Theory of Scientific Management

Table of contents

Over many years, academic researchers, economist and business expert have considered several theories which try to describe business organization dynamics including how decisions are made, distribution of power, conflict control and resolution and also to enhance and counterattack organizational change. The studies of organizational theories have help public sectors to focus on the effects of social organization not only on the behaviors but also on the attitude of individuals.

These theories also play major roles in realizing the effect of each person characteristics and actions on the organization. On the same line it measures performance success and organizational survival and many other activities which takes place in public sectors. There are many theorists who have come up with different theoretical perspective which in one way or another have assisted public sectors to realize their success. This paper will focus only on three theoretical perspective developed by three different theorists including: Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol and Max Webber.

Frederick Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management

Dr. Frederick Winslow Taylor was born in 1856 in Philadelphia, U.S.A. He belonged to a center elegance family. He started out his profession as a small apprentice in the gadget-making shop. From the small apprentice he rose to the location of leader engineer in Midvale Steel Works in 1884. He worked almost at every position before becoming the chief engineer. He was almost associated with various problems confronted by the workers at every position he worked.

This realization helped him in developing the idea of scientific management. He observed that the industrial resources were not being utilized properly ( Jack A. and Zenger B., 2002). In the early twentieth century, the most common management approach in western industrialization nations, was “rule of thumb approach”. This made Taylor to create his concept of scientific management. The theory was developed through continuous scientific experiments and calculations.

The main ideas of Frederick Taylor’s theory of Scientific Management focused on the major issues of improving the productivity of labor. During his time, management that was widespread in the United States was not based on scientific management which was accomplished by past work experience. Before scientific management ideas, there was a gradually prominent paradox. For example, it was difficult for the capitalist to know accurately the efficiency of workers within the recommend time. Additionally, the workers usually operated under a normal working environment and majority of them were working less and get a lot of salary.

In the same line, it is worth to mention that before the theory of scientific management, employees were not able to tell the amount of work they were supposed to do within a single day. The workers felt that they were doing a lot but paid less which made them to use the term “Social loafing” to describe increased exploitation and also to show hypothetical resistance. This led to low labor efficiency. Additionally, this also caused the employees to be resistant which emerged in labor conflicts. The best way to counter-attack this conflict was to come up with a well developed daily activity scientific model (Su, 2017).

Tylor’s Scientific management theory implemented watchful specification and management of public sectors activities. This theory helped in standardizing tasks, rewarding and punishing workers and many other tasks became efficient. It is important to note that, this idea worked well for many organization especially in routinized activities. The matter of fact was that, Tylor wanted to develop mental revolution among all employees and the management through laying down of principle for enhancing production efficiency.

In his theory of scientific management, he came up with four management principle, which include: development of a science for every component of an individual’s task, which substitutes the previous law of thumb system. The second principle was to scientifically choose and teach, train and advance the employee. The third principle was to heartily cooperate with the workers so that to ensure that every one work is executed in keeping with the ideas of the scientific theory that has been advanced.

The last principle was to divide responsibilities and duty nearly equally among the management and employees. Tylor explained that, when these principles are followed they will accrue a lot of profits for both employers and employees. Through these principles, the workers will get more payment and management get a lot of profits (Hong., 2016). By using Scientific management Tylor was able to describe a single best method of carrying out tasks. In easy expressions, scientific management express the art of understanding exactly what was to be carried out and how it was to be achieved. Under this technique, scientific ideas are carried out in the recruitment, choice and educating of people and also are utilized in tackling numerous commercial issues.

The Application of Scientific Management Today

Tylor’s concept is still in place up to date. Several organizations still use the scientific management theory to increase their productivities. For example, in many industries and factories today, many managers usually employ this concept to increase the efficiency and also their productivity. A typical example of an organization that still uses Tylor’s concept is the Toyota company where the principle of scientific management is being used to ensure quality production and also improving the worker’s efficiency.

This concept is still helping the Toyota company to be more successful. This is evident since Toyota company is currently seen to export a lot of automobiles to all parts of the world (Hong-yu, 2014). As a result of scientific management, employees have continued enhancing their skills so as to retain their leadership position or to be promoted to higher ranks. Moreover, organization have learnt to use scientific method in solving their issues instead of using the old approach of ‘rule of thumb’.

