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Scientific Management

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Everything you need to know about scientific management. Scientific management can be defined as an intellectually complex set of techniques for coordinating human behaviour in organisations or for providing organisational members with the skills and knowledge to do so.

This implies that it is systematic study of relationships between people and tasks that enables redesigning of work towards higher efficiency.

The term Scientific Management is used in the special sense of an approach to management according to which the management undertakes the responsibility for deciding the proper standards and methods of work and providing for close supervision of workers.

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Learn about:-

1. Meaning and Scope of Scientific Management 2. History of Scientific Management 3. Features 4. Principles 5. Techniques 6. Opposition 7. Advantages 8. Disadvantages.

Scientific Management: Meaning, Scope, Principles, Techniques, Advantages, Disadvantages and Other Details


Scientific Management – Meaning and Scope

Broadly speaking, scientific management is the art of knowing exactly what is to be done and the best way of doing it. Under this system the method of work is scientifically thought out, the workers scientifically selected and trained to perform the task, and the most efficient speed is scientifically determined.

According to Person the term “scientific management” characterises that form of organisation and procedure which rests on principles or laws derived by the process of scientific investigation and analysis, instead of on tradition or policies determined by the process of trial and error. Indeed, it is a process of transference of skill from management to worker.

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Scientific management is also knows as Taylorism, because Frederic Winslow Taylor, who is also known as the father of scientific manage­ment, was the first to introduce scientific method at the workshop level. As the Chief Engineer in a steel mill, Taylor noticed wastage of time and energy on the part of workers.

He found that workers were deliberately slack in performing their work. Time-rate, being the basis of wage- payment, was not conducive to hard work. He was amazed at the employers who paid no attention to this wastage. The methods used for performing the task were crude and unscientific so that a worker could not produce to the maximum of his capacity.

Taylor and other pioneers came to the conclusion that, in comparison to what was possible with scientific control, the industries were working at about 50 per cent efficiency. Taylor demonstrated that proper method of work produced good results, and locating the proper method involved scientific investigation. Every employer should by scientific investigation, develop the best method of work and then teach it to workers who must follow it.

Another interesting fact discovered was that almost all workers were misfits – they were at wrong jobs. The workers were put by Taylor on jobs more suited to them, and their efficiency increased. The adjustment of tools and conditions was another phase of scientific management.

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Gilbreth has also contributed considerably to the development of scientific management. Gilbreth was a building contractor. He noticed that the old and traditional methods of bricklaying were inefficient, because a bricklayer lost much time in examining and turning bricks in his hand and in making a number of movements to pick up the bricks and putting enough mortar on the wall etc. By introducing adjustable scaffolding, Gilbreth arranged to reduce the number of movements required to lay a brick from 18 to 5, and the number of bricks laid per hour was raised from 120 to 350.

The two chief points in connection with Scientific Management made by Taylor have been:

1. Complete cooperation between employers and workers, or mental revolution, and

2. Scientific Investigation as the basis of all decisions.

1. Mental Revolution:

In the words of Taylor, “scientific management involves a complete mental revolution on the part of workers and management and without this complete mental revolution on both sides, scientific management does not exist”. Both sides must aim for cooperation for maximising output and give up hostility and suspicion. Both sides should take their eyes off the division of the surplus as the all-important matter and together turn their attention toward increasing the size of the surplus.

Usually the workers try to keep output low for fear of creating unemployment. Again, due to payment on time basis, extra output or increased efficiency does not benefit the worker. Employers also do not take kindly to increase in workers’ earnings. The net effect is mutual hostility and suspicion resulting in low profits and lower wages. Workers should realise that good work brings down cost and pulls up profits with a consequent rise in wages.

The employers should also recognise that if output goes up cost comes down, increased wages will still leave higher profits for them. Therefore, workers should welcome efforts to increase output and cooperate with the employers; employers should readily raise wages. Both must recognise that prosperity of both depends upon the prosperity of each and none should attempt to prosper at the cost of the other. Taylor never introduced scientific management without raising wages, for it is futile to expect workers’ cooperation without material benefit to them.

2. Scientific Investigation:

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A management determined to make scientific management a success must make scientific investigation as its basis. It is necessary to investigate scientifically all factors relating to work and then perform the work according to the results indicated. The traditional rule-of-thumb method, that is decisions based upon the whims of the managers, must be given up.

Nobody should decide anything unless all the relevant information is collected and until experiments have been carried out to test the proposed line of action. The following sections deal with the various aspects of scientific investigation.


