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Fredrick Taylor’s Management Theory

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Principles Of Management

Fredrick Taylor’s Princples Of Scientific Management

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Background

Fredrick Taylor was born in the year 1856 In a Quaker family, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taylor came to be regarded as one of the efficiency movement, with his ideas he broadly influencing the progressive era. After Taylor completed his learning he went for an apprenticeship for four years with a group of New England machine-tool manufactures at Philadelphia’s centennial exposition. It was in 1878 that Taylor began working as a machine-shop laborer at Midvale Steel Works.

During his work time at Midvale, Taylor began to recognize the concept of soldiering amongst the company. A concept of which one intentionally restricts labor productivity; or to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished. Taylor noticed that the high cost labor for the company was as a result of workers not working themselves or their machines as much as they were expected to.

The soldering concept came about the 19th century was due to the economic growth of capitalism in America. Companies were hiring workmen at a very high rate but their wasn’t an implemented system of how to manage effectively the incoming workforce. The workforce lacked a motive or incentive to work for, thus the company’s productivity declining. Also read about "Contemporary theory of management"

Scientific Management

It was in 1881 when Taylor was the foreman at Midvale that he introduced time study at the company. He expected a lot more output from the workers, and also wanted to study and analyze how much time both the worker and machine took to complete a task and that way he would determine ones expected productivity.

His main study on the human component in terms of production became to be regarded as the scientific management, while his study on the machine component was lead to his metal-cutting and material innovations.

In one of Taylor’s experiments he used a shovel design which he would modify until he had a design that would allow workers to shovel for several hours straight. With the use of bricklayers, he experimented with the various motions required and developed an efficient way to lay bricks. Taylor applied the scientific method to study to try and find an optimal way to do any type of work. Concluding from his research, he found that by calculating the time needed for the various elements of a task, he could develop the "best" way to complete that task.

With the use of "time and motion" studies, Taylor came to realize that certain people could work more efficiently than others. He concluded that these were the people whom managers should seek to hire where possible. Therefore, the selection of the right people For the job was another important part of workplace efficiency. Taylor took what he learned from these workplace experiments, and developed four principles of scientific management. These principles are referred to as "Taylorism". Taylor’s principles of management

  1. Having to replace the “rule-of-thumb” work methods with methods that are scientific.
  2. Instead of having employees train themselves, one is to use scientific ways to select, train and develop them.
  3. As a manager one is to monitor workers performance, provide instructions and supervision to ensure that workers are using the most effective ways of working.
  4. The allocation of work is to be done between the managers and workers, so as to have manager’s work on planning and training and thus having the workers perform their work effectively.

The principles at a viewpoint

During Taylor’s regime, right after the American civil war (1861-1965), the industrialization was growing exponentially. Large corporations and factories were booming where landscape was and the technology at the time seemed promising. During his working period, he realized that as the industry was growing, a huge gap between the head of corporations and the line of workers. The rule of thumb was basically the workers having to do their work as they dimmed favorable to them. The workers were paid very minimal wages, which resulted to them working at their own pace and not been at their maximal productivity.

Before we get into the details of scientific management we must first understand the reasons as to why the workers had a tendency of working well below their standards. First, there was a belief among workers that if they worked harder and became more productive their employees would require less of them. This is looked at in the sense that if the work is completed quickly their contract will be over and they will be laid off therefore they worked as slowly as possible so as to increase their wage payment period. Second, the workers were never given incentives if they did more work. Their wage remained constant all through their work period. Also if they increased their productivity and their employees noted it any drop in production would lead to the workers being fired because their employers would have the perception that they had relaxed on their work while in real sense they had actually increased the amount of work that they had done. It was like trapping themselves.

Due to this behavior of the workers, corporations began experiencing marginal losses of profits. Taylor upon studying a few working routines of various workers using them as specimens for his research that he based on scientific means came to a conclusion on how to maximize productivity amongst the workers.

For instance Taylor studied one his shovel workers according to:

  • The shape, weight, capacity and also the design of the tools he was using.
  • The agility at which he maneuvered his body to swung the load.
  • At the amount per minute that he could off-load.
  • On a normal day how he would divide his rest periods and how he would structure his work.

By observing a certain job and breaking it down into individual tasks, Fredrick Taylor introduced the idea of “time and motion”. This idea had tremendous and immediate effect and was quite controversial. Which is always expected when providing reasons for people to change their habits and behaviors.

