Scientific Management Approaches

Scientific Management Approaches
Scientific Management Approaches

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Scientific Management Approaches

To what extent are the principles of scientific management applicable to the 21st century?

Fredrick Taylor is credited to have come up with Taylor’s management theories. These theories were later renamed scientific management theories due to how Taylor used scientific concepts to decode how organizations should be run. He came up with the concept of a scientific approach to management of organizations. While working at a steel company, Taylor had noted that the productivity of the labor force was inefficient. He attributed this inefficiency to the use of the rule of thumbs. Taylor’s management experiments were initiated on this fact.

He would conduct experiments on the workforce by coming up with ways to change or improve the rule of thumbs. His experiments were based on theories derived from science. He came up with a theory where he wanted to reduce the movement of workers while performing a single task in the industry. This move was to increase the productivity of the labor force. This theory is one of the few traditional theories by Taylor that are used in modern management even to date(Thomas 2007).

Scientific management approaches are still part of most organizations of this day and age. The widest concept adopted today is dividing the functions of the management and those of the staff. The replacement of the rule of thumbs with scientific facts has also led to the widespread application, adoption, and modification of Taylor’s theories. Most if not all modern organizations have a factual basis for their operations. As a result, they have structures for both the managerial and staff functions. The external and internal competition is managed by facts that have little to do with the scientific management approaches theories and principles (Thomas 2007).

Scientific Management Approaches

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The model of scientific management emphasizes on using one way in the overall management of organizations. It also advocates for the following of natural principles that guide human behavior and actions Ancona, D., et al. (2009). It is, however, not impossible to find organizations in the 21st century who operate using a different model or theory. The disparity in the 21st-century management can be seen in technology, infrastructures, and even the education system. The way the government is run and the family setting are also a clear example of how the management of organizations has changed in the 21st century.

The five principles of scientific management are a clear division of tasks and responsibilities for the staff. There is also the selection of the best person to perform a task that has been newly designed using scientific knowledge.Fredrick Taylor’s scientific management theory was an integral part of the understanding of how organizations in the traditional world were managed. At the same time, as the theory grew with time there were several critics who were opposed to some of its principles.

The result of the criticism was the decreased role the theory played in later management decisions of organizations. Today, there is only but traces of the theory in the management of these twenty-first organizations. Examples of the scientific management theory today are few and hard to come by. However, there are some industries that have strived to keep hold of the principles derived by Taylor on the management of organizations. The car industry is one such industry.

The computer manufacturing and healthcare industries also have traces of Taylor’s theory within their ranks. However, what is visible are similarities of the original theory rather than the actual adaptation of the theory itself. It is not known if there is any modern industry that used Fredrick Taylor’s theory in its original non-influenced theory(IAIN 2009).

Scientific Management Approaches

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Thirdly, the staff knows exactly what to do and when to do it. The use of scientific methods has been adopted to come up with how best an individual can perform an assigned task.Taylor had had vast experience in the Midvale Steel Company. Companies like McDonalds, which have their staff follow one standardized process to come up with the finished product, have adopted the technique.

The standardized process and the use of five scientific approach principles in combination have been successfully used by an organization to achieve maximum productivity. In the fast food industry, customers are usually assured to get their orders ready is a little as one minute after placing their orders. The success of the industry can be hugely attributed to the adoption of the Time and motion theory developed by Taylor.

Ensuring the workers are adequately trained for them to perform their assigned tasks is another management principle McDonalds and Google are two different but successful companies that use different scientific management approaches for their employees. Both are also in different market sectors, but one is required to be innovative and have creative skills. The other company, however, needs the hands and feet of their employees for efficient running. 

Taylor’s theories can, therefore, be said to be in use in the twenty-first century running of organizations. Google does not use a piece rate system and thus will not have that theory in their organizational management plans. Taylor’s best theories can also not be suitable for all the organization. For a modern company innovation and flexibility has to be part of the plan for there to be success in its operations (Richard 2011).

Scientific Management Approaches

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The fifth principle is to have a strict surveillance and supervision of the workers’ activities using a set hierarchy of power and authority in the organization (Thomas 2007). Every manager has their individual ways and styles of managing an organization. The managers, however, have to use principles and concept of management that can work for their particular organizations. The concepts have to blend with the culture of the organization and the nature of work there. Taylor’s theory was often criticized for not being dynamic as the employees did not want to perform their tasks differently.