Scientific Management – History

The science of management is as old as human history. In our country during the past few decades, the “managerial revolution” has changed the status of management from amateur to professional. Now management has gained more importance in our industry, trade and commerce.

Management compasses fundamental issues relating to human welfare and values. Management is no longer is exclusive domain of the entrepreneur. Social scientists, behaviorists, economists, mathematicians, engineers, scholars, public administrators and so on have significantly contributed to the development of management thought.

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Management achieves an objective with the resources available. It functions in practically every phase of human activity, in the home, on the land, in the school, shop, factory, bank, hospital, library, co-operative, labour unions, religious organization, municipality, state, nation and international organization.

Although an individual person manages his personal affairs, management usually refers to activities conducted by a group. The social character of management is apparent as soon as one person is employed by another or goods or services are provided for use of others.

Good management, or scientific management, achieves a social objective with the best use of human and material energy and time, and with satisfaction for the participants and the public. It utilizes the resources of nature and of human nature for the benefit of mankind. It applies human intelligence, co-operation and skill, as well as technology to achieve social aims.

In a sense, both management and technology are means, not ends, and can be applied to socially destructive as well as to constructive ends.

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The rise of management as a profession, however, has necessarily involved ethical and social considerations. Ends, as well as means, must be taken into account.

An enterprise comes into being to accomplish an objective or a series of objectives which can be attained better by a group of people than by one person alone. An organization is ‘a system of co-operative activities of two or more persons’.

People join the enterprise in order to satisfy their needs, desires and aspirations. They will not join unless they believe that the gains from association will outweigh the burdens they assume as members. They may be induced to join through the incentives and gratifications offered; or they may be coerced, as when men were ‘impressed’ into the navy; or they may be persuaded through appeal to reason, emotion or ideals.

The motive or motives with which they join call for the satisfaction of at least some of their needs and desires through the organization. The correlation of individual desires and satisfactions with the existing and emergent aims, methods and results of the enterprise is fundamental to the continuance of the enterprise itself.

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Hence the importance of the subtle element referred to as morale. ‘Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose’.

One of the great advantages of a group is that members may be deployed in space and time to make observations, to amplify power and resources, and to maintain a continuity of effort impossible for one person alone.

When a number of persons are all engaged in an enterprise, it is normal to divide the activities needed to accomplish the objective into tasks (viewed from the standpoint of the individual) and functions (viewed from the standpoint of the totality) in other words, to develop a structure or ‘organization’. Purposes are broken down into intermediate and detailed objectives, so that the functions needed to attain the objectives may be assigned to organizational units, and the detailed tasks to individuals holding positions in those units.

Thus there arises a distinction between the structure containing the units and positions and the persons occupying the positions. The work of the units and positions is systematized. Moreover, the wills of the persons must be unified to ensure the continuous unity of effort in the co-operative system.

‘Coordination is the orderly arrangement of group effort to provide unity of action in pursuit of a common purpose’. This unity of action requires communication, a constant flow of information between the co-operating individuals so that they may continue to co-operate intelligently in the joint undertaking. Through this flow a system of understandings is developed.

An activity may proceed unchanged for some time until something in the internal or external system requires an adaptation through either a change of action or a withholding of action. The decision for adaptation takes place at a specific location in time and space. If the activity is to stay correlated, the communication system must convey the new facts, including the adaptation to other points in the system.

Each position in the system requires its quota of information. Modification of actions takes place in response to the observations relayed through the communication system. The decision to amend or withhold action is often non­verbal. The observations themselves become cues to action.

Just as differentiation of organs developed in the human individual, so an organization develops special functions, including observation and decision-making for the units and positions which compose it. Making plans and executive decisions becomes a function lodged in position whose occupants have those specialized roles.

Each plan or decision may be considered as a more detailed setting of objectives or methods for their accomplishment within the concrete situation obtaining inside and outside the system at a given time. Plans and decisions are consolidated into policies and procedures which become standards for further activity. The ways of action and though become norms to which people tend to conform.

Plans and decisions cannot become effective unless they are communicated, understood and accepted by all those in the system who affected by the change. Willingness to accept patterns for activity is intrinsic to the continuance of the co-operative action.

Thus an order or instruction must be accepted before it carries weight or authority. A usual condition of this acceptance is the belief on the part of each participant that the order is ‘authentic’ that it comes from a functional and recognized source for directing changes of activity.

Orders which are not understood and accepted are not obeyed. At such time as an individual does not ‘go along’ with the decisions, he withdraws his contribution of co-operation. In a dictatorship, the price of such withdrawal may be punishment or death but many an individual has preferred dying rather than yielding in situations which went too much against his dispositions or convictions.