Henri Fayol Theory of Adminstrative theory

Henry or Henri Fayol; Istanbul was born in 1841 and died in 1925 was an engineer and scholar of business administration. Born in a middleclass family, in 1860 he graduated as a mines engineer and he worked as a mines engineer of metallurgical and chief mining. He was responsible for the creation of contemporary management. some of Fayol’s contributions included; assemblage of business activities into six divisions, functions of management and lastly development of 14 principles of management.

The administrative theory is founded on the idea of departmentalization, which means that different tasks are carried out to be performed in order to achieve the mutual purpose of the public sector or an organization. Prior to Henry Fayol’s administrative theory, Public sectors and business administration were using Tylor’s theory of scientific admiration to carry out activities in their place of work in order to maximize productivity by treating their employees as the machines (Brodie, 1967).

Fayol was in contrary with this approach and he proposed administrative theory with 14 principles of management which focused on the whole organization instead of just the workers. Fayol believed that in order to realize the success in an organization, it was more than just employees to work. Managers were required to have certain responsibilities for them to be in a position to manage their workers and activities. This was later known as “administrative school of management” which was based on five management functions.

These management principles were: Planning, Organizing, Commanding, Coordinating and Controlling. He believed that these elements help the management of an organization to make the machine to keep on working effectively (Miner, 2014). He also supported that any part or process that did not contribute to the success of the objective should be replaced efficiently and quickly. In conjunction to the above, Fayol also promoted 14 principles of management. these 14 principles can be categorized into four basic areas: Organizational structure, Organization power, organizational Reward and Organizational attitude.

Organizational structure

The Fayol’s six principles can be categorized as organizational structure. He argued that scalar Chain Organization should partake a firm vertical order. all the responsibilities, authorities and communication must follow that ladder. He ranked communication as an important element to an effective management. nevertheless, Fayol knew that there is situation where communication should be done very quickly. He meant that some times it is necessary to pass information and if possible to go out of the lines of authority and pass the message directly across the Scalar Chain. Later on, the concept became to be known as “Fayol’s Bridge” because it can allow two individuals on the same hierarchical level to communicate effectively and directly.

Organizational Power

This element contains three of the 14 principles which are Centralization; whereby all decisions are done in a central position. Here, the workers are not required to make the decision. The decisions are mainly done by the people in higher rank of management. after the top decisions, the information is passed down to employees through their supervisors. Authority and responsibility also falls under organizational power.

Managers should have the power that stem not only from their rank in the organization but also should hold the authority for their individual characteristics (e.g. experience and intelligence). Importantly, responsibility should go together with power or authority in equal degree. The last principle which fall under this element is discipline. Here, Fayol meant that all the partners and members of a given organization should be respectful and dutiful to the rules and regulation of their organization and to the leaders (managers) who implement them.

Organizational Reward

In the addition to the above, three other principles relate to the organizational reward. These includes the remuneration of personnel whereby employees are given reward for their work with suitable salary. Equity is another principle whereby in, remuneration all the workers are required to be treated fairly and justly. The last principle that fall under the element of organizational reward is tenure stability. Fayol in this principle advocated that the organization should provide the workers with sufficient time to master their work in order to realize maximum performance.

The last 3 Principles connected to organizational attitude includes subordination of people connected to overall interest. This principle advocates that an organization may be come effective only when the whole people’s interest take primacy over the interest of individuals. Therefore, organizational objectives must always be considered by individuals. Additionally, initiative managers take into consideration the efforts of their employees in order to make them work for the best interest of the organization.

The last principle is Esprit de corps. “All for one and one for all” the principle advocates that there should be no disagreement between the different rank in an organization.

Fayol emphasized communication as a basic element to effective management of any organization. He proposed a well-developed organizational structure where every person understands where he or she fits the best. It is worth mentioning that best structures and vibrant rules deals with these organizational structures. Based on the discussion provided above, it can be concluded that, Fayol’s administrative theory is more of prescriptive rather than explanatory or descriptive. He defined the way in which an organization is supposed to function so as to be fruitful.

