Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management

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Shannon Crilly13321480 Q.2 Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ was for a different time and a different place. Discuss. I agree that Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ undoubtedly belonged to a different time and place. In this essay I will express why I believe this to be true. To do so, I will begin by outlining where the idea originated from, and what exactly Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ consists of. Following this I will discuss the reasons why I believe that this system was indeed for a different time and place, and I will compare it with systems that I believe to be more applicable to modern managerial work, for example Henry Mintzberg’s views on the Manager’s roles. I do however, also believe that there are aspects of Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ which can be seen to operate well in managerial work today, and so I will also discuss the ways that I see this to be true. A manager is a person who is in charge of an organization or one of an organization’s sub-units. They are responsible for controlling or overseeing a group of individuals, and they allocate, direct and account for resources. Their main duties are to plan, organise, lead, and control. The principal object of management should be to secure the maximum propensity for the employer, as well as the maximum propensity for each employee (Taylor, 1911). Taylor’s analysis of management revealed that ‘unscientific management’ was the fundamental problem of the late years of the 19th century, around the time of the end of the ‘Long Depression’. At this time Taylor was working as a machine-shop labourer at the Midvale Steel Company of Philadelphia, and his studies were based on his personal observations of the organization and execution of daily work tasks here (Fulop and Linstead, 1999). He realised that maximum efficiency wasn’t being achieved by workers as employers were paying the lowest wages they could and in return the employees was doing as little work as they could (Taylor, 1911). The majority of workers believed that the fundamental interests of the workman and the management were antagonistic (Taylor, 1911). Taylor believed that the greatest obstacle to cooperation between the workman and the management was the ignorance of the management as to what the workman’s daily endeavour actually consisted of (Taylor, 1911). ‘Scientific management’ was developed on the contrary to this, where the interests of both the management and the workman needed to be viewed as one and the same – where prosperity for the employer cannot be achieved in the long run unless it is accompanied by prosperity for the employee (Taylor, 1911). Taylor came up with a systematic approach to the study and design of work (Fulop and Linstead, 1999). There were four fundamental elements of this idea of ‘scientific management’ outlining the new duties of the management. The first being that they develop a science for each element of a workman’s work, where before they simply used a general rule of thumb method (Taylor,

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