More commonly, the person does not actively withdraw but contributes only enough activity to scape unpleasant consequences. His contribution is only given in full measure when he works with a will and puts into the joint effort his utmost of skill and energy.

The stability, high productivity and progress of an organization in pursuit of its objectives rest, therefore, on the ‘consent of the governed’, and still more on the willing and hearty co-operation of its members.

Changes are continually taking place both in the internal system of the organization and in the outside environment. The need for adjustments as well as for continuity requires control and adaptation. Control maintains ‘the equilibrium between ends and means, output and effort. It adjusts activities to score the desired results.

Each organization is a social system within a larger social system, and subject to the laws of the particular situation— economic, physical, legal, sociological, psychological and technical.

A principle and a law of management are two expressions for the same thought. A law is defined as a relationship between cause and effect which, so far as the total existing experience goes, has been proved to be valid in all cases……. A law is a statement of fact.

Laws are further defined thus “Uniformities, sequences, and results relative to given courses of action in management are designated as laws. They have somewhat different significance from the laws of the physical sciences, for they deal with different phenomena.”

A principle is defined as ‘a general proposition sufficiently applicable to the series of phenomena tinder consideration to provide a guide to action………….. A principle is a mechanism of thought’.

In connection with principles of organization, Urwick says, “The principles, however convenient as a shorthand method of thinking, are only guides to action. If they become rules—rigid— they lose their utility. There must be continuous machinery for working out new principles and applying existing principles to cases.”


Scientific Management – 8 Salient Features: Scientific Task-Setting, Planning, Working Study, Standardisation, The Mental Revolution and a Few Others

While discussing the salient features or elements of scientific management Taylor has said “Scientific Management is the art of knowing exactly what you want men to do and then seeing that how they do it in the best and cheapest way.”

The important Features of scientific management are as follows:

Feature # 1. Scientific Task-Setting:

Scientific management determines the task for every worker through careful scientific investigation. The standard task is the quality of work which an average worker working under ideal standardised conditions will be able to do in a day. This was called ‘a fair day’s work.’ Thus, Taylor stressed upon standardisation and pre-planning.

Feature # 2. Planning:

Planning as Taylor says – “is the heart of scientific management”. This planning was concerned with four things; what work has to be done, how it is to be done, where the work shall be done, when it will be done. The first question was to be dealt with by the management and the engineering department.

Taylor advocated the setting up of a planning department. This department will receive detailed instructions and formations relating to the type, shape and quality of production to be produced and the dead line by which the production is to be completed. In planning department four persons were to work – (i) Programme clerk (ii) Instruction clerk, (iii) Time and cost clerk and (iv) a disciplinarian.

Feature # 3. Working Study:

It may be defined as the systematic, objective and critical examination of all the factor’s governing the operational efficiency of any specific activity. In work study Taylor stressed on method study, time study, fatigue study and scientific rate setting.

(a) Methods Study:

Under this study, the management must make an overall study of the entire production process. Then the management should made efforts to reduce this distance to be travelled by materials during productive cycle.

On his basis a “process chart” setting out the various operations may be prepared. With the help of such study, the management can try to ensure that the plant is laid out in the best manner and is equipped with the best tools and machinery.

(b) Motion Study:

It is a study of the movements of-an operator or a machine in performing an operating for the purpose of eliminating useless motions. For conduction motion studies, workers are studied at their jobs and all their movements are noted. Then they are analysed and useless motions are eliminated. Thus a less time consuming and efficient system of operation is developed.

(c) Time Study:

The purpose of time study is to determine the proper standard time for performing the operation. In the words of Kimball and Kimball “Time study may be defined primarily as the art of observing and recording the time required to do each detailed element of an industrial operation”.

Time study when done with motion study helps in determining the best method of doing a job, determining the standard quality of one day’s work (standard) task to be done by an average worker) and in rating the work.

Feature # 4. Scientific Selection and Training of Workers:

Taylor stressed on the systematisation of selection according to the nature of requirement of job. Having selected the workers the management will assign tasks to them. Every job must be entrusted to the best available man in the factory. Proper attention should be devoted to the training of workers in the correct methods of work. The scientific management requires the prior training of workers before allotting them certain task in the plant.

Feature # 5. Standardisation:

Taylor suggested the standardisation of not only production but of tools too. Equipment’s and of working conditions also. He insisted upon the use and store of standard tools and equipment’s in order to get the best production. He advised the management to set an optimum speed for every machine and one best way to do each job.