“Time and motion” had the potential to make efficient improvements by eliminating useless motions and introducing quicker ones. Taylor recognized that when the pay of the worker in any way depended on the work done, in an effort to increase the quantity, the quality is capable of reducing. He recognized this as a danger and advised that it was necessary to observe falling off of quality before moving towards increasing quantity. As expected, people reacted both positively and negatively to his ideas. Taylor proposed that productivity would be simplified if jobs were simplified and if workers and managers cooperated with one another. At that time, there was very little contact between managers and workers. They were always left alone to produce the necessary product. There was no standardization and a workers’ main motivation came from the idea of

On his job allocation principle, he argues that division work between workers and the management is nearly equally shared. As each group takes over in which work they are best fitted. This principle differs with the former state in which all of the work and responsibility was thrown on the workers.

This principle is executed now by organizations is arranged in a chronological, systems of conceptual rules and impersonal relationships. The new types of work done of management, made scientific management much more efficient than the old plan. 3

Fredrick Taylor believed that methods employed by managers prior to the start of the industrial revolution were absolute and severely lacked foresight, thereby promoting waste and inefficiency.
Taylor’s scientific management focused on putting “The right man in the right place.” Settling standards. This encourages a mutuality of interest between management and workers, and constantly looking for a better way to accomplish efficiency in an era of continual innovation. (Wren p, 189). Consequences of violation of this principle created confusion in the mind of employees and difficulty in maintaining discipline.

Management Theory

Taylor was a mechanical engineer and an efficiency expert, Taylor argues that scientific principles of management if properly applied could help increase national efficiency, at the beginning of his book, Taylor remarks that there was a common perception that the relationships were antagonistic between employers and employees with the employer wanting to get the highest output from the employee with least pay and the employee trying to get by, by doing the least work possible (soldiering). Taylor makes it clear that rule of thumb management which most employers rely on and if left unchecked, result in systematic soldiering where workers intentionally deprive their employers of a honest days work and after observing the activities of noticed that they were not working to the maximum of their potential, that some employees were more talented than others, the smart ones were unmotivated and that most workers who were forced to do repetitive tasks generally did them at a slow rate and that if they were paid the same they tended to work at the pace of the slowest worker malingering on in a single process for more time than was required(this was because the workers put their interests first) which resulted in high labor costs by the company as it did not reach its maximum potential in production. In his book he insists that management studying the job and generally what constitutes a good days job, then measure it against what an employee has accomplished by the end of the day and keep systematic records, under scientific management, employers must come up with the one best way on how to accomplish a certain task through scientific study and analysis and if done correctly, the mechanical arts would take over the rule of thumb way of accomplishing a task. When he became a foreman, he started studying the production process and how the workers went about with their work and used their machines as he expected more output from them. His focus on the human aspect later became the management theory while his works on the machine aspect later led to his innovations in metal cutting and materials. Taylor noticed that if an employees pay were linked to their output their productivity would go up in order to obtain highest pay.

Taylor looked and observed labor at shoveling and the unloading of railroad cars of ore, the carrying lifting and of iron pigs at steel mills and also the manual inspection of ball bearings. He discovered many concepts including that laborers should have resting breaks to recover from fatigue, either physical of mental, which would result in production “paradoxically” increasing. Taylor unknowingly set the ground work for the automation and off shoring as he was analyzing processes and dividing them into discrete, smaller and ambiguous pieces which is in effect what computers and unskilled people need to follow to make valid decisions, they are told exactly what to do, when and how without really understanding why. Therefore once and employee had completed their studies of a particular task, the employee had no room for further thinking, experimenting or suggestion making which people tent to revolt against.

Under Taylorism, workers effort intensely increased making workers unsatisfied with the work environment and making them angry. During one of Taylor’s own implementations at the Watertown Arsenal, a strike led to an investigation of his methods. The conclusion was that scientific management though it provided powerful and useful techniques it however gave managers a lot of uncontrolled power and if unchecked could lead to high levels of resentment and hostility towards them from workers. Due to the negative effects on worker morale it inevitably led to the strengthening of labor unions and of labor vs. management conflict that neutralized most of all the benefit of any productivity gains that Taylorism had achieved.

Scientific management also led to other pressures trending towards worker unhappiness by the deskilling of jobs made possible by the knowledge transfer achieved by scientific management. Knowledge was transferred from both cheaper workers and from workers into tools; jobs that once required craft went from tat to semiskilled then finally to unskilled. At this point, labor had been commoditized and therefore competition among workers increased depressing wages and job security. Jobs could be off shored or rendered nonexistent due to automation. Jobs therefore started to pay less and then finally disappear. The power of the labor unions in the mid-twentieth century led to a push in management to accelerate the automation of production. A central assumption of Taylor was that the worker was taken for granted as a machine.

