that could beperformed by unskilled workers who easily could be trained for the tasks.Taylor became interested in improving worker productivity early in his career whenhe observed gross inefficiencies during his contact with steel workers.
Working in the steel industry, Taylor had observed the phenomenon of workers’purposely operating well below their capacity, that is, soldiering. Frederick Taylorattributed soldiering to three causes:1.The almost universally held belief among workers that if they became moreproductive, fewer of them would be needed and jobs would be eliminated.2.Non-incentive wage systems encourage low productivity if the employee willreceive the same pay regardless of how much is produced, assuming theemployee can convince the employer that the slow pace really is a good pacefor the job. Employees take great care never to work at a good pace for fearthat this faster pace would become the new standard. If employees are paidby the quantity they produce, they fear that management will decrease theirper-unit pay if the quantity increases.3.Workers waste much of their effort by relying on rule-of-thumb methodsrather than on optimal work methods that can be determined by scientificstudy of the task.To counter soldiering and to improve efficiency, Taylor began to conduct experimentsto determine the best level of performance for certain jobs, and what was necessaryto achieve this performance.
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Taylor argued that even the most basic, mindless tasks could be planned in a waythat dramatically would increase productivity, and that scientific management of thework was more effective than the “initiative and incentive” method of motivatingworkers. The initiative and incentive method offered an incentive to increaseproductivity but placed the responsibility on the worker to figure out how to do it.To scientifically determine the optimal way to perform a job, Taylor performedexperiments that he called time studies, (also known as time and motion studies).These studies were characterized by the use of a stopwatch to time a worker’ssequence of motions, with the goal of determining the one best way to perform a job.
The following are examples of some of the time-and-motion studies that wereperformed by Taylor and others in the era of scientific management.
If workers were moving 12 1/2 tons of pig iron per day and they could beincentivized to try to move 47 1/2 tons per day, left to their own wits they probablywould become exhausted after a few hours and fail to reach their goal. However, byfirst conducting experiments to determine the amount of resting that was necessary,the worker’s manager could determine the optimal timing of lifting and resting sothat the worker could move the 47 1/2 tons per day without tiring.Not all workers were physically capable of moving 47 1/2 tons per day; perhaps only1/8 of the pig iron handlers were capable of doing so. While these 1/8 were notextraordinary people who were highly prized by society, their physical capabilitieswere well-suited to moving pig iron. This example suggests that workers should beselected according to how well they are suited for a particular job.
The Term Paper on Are scientific management and human relations approaches still applicable to organisations of the 21st century?
Compare traditional and modern organization III. Scientific management and Human relation approach in organization 1. Scientific management in modern organization 2. Human relation approach in modern organization IV. Conclusion List of references I. Introduction Maximizing efficiency, reducing costs and increasing profits are facts which will be always of high interest for companies. In the course ...
The Science of Shoveling
In another study of the “science of shoveling”, Taylor ran time studies to determinethat the optimal weight that a worker should lift in a shovel was 21 pounds. Sincethere is a wide range of densities of materials, the shovel should be sized so that itwould hold 21 pounds of the substance being shoveled. The firm provided theworkers with optimal shovels. The result was a three to four fold increase inproductivity and workers were rewarded with pay increases. Prior to scientificmanagement, workers used their own shovels and rarely had the optimal one for the job.
Others performed experiments that focused on specific motions, such as Gilbreth’sbricklaying experiments that resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of motions required to lay bricks. The husband and wife Gilbreth team used motionpicture technology to study the motions of the workers in some of their experiments.
Taylor’s 4 Principles of Scientific Management
After years of various experiments to determine optimal work methods, Taylorproposed the following four principles of scientific management:1.Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientificstudy of the tasks.2.Scientifically select, train, and develop each worker rather than passivelyleaving them to train themselves.3.Cooperate with the workers to ensure that the scientifically developedmethods are being followed.
4.Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that themanagers apply scientific management principles to planning the work andthe workers actually perform the tasks.These principles were implemented in many factories, often increasing productivityby a factor of three or more. Henry Ford applied Taylor’s principles in his automobilefactories, and families even began to perform their household tasks based on theresults of time and motion studies.
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Drawbacks of Scientific Management
While scientific management principles improved productivity and had a substantialimpact on industry, they also increased the monotony of work. The core jobdimensions of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedbackall were missing from the picture of scientific management.While in many cases the new ways of working were accepted by the workers, insome cases they were not. The use of stopwatches often was a protested issue andled to a strike at one factory where “Taylorism” was being tested. Complaints thatTaylorism was dehumanizing led to an investigation by the United States Congress.Despite its controversy, scientific management changed the way that work was done,and forms of it continue to be used today.