For this reason, managers have to think critically and deeply on their intended principles. They also have to look for ways to make their management concepts flexible with the changing situations in the organization. Google, an internet giant, does not apply Taylor’s metaphor of the machine for its employees. It, however, uses the Hawthorne experiment that was developed by George Elton Mayo. The results of these experiments showed that workers should be regarded as assets to any organization.

The result was an increase in the motivation of the employees. The employees produced better and consequently the increase in the overall productivity of the organization. George’s work was distributed over some years and, therefore, had more data to analyze than had Taylor (Martins 2014). Google’s staff has the liberty to work at the time they feel fit. These employees also design the working environment. The organizational structure at Google ensures that the staff can work as a team on their various projects. Teamwork was seen by Mayo as a major booster to the efficiency of employees.

Scientific Management Approaches

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During Taylor’s times, charitable organizations had started to mushroom. This proves that he was wrong to think that money was the only factor to consider when managing an organization. It is, therefore, correct to say that charitable organizations that have emerged in great numbers today do not apply any of Taylor’s methods and theories in their daily operations.

However, special circumstances can lead to these organizations using one or more of Taylor’s best methods. The use of these theories can be in the assembly lines where they have to reach the needy in the shortest duration of time. This observation means that Taylor’s methods are being used even if not in their pure forms (Martins 2014).

Another scientific management theory is referred to as Fordism. The theory uses the theories of a moving assembly and the division of labor and piece rate theories by Taylor simultaneously. The result is the automation of jobs. The jobs can also be classified according to the level of skills of the employees. The flow of work in a continuous way means that there is work being done. This theory developed by Ford was used in the manufacture of his cars. However, this theory has similar discrepancies as Taylor’s.

This theory relies mainly on the division of labor for the mass production of goods to run efficiently. This process little freedom to the staff who end up being dissatisfied with their jobs (Nelson, 1980). Moreover, the machinery and infrastructure are taken to be more important than the works themselves. The only applicable element of this theory in the twenty-first century is the piece rate. The overall scientific system can be seen to be lacking in many aspects. The managers of the twenty-first century try to fill these gaps with other foreign elements like the Maslow and Herzberg theories.

Scientific Management Approaches

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Herzbergdeveloped a theory that can be seen as a deeper side of the scientific theories by Taylor. Herzberg built a basic framework for motivation after conducting many experiments and surveys. After a critical analysis of the data he had obtained, he concluded that the motivation of employees is influenced by factors he called motivators. Dissatisfaction aspects he called hygiene. When the hygiene factors are removed, one cannot know of the existence of absence of satisfaction on the employee.

He said that employee satisfaction and motivation is greatly attributed to the treatment the employee receives. To Herzberg, there exists a difference between facts on satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Managers may bring in the factor of eliminating bad factors, but this may also mean there is only peace achieved rather that motivation. The safest way to motivate employees, according to Herzberg is to give them attainable tasks and responsibilities (Armstrong 2009).

After many successful surveys, experiments and studies, Maslow developed the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. The theory can also be used to analyze the efficiency of the scientific management theory developed by Taylor. Maslow is thought to believe that human beings have a high belief and expectation of self-actualization. He had also postulated that the expectations of humans were in most cases inexplicable and undervalued. To Maslow, human beings have five goals in life. Love, safety, esteem, self-actualization and psychology are these goals.

The goals can also be said to be the basic needs of most human beings (Armstrong 2009). Maslow also said that both employees and their employers are also motivated to achieve all these goals one after the other. To him, man is a creature whose desires run to eternity and the achievement of all these goals is impossible. All individuals, therefore, have the partial satisfaction of the fulfillment of their desires. Maslow’s theory proves an important asset for the managers of organizations in the twenty-first century.

The theory advises these managers to motivate their staff by setting for them goals that lead to their personal satisfaction. Modern organizations also should start programs aimed at managing and monitoring the levels of stress among the employees.

Scientific Management Approaches

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Scientific management may seem to be an integral part of modern organizations management, but one cannot miss the defects that are part of the concept used in the twenty-first century. It can then be said that not all the modern concepts of management can be adopted in the management of organizations (Gould 2000).

Employees of organizations in the twenty-first century are seemingly very intelligent. They value themselves better compared to their counterparts in the days of Taylor and Ford. However, there is the fear of the employees being under-skilled due to the specialization and use of standardized procedures in most organizations. The employees are not given room to use their creativity to come up with the finished products offered by their employers. This phenomenon is most common in fast food outlets like McDonalds that use a standard process to make their delicacies.

The breakdown of tasks makes the work of the employees easier and manageable. The staff is converted to machine-like pieces of a large operational process in an organization. They become less satisfied with the jobs this has led to their low motivation. In modern organizations, however, there is an understanding that money and power are not the only aspects of the management of organizations.

