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Scientific Management

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Scientific Management also termed as Taylorism or the Classical Perspective is a method in management theory that determines changes to improve labour productivity. (Wikipedia, 2007). This was essentially the brainstorming idea of Frederick Winslow Taylor in “The Principles of Scientific Management”. Taylor held the belief that traditional decisions and guidelines should be replaced by accurate procedures that are developed after careful research and study of an individual’s work. The need for scientific management is propelled by the fact that the demand of the competent man surpasses the supply. Countries and organizations are always on the look out for a man who has already been trained. There is a seeming lack of opportunity and contribution towards systematically training and making a man competent. If this lacuna is filled up, it would lead to “a national efficiency”.


Fundamentals of Scientific Management:


The principal goal of scientific management is to successfully acquire maximum prosperity for the employer as well as the maximum prosperity of each employee. (Melbecon, 2001)


The term prosperity here not only refers to the net profits or dividends of the company as a whole or its owner for that matter. It encompasses the successful development of every branch of the particular business that functions at peak efficiency, thereby retaining the prosperity on a permanent basis. Similarly, for each employee of the company, maximum prosperity not only implies higher salaries but enhancing and developing their state of maximum efficiency. This in turn would increase and produce the highest grade of work that perfectly befits the capabilities of a particular individual. When an individual reaches a peak of efficiency, he is in turn producing largest daily output. In Taylor's (1911) book, The Principles of Scientific Management, he has discussed what he called a struggle for control of production between management and labour. (Engr.sjsu, 1998)


The guiding principal behind Taylor’s concept was to design a production system comprising of both men as well as machines in order to enhance efficiency. He believed that this design would function as good as a well-oiled machine.


The resultant of Scientific Management was reduced cost of the manufactured products, thereby making it more affordable for buyers. It also resulted in increased wages while the product cost was dropping. This change further created employment of machine operators who were more highly paid as compared to the unskilled labourer. Taylor was one of the first industrial managers who perceived "the interrelated character of the new manufacturing systems and the need for a disciplined, comprehension change if the manufacturer and the industrial sector were to attain the optimum results" (Nelson, 1980).


The entire concept of Scientific Management gained more popularity after World War I. Taylor’s theory and views met much resistance from the labour. He held the belief that by adopting methods of management control and a systemized method of production, increases prosperity per se. The general approach of Scientific Management includes selection of work force with appropriate abilities for specific tasks, training, planning, wage incentives for increasing output and standard method of performing each job.




Backer, Patricia (1998) “Scientific Management”

Available from: scientific_mgt.htm 

Accessed: 10/25/2007


Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (2007) “Scientific Management”

Available from: Scientific_management 

Accessed: 10/25/2007


Elred, Eric (2001) “The Principles Of Scientific Management”

Available from: taylor/sciman.htm 

Accessed: 10/25/2007

C/HR/169. Pay, Incentives & Employee Productivity

S/HR/137. To what extent has there been a shift from 'collectivism' to 'individualism' in the management of remuneration in recent years? How has this shift influenced reward systems in the UK?

C/M/560. Human relations and scientific management: Work design and people management

C/M/428. Relevance of the Principles of Scientific Management to 21st Century Organisations

E/M/206. How far and in what way is rational organisation 'efficient'? (As exemplified in scientific management)

S/M/245. 'The development of jobs requiring emotional labour in the contemporary workplace represents an extension of Taylorist scientific management' Discuss

P/M/624. Critique of scientific management theory

P/M/621. Contemporary relevance of scientific management theory

S/M/153. Scientific Management

P/HR/172. Scientific approach to job re-design

C/M/281. Under the system of scientific management employers simply have to work out the most efficient way of organising work and then tie monetary reward of the work to the level of output achieved by the individual. Discuss critically with reference to the limitations of such an approach

E/M/33. Theories of scientific management

E/M/23. Labour process and managerial strategies

S/M/266. Evaluate the view that project management is 'reconstructed Taylorism'

P/M/191. Critically evaluate the role of 'Scientific Management' for organisations doing business in the 21st Century. Your answer should present the strengths and the weaknesses of this approach before reaching a well-reasoned conclusion.

P/M/184. Frederick Winslow Taylor and Scientific Management

C/M/13. Scientific management. Write an account on the set of ideas involved in scientific management and explain the meaning of Hawthorne studies. Studies with scientific management: to what extend are they compatible or contradict each other? Which set of ideas seem more plausible and why?

P/M/43. Critically Outline Any One Perspective On the Management of Organisations That Has Been Developed Over the Last Century (Scientific management). Using One, Two or Three Named Organisations As Examples Show How This Has Been Applied, Together With Its Advantages and Disadvantages.

P/M/68. Scientific Management is sadly underestimated as an approach in modern organisational life. Provide a detailed justification of your agreement or disagreement of this statement.

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