To attain the standard production, he insisted upon the maintenance of standard conditions of ventilation, heating, cooling, humidity, space and safety etc. The use of high quality raw material and good methods of handling materials were also stressed upon.

Feature # 6. Differential Piece-Rate System of Wages:

Taylor believed that financial incentive is the most appropriate incentive because man works for money. To ensure the efficiency and speed of works he suggested the system of differential piece-rate wages. According to this system two piece-rate should be determined; one for standard production and the other for lower production than the standard limits. It was believed that each worker will try to raise his efficiency in order to get the wages of higher rates.

Feature # 7. Functional Organisation and Functional Foremanship:

Taylor suggested the scheme of Functional Foremanship. Under the scheme, the two functions of ‘planning’ and ‘doing’ are separated in the organisation of the plant. Four foremen will look after the planning work and the other four will supervise the work in the shop. Taylor contemplated eight functional foremanship.

Feature # 8. The Mental Revolution:

This involves the change of attitude on both sides. Under this Taylor suggested that all the measures outlined in the system of scientific management will be fruitless until and unless there is a complete mental revolution on the part of both the management and the workers as to their outlook and attitude towards work and towards one another. Taylor has written that the methods of scientific investigations and knowledge must be accepted by both the parties without any reservation on their part.

To conclude – Taylor has suggested that “the success of scientific management rests primarily on a fundamental change in the attitude of management and workers both, also their duty to co-operative in producing the largest possible surplus and as to the necessity of substituting exact scientific knowledge for opinions or the role of thumb of individual knowledge”.


Scientific Management – 6 Principles: Scientific Study and Analysis of Job, Scientific Selection, Training and Development of Work­ers, Mental Revolution and a Few Others

The philosophy of scientific management is based upon the following principles:

Principle # 1. Scientific Study and Analysis of Job:

The first principle of scientific management requires scien­tific study and analysis of each element of a job in order to re­place the old trial and error method or rule of thumb approach. Scientific approach and investigation can suggest the best and most effective way of working. It also helps in setting standards. Development of a science for each element of the job requires that decisions be taken based on facts rather than on opinions and beliefs.

Principle # 2. Scientific Selection, Training and Development of Work­ers:

Taylor suggested that workers should be selected and trained in accordance with the requirements of the jobs they would be required to do. He also emphasised on job specification i.e. the physical, mental and other requirements should be specified for each job.

Thereafter the selection and training of workers must be relevant to the job. The focus was on not encouraging the worker to learn by the trial and error method, but to encourage learning through systematic training and development programs to enhance their skills and efficiency.

Principle # 3. Cooperation between Workers and Management:

A mutually beneficial relationship must be created by harmonising the interests of the employers and employees. The focus here is on close cooperation and not individualism, between management and workers. In the absence of willing and sus­tained cooperation between both the parties, i.e. workers and management, efficiency cannot be achieved. Such harmony and cooperation can be achieved through financial incentive among other methods.

Principle # 4. Equal Distribution of Work and Responsibility:

This is very important principle related to scientific manage­ment. This emphasizes that there should be equal distribution of work and responsibility among the workers and management. Management, especially the top management, should take the work of planning, organizing, making rules and regulations, set­ting methods of working, policies etc. The workers should be assigned the job of execution of the duties and work. This in­creases the efficiency of working of both the parties i.e. the man­agement and the workers.

Principle # 5. Maximum Prosperity for Both Employer and Employees:

This principle states that there should be maximum pros­perity for both employers and employees. There should be a balance between the prosperity of employer and employees i.e. if the employer is going towards prosperity, then he should also consider the employees and take them with him. Standard of liv­ing of employees should also increase. In other words we can say that if employer is growing, employees should also grow parallelly.

Principle # 6. Mental Revolution:

This is the most important principle in today’s competitive world. Today its time for revolution which requires that instead of fighting on the surplus generated by the organization, we should work more positively and efficiently in order to increase that sur­plus.

If surplus will increase, share of every employee and the employer will increase automatically. So it is required from all the members of the organization, whether employer or employee, that they should put their best efforts in order to increase the surplus of the organization so that everybody share can be in­creased and problems of funds can be removed from the organi­zation.


Scientific Management – Techniques

1. Time study to determine a fair day’s work.

2. Motion study and micromotion study to eliminate wasteful motions.

3. Functional Foremanship consisting of the use of 8 staff specialists – 4 each in the fac­tory office and the shop.

4. The Differential Piece Rate Plan of wage payment involving two different rate of wages for efficient and inefficient workers.