By contributing to the social welfare of their employees, these organizations has become more flexible in the affairs of their staff. The organization is regarding their staff as assets to the organization. Workers now fight for promotion and financial gains rather than work as machine sin the operational processes of the organization(Soron 2013).

Scientific Management Approaches

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Most of the institutions are thought to work entirely on concept based on rational mindsets as observed by Dr. Brown (2014). There is, therefore, a movement that is based on four factors as Ritzer postulated in his 1983 book, The McDonaldization of society. Ritzer claimed that organizations are managed and affected by management decisions as a whole and thus are regulated by these four factors completely. A society that is full of individuals with a rational mind has a lot of efficiencies, sustainability and emphasis on human factors like technology and power.

The running of organizations at a such a society is therefore not based on uncertainty and regret. All these factors are common from a rational point of view. These changes have been so common that they can be said to have been as a result of a century-old management revolution. The major talking point is, however, how these modern management points of view for organizations are affecting the overall management of these organizations in the 21st century.

One can ask themselves whether these principles of are the way forward in the 21st-century management of organizations. Dr. Brown (2014) is quoted asking whether these principles are a better way to respond to traditional management and if technology is the best way to respond to these changes.

Social factors have now become a priority for most modern organizations. Employees’ initiatives and welfare is a major concern for these organizations. They are also growing focus on the on how the employees adapt to their operational processes and closely monitor their employees’ performance. The issue of employee loyalty is also an area that is being focused on modern organizations. The entire social responsibility of organizations differs with Taylor’s notion that staffs are concerned with financial matters solely. Today the idea that employees have to be controlled from above is not very welcome in many organization like Google, who have given their employees the liberty to choose their work schedules (James &Schwarzbach 2011).

Scientific Management Approaches

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The future of organizations may be influenced a lot by technology. Technology is already manifesting itself as a contributing factor in the management of these organizations. The advancement in technology has influenced key factors in an organization like competitiveness and efficiency. This has made it necessary the managers of organizations in the twenty-first century adapt quickly to these technologies for their survival in these changing times. With the growth of technology, most societies have had to respond to these fast technological changes with adaptability techniques.

Irvine et al. (2011) think that artificial intelligent units might be used to replace human altogether as the main workforce. Managers today and in the future have to adapt to the trends so as to keep up the pace of technological change. Just like the managerial revolution of the twenty-first century, there may be an impending change in management approaches in the future.

It is impossible to see the scientific theory in its purest form in today’s management of organizations. There are, however, traces of the most common elements of this theory. The elements are mixed and matched and thus become deeply embedded in the organizational structure of modern organizations. This phenomenon can be used to explain why management of organizations has taken such a drastic change in the twenty-first century. Pure forms of Taylor’s methods can still be found in developing countries.

The reason for this observation is that most developing countries managers put their interest to where there is an availability of a cheap and reliable labor force. In places like this, the workforce is mainly desperate for money putting Taylor’s original scientific management theory in practice entirely (IAIN 2009).

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In conclusion, we have to answer the question as to what extent are the principles of scientific management applicable to the 21st century. It can be observed that technical management based on a rational point of view is being widely used in today’s management options. It can also be proven that several other theories critically analyze Taylor’s theories. Examples from Herzberg, Maslow, Ford, McDonalds, Googleand other modern managers all can be used to analyzeTaylor’s theories.

By applying school of thought based on Taylor’s theories, there can be a challenge in the future on the use of technology. The scientific management approach is not the only applicable theory when managing modern organizations. However, great strengths can be drawn from the theory in the management of organizations in the twenty-first century. Adopting the use of a clear-cut procedure has been a definite success in the fast food industry as used at McDonalds. Other strengths are the piece rate operations theory that when combined with Ford’s automation can result in improved productivity.

The major talking point in the differences between the scientific approach and modern approaches is on employees values. Taylor saw employees as parts of an operational process that is aimed at improved productivity of the workforce. He viewed them to be only interested in being paid. However, today organizations are more interested in employee initiatives and welfare as a major concern for these organizations. They are also very much interested in understanding how the employees adapt to their operational processes and closely monitor their employees performance.

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The issue of employee loyalty is also an area that is being focused on modern organizations. The entire social responsibility of organizations differs with Taylor’s notion that staff are concerned with financial matters solely. Today the idea that employees have to be controlled from above is not very welcome in many organizations. Technology has also been seen as a major factor that is being used by the managers of organizations in the twenty-first century.

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