Application of Fayol’s theory in the Contemporary work place

Fayol’s administrative theory together with principle of management are still applicable in contemporary organization in many different ways. The theory and its principles are still practiced in modern industries. They are refurbished form of the original elements or principles. They are leftovers of history of organization to which other values and practices are being presented. Many other principles of Fayol are also still followed up to today, to a step that depend on the a given organization or an industry.

The Military of the United States is a good example of an organization which has employed and still use the Fayol’s Principle of management. For example, the U.S. military organization still employ division of work, “subordination of individual interest to general interest”, unity of Command, centralization and the scalar chain in different managerial level in all divisions of the military. Other current organizations which have developed usually tend to use many of these principles of management especially application of scalar chain as away of imposing instructions and order.

Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy

Max Webber (1864-1920) was a Germany political scientist, sociologist, philosopher and also the founder current sociology. He wrote the ethics for protestant and the capitalism spirit in the year 1905. He went to the university where he later became a professor but unfortunately, he suffered from breakdown of mental in 1897 and he was not able to work for a period of five years. His bureaucratic theory stressed on two essential elements; firstly, it involves arranging organizations into hierarchy. Secondly the a given organization together with its members were ruled by well outlined rational legal decision-making laws. Each of these elements help any organization to meet its goals (Du, 2010).

An organizational hierarchy is the planning of the organization by the rank of the power or authority. In reference to the step above and below. For example, the vice president in a given organization is always ranked below the president of that organization. It is important to note that the person holding the lower level in the hierarchy answers to a person who is above him or her and at the top there is final leader of the whole organization. The rational-legal decision-making rule entails procedures and policies that help to monitor how the company functions. Other features in this theory are clear career path where employment in a public sector or any organization must be taken as an occupation for officials. Full time employees are categorized as official. In summary, Webber’s bureaucracy permits for the optimal form of authority.

Application of Webber’s Theory in current workplace.
In today’s society, the term bureaucracy is used in every day’s activities. The theory of bureaucracy is still connected in contemporary society with efficient, slow moving industries. Several public sectors, academic facilities and union shops just to mention a few tend to work based on the principle of bureaucracy

Comparisons between the three conceptional theory

After discussion, we have seen that all theorist (Fayol, Tylor and Webber) contributed a lot to the organizational management. Notably there are similarities and differences in three of these pioneer works. Looking at the work of Fayol and Tylor it can be said that their theories were complementary. For example, both Fayol and Tylor realized that the problems faced by the employees and the management in a given organization is the primary key to the success of an organization. It is also important to note that all the three-theorist applied scientific way during the development of their theories. For example, Fayol and Webber based on the operative sequence from the base of organization hierarchy upwards. Similarly, Fayol focused on administrative management from top to bottom.

It is also noted that all the three philosophers felt the universality of management. moreover, it is worth to point out that, they had a common goal of trying to enhance the management within organizations. The development of their ideas was grounded on practical experiments. Moreover, the above discussed theorist expressed their conception theories by use of books whereby, they focused a lot on mutual cooperation between the employers and their works. It is important to put into consideration that, all the three theories were developed at a period when the organization of employers and employees was required.

Differences

Although this paper was discussing the theories of three people, the different ideology is most pronounced in the theory of Tylor and Fayol. One of their major difference is that Tylor focused on the problem of shop floor but on the other hand Fayol based on the work of managers at the higher level. The second difference is that Taylor’s worked from the base of an organization going upwards while Fayol worked opposite of Tylor where he applied the theory to work from top management to the bottom.

Additionally, it can be noted that main purpose of Tylor was to improve productivity of labor and remove wastages. On the other hand, Fayol tried to create a worldwide management theory. Tylor’s theory has evolved and have a big change under the impact of current development, but the work of Fayol especially his principles of management have overcome several critiques and is well accepted even in modern days.

Conclusion

It is worth to conclude that the three management thinkers have an enormous contribution in the ground of organizational management. The theories are not contradictory instead they are complementary in nature. Although the three thinkers may have different ideas, it can be noted from their arguments that they had a common interest of ensuring effective management in an organization. For example, Taylor’s theory focused on the major issues of improving the productivity of labor and that of Fayol focused the idea of departmentalization which is aimed at improving the success of organizations

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