Scientific management was generally appealing to the planned economies:

Taylor’s Management Influence On Other Countries

USA

  • Carl Barth helped Taylor to develop speed and feed calculating slide rule.
  • H.L Gantt developed the Gantt chart visual aid for scheduling tasks and display of work.
  • Harrington Emerson introduced scientific management to the railroad industry.
  • Morris Cooke adapted scientific management to education and municipal organizations.
  • Hugo Munsterberg created industrial psychology.
  • Lillian Gilbreth introduced psychology to management studies.
  • Harvard University offered a graduate degree in business management in 1908 and based its first year curriculum on Taylor’s scientific management.

France

Taylor’s work was translated by Le Chatelier and introduced scientific management throughout government owned plants during world war. A French theorist called Henry Fayol was influenced whose administration industrielle et grale emphasized organizational structure in management. Fayol suggested that Taylor had advisors and analysts who worked with individuals at lower levels of organization so as to identify the ways, which could improve efficiency. This approach resulted in a negation of the principle of unity of command according to Fayol. He criticized Taylor’s functional management in this way “…the most marked outward characteristics of functional management lies in the fact that each work man instead of coming in direct contact with the management at one point only…receives his daily orders and help from eight different bosses” who were:

  1. Route clerks
  2. Instruction card men
  3. Cost and time clerks
  4. Gang bosses
  5. Speed bosses
  6. Inspectors
  7. Repair bosses and
  8. Shop disciplinarian.

He said that Taylor must have reconciled the dichotomy in some way because it was an unworkable situation.

Switzerland

American Edward Albert Filene established international management institute, which was to spread information about management technique.

USSR

Lenin and Stalin incorporated into soviet. Taylorism and mass production of Henry Ford were highly influential in the early years of the Soviet Union though Fredrick Taylor’s methods have never really taken root. Taylor’s method of only choosing first class men Was an important condition for his system’s success but in the Soviet Union it was a different case.

According to them work was so uncoordinated, the rational manager was to hire more workers than he needed if supplies were in order to have enough for storming. Because of the continuing labor shortage, managers were happy to pay needed workers more than the norm, or issue false job orders, assign them to higher skill grades than they deserved on merit criteria, give them "loose" piece rates, or make what was supposed to be "incentive" pay,
premium for good work done, an effective part of the normal wage. As Mary Mc Auley suggested under these circumstances piece rates were not an incentive wage, but a way of justifying and giving workers whatever they were to get, no matter what their pay was supposed to be according to the official norms.

East Germany

In the German Federal Archives contain documentation and in an accompanied photograph shows workers discussing standards on how each should be done and how long it should also take. The workers were also engaged in s state-planned instance of process improvement.

ASME

Fredrick Taylor was the president of AMSE since 1906-1907. AMSE is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His suggestion to members of AMSE that adequate college training should include one year in industrial enterprise was considered radical however it did not alter his opinion.

He presented his writing work to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His written works include, The Principles of Scientific Management, Notes on Belting, A Piece-Rate System and Shop Management.

His notes on Belting were on treating steel that he worked on and made various discoveries. He made two outstanding discoveries. First, the new method of tempering steel called “Taylor-white process.” That paved the way for many production methods. Second, he designed shovels that could enable workers to do their work efficiently and maximize output of work.

A Piece-Rate System, he analyzed this at the Bethlehem Steel Works. He walked with a stopwatch and a notepad in his hand carrying out time-and-motion studies on workers. This study led to the piece-rate system where the worker was paid for his work done rather than time they work. This resulted into reduction of workers from 500 t0 140 ate Bethlehem Steel Works. It also doubled stamping mill production, lowered cost per ton of materials for 8 cents to 4 cents.

Critiques of Taylorism

In Taylorism, he focuses one an individual as a worker(s) is given autonomy practical as possible, and thereby chooses the most appropriate approach for the situation at hand. Criticism of Taylor’s points out that fact that, front-line workers need to show some sort of flexibility in how they deal with their employees. With the current rapid-changing environment, the use of rigid rules of some organization becomes really a struggle to try and break out of the choice of management.

Teamwork is another point of which Taylorism doesn’t focus on. Taylorism implies that the tiny broken steps, are taken be implemented by one person by how best they can. While on the other hand, modern technologies imply to examine work on a holistic or objective ways in order to evaluate efficiency and productivity amongst the workers. Where Taylorism separates manual from mental work, modern productivity enhancement practices seek to incorporate worker's ideas, experience and knowledge into best practice. Scientific management in its pure form focuses too much on the mechanics, and fails to value the people side of work, whereby motivation and workplace satisfaction are key elements in an efficient and productive organization.

The scientific management of work led to monotony. This is because the workers did the same type of simplified work over and over again.

Taylorism ignored the individual differences of workers. If a worker had a certain skill in some work then it was not entirely exploited. This is because the work was divided. The workers and managers had totally different economic interests. For example, one thing that managers did not understand was that the workers also needed to have financial benefits in order to raise their standards of living.

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