Using To Which The Principles Of Scientific Management
Frederick Winslow Taylor at the turn of 19th century revolutionized the management and organizational field with his Scientific Management principles. The principles not only transform the way people look and organize business but also became the backbone of revolutionary Ford’s famous assembly line. Number of experts in the management field believes that scientific management not only initiated time motion study but also sow the seeds of the presently popular ideas of total quality management and re-engineering.Over the last decade various questions are raised over whether scientific management is relevant in present business environment.
Is time motion study still relevant when companies are more and more adhering to flexible work hours and work from home? Is the work design formulated on the basis of scientific management still relevant when employees’ motivation and priorities are significantly different from those of century ago?To answer the questions raised above, we will discuss the core idea behind the scientific management principles, how the work place has transformed over the last 100 years and how the principles can still be applied in present business environment with modern motivation techniques.Core Idea behind Scientific ManagementScientific management was a pioneering concept that stressed the supremacy of process over people. Even the very fist documentation of the principles turned the cutting of iron into a science. Later by using the similar approach Taylor transformed the coal industry by designing a shovel with which workers can work for whole day. In not only increased the productivity per person but also reduced the number of employees in Bethlehem Steel works from 500 to 140.As per Taylor there are four key objectives of Scientific Management (Taylor,1911) –The replacement of rule of thumb methods by a scientific approach.
Specialization of task – Scientific selection of work field for an employee and training and developing him accordingly so he can attain maximum productivity.Emphasis on developing a symbiotic relationship between not only the management and workers but also between employees from various fields.Development of hierarchical system in organizations where responsibilities and authorities are clearly defined. The role of each employee should be clearly defined and the standards should be based on scientific study.
These four objectives not only helped in increasing the productivity in the companies but also significantly contributed to the development of new organizational work flow and culture. Under the new system the responsibilities and authority is clearly defined. The new approach also segregated the planning part of business from operational part thus providing companies to plan for future in a better way. (Weisbord, M.
R,1987)Scientific management also helped in designing new remuneration system for the workers based on their nature of work and classification of work based on level of skill required. This first time shifted the attention from the skill of a worker to the level of skill required for a given task.Transformation of Work Place in Last 100 YearsThe work place has transformed significantly in last 100 years. From the small factories run by first generation entrepreneurs with few numbers of employees, the business environment transformed into companies employing thousand of workers at a given sight and thousand more across the globe.Companies today not only looking for most productive employees but also looking for cheap labor heavens where they maximize their profits.
Simultaneously most of the non core activities are outsourced to third parties that specialize in the given task.The difference in the work environment can be easily spotted in the way most companies look towards its assets. Over a century ago land, plant and machinery were used to be chief assets and they were considered most critical to company’s future but today most companies recognizes their brand value and other such intangibles as their most critical assets on their balance sheets. Nike globally doesn’t own any production site but still is the largest sports and clothing brand.
Motivational TheoriesMotivation is defined as, “a person’s active participation in and commitment to achieving the prescribed results”.For over a hundred years now since the inception of modern management practices managers, psychologists and academicians all across the world is trying to figure out what drives the productivity most. Over the years we have seen how some people produced their best when they are against the wall and how other crumble under the same situation.The principle of motivation is abstract as different theories and methods provide different result and no one strategy is optimal for all situations. One of the Path breaking theories in motivation was ‘Hierarchy of Needs Theory’ given by Abhram Maslow.
For simplicity sake in this paper we will only discuss Maslow’s theory of motivation as so far it is one of the most comprehensive theories.Hierarchy of Needs TheoryMaslow pioneered a new field of humanistic psychology by focusing on needs that are human, as distinct from the needs of animals. This leads to an emphasis on human beings striving to fulfill their individual potential. The underlying tenets of Maslow’s theory are that “humans strive to actualize, or realize, their individual potentials, that is, to grow and enhance the self.
’’ Needs are therefore objective, there to be fulfilled by individuals in their struggle to be human”.The ‘Hierarchy of Needs Theory’ divides the person’s needs into five categories namely (Maslow, 1954)–Physiological needs – The basic human need of food, shelter etcSafety needs – Once the physiological needs are fulfilled an individual strive to achieve security and protection from physical and emotional harms (Robbins, 2001).Social needs – Once the basic and security needs are fulfilled a person strive to fulfill social need of belongingness and affiliations.Esteem needs – After fulfilling social needs the individual strive to fulfill esteem needs like self respect, autonomy and achievement.
Self Actualizations – this is the highest level according to theory and individual strive to achieve needs like self enrichment and self fulfillment.The theory states that as an individual moves higher on the pyramid the needs keep on increasing as he has to satisfy all the needs at the previous levels plus the new level. For example the person having esteem needs also has the physiological and security needs and once these needs are satisfied then only he strive to achieve the esteem needs. (Halepota, 2005)Motivation of Workers in the Western HemisphereIf we look holistically the workforce in the western hemisphere has moved from the security level to social and esteem level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory.
The workforce in early twentieth century came mostly from rural areas and the first need after coming to cities were physiological and security needs.The skill level among the workers was also very low and most companies had to depend upon naturally dexterous people to do the job. Secondly the number of earning member per family were low so leaving the job for upgrading skill level was a very difficult choice.Today the circumstances has changed and unlike at the turn of 19th century human resource is much more precious resource today as most of the repetitive work is either being automated or will be automated in the coming years.
The time motion efficiency and specialization is considered more of limitation rather advantage to employees. The buzzwords in today’s market place are empowerment, job enrichment and job enlargement. Most companies are looking forward to provide more opportunities in different areas so they can develop leaders with in the organization who can replace the leaving employee.How Organizations can Inculcate Scientific Management in Modern OrganizationsFew principles never lose there sheen and scientific management is one of them.
Today companies can use Scientific management with modern motivation techniques to drive home advantages against their competitors. The following areas where Scientific Management still relevant –· Benchmarking Processes – Days were gone when scientific management were used to analyze human performance with time motion study but it can still be used to benchmark performance standards with in an organization. Companies can use it to study performances in two different offices and analyze how the culture and other dynamic factors affect the overall productivity. ([email protected],1997))· Designing of Task – After analyzing the motivational needs of the employees companies can re-design tasks which can bring the maximum productivity. The protestant belief – The Employee will think of company before self – on which scientific management was first founded is long dead so the work design and process design has first to keep employees needs in focus.([email protected], 2003)· Remuneration – Scientific management initiated classification of task and subsequent remuneration system based on it.
This system can be taken a step further where a employee pay will be determined not by process but by result. Most companies have start inculcating this approach in their system which has led to more and more people working away from office or from home and paid for their overall contribution to the task rather than time spent in office.· Organization Structure – In the rapidly digitalized world more and more companies are opting for flatter organizational structure. Scientific management can be used to find the optimum organizational structure.ConclusionOver the last 100 years the lifestyle in the western hemisphere has changed significantly.
The economy started to transform from an agrarian to manufacturing one in the first half of last century while the over the last two decades the stress in more on tertiary sector where services are major contributor to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This transformation has led to a massive increase in the pay packages and overall prosperity in the economy.As the complexity of tasks is growing in corporate world the demand for human resource is growing rapidly. Secondly in the fast changing environment no skill can guarantee a life long success as in early twentieth century so employees have to diversify to add new skills. (Paul Greenall, 2004)Increasing prosperity has not only improved the living standard of the people but also changed the whole lifestyle.
Today women are significant part of the work force and policies designed keeping their needs can make or break the future of the company. Companies like Avon had built a world wide business empire just by hiring women.Companies today have to be more people centered than process and technology centered thus has to design the system not based on time but people needs.