5. Standardisation of tools, equipment and working conditions.

6. Instruction cards, slide rules, graphs, char­ts, costing systems etc.

Time and Motion studies are described as the “Cornerstone of Scientific Management.”

1. Time Study:

Dr. Taylor considered time study as a very im­portant feature of Scientific Management. He car­ried on detailed study in order to have a standard time load to fix his incentive wage system to carry out a job most efficiently. Time study includes mo­tion study, job standardisation and scientific se­lection of workers. Time study aims, in the words of Taylor, to find out “the one best way” of doing the work.

The chief advantage of time study is to find out the best possible time in which a job can be effi­ciently carried out. Thus it helps to keep control on production and other departments of the plant be­sides finding out the capacity of the plant and in­stallation of the best machinery in the factory. The efficiency of a worker can also be judged by time study. It is also very useful to estimate the cost of production.

2. Motion Study:

It is the analysis of the methods, of the mate­rials and of the tools and equipment used or to be used, in the performance of a piece of work. The analysis is carried on to find out the most economi­cal way of doing this work, to standardise the methods, materials, tools and equipment’s, to de­termine accurately the time required by an aver­age worker to do the task and to train the worker in the new method.

Frank B. Gilbreth first developed the method of motion study and he said, “Motion study is the science of eliminating wastefulness resulting from using unnecessary, ill-directed and inefficient mo­tions. The aim of motion study is to find and per­petuate the scheme of least waste methods of la­bour.”

Motion study confers the following advantages:

1. It increases output.

2. It effects a great econo­my in cost savings.

3. Wages are increased; work­ers are benefitted.

4. Production increases and cost decreases, thus the producer stands to profit more.

5. It enhances workers’ interest and makes them more efficient.

Disadvantages:

1. Because of a given pattern of motion, work becomes monotonous.

2. It appears to workers as irksome, restraining their free move­ments.

3. Individual differences of workers are not taken into consideration, and

4. By Motion study standard of work may not be attained by the workers, according to the industrial psychologists.

One of the cardinal principles of Scientific Management is the mental attitude of the emplo­yer and the employees. The need for change of the mental attitude of the employer and the employ­ees cannot be overemphasised; the need is for the interest of both the parties. But, unfortunately, it has not been achieved as yet.

The change in the mental attitude of the employer is called for, be­cause today labour cannot be hired and fired ac­cording to the whims of Management. Today’s mil­itant trade unions are strong enough to safeguard and protect the interests of the workers, if neces­sary.

Henry L. Gantt observed, “The general poli­cy of the past has been to drive, but the era of force must give way to that of knowledge and the policy of the future will be to teach and to lead to the ad­vantage of all concerned.”

Management should realise the “human prob­lem” and the workers must fully co-operate with the Management and should not adopt the atti­tude of a person who works for fixed hours for fixed wages. The spirit of esprit de corps must be inculcated into workers.

Others who have contributed significantly to the Scientific Management movement were – Hen­ry L. Gantt, H. Emerson and Frank and Gilbreth. The School of Scientific Management was devel­oped largely by engineers and scientists.

Taylor’s contribution to Management is unique in the sense that he applied scientific methods of ob­servation and experiment to the problems of Ma­nagement. Though his ideas were not entirely new, it is he who for the first time advocated a mental revolution on the part of both employer and employees.

His concepts of functional foremanship, time and motion studies, separation of planning from doing, and revolutionised methods of manufacturing are fundamental.

In spite of the fact that Scientific Manage­ment thought contained fundamental ideas that stood the test of time, it could not escape criticisms. It has been described by the critics as “a cold phi­losophy of Management”. The essentiality of peo­ple in Management was not accepted by Taylor who saw people as inefficient and unpredictable ma­chines rather than as living beings.

To him, work­ers were ‘rational economic beings’ and inherently lazy, which is not correct. Scientific Management, according to many, is more a theory of industrial engineering than a general theory of Management. The study of Management became in effect the study of shop Management.

Taylor has become more dogmatic than practical by theorising complete separation of planning from execution which is neither practicable nor desirable. Last but not the least, a severe criticism is that Taylor, who advocated differential piece rate of wage system for the workers and thought about their welfare and efficiency, led to industrial autocracy and unfair distribution of the fruits of higher efficiency through his Scientific Management principles.

Trade unions allege that Scientific Management entails for workers higher workloads, unchallenging jobs and technological unemployment.

It must be admitted that nothing is an unmixed blessing in this world, not to speak of Scientific Management. Scientific Management demands a mental revolution as a precondition for its intro­duction and some of the criticisms, at least, are due to the absence of the mental revolution. “Scientific Management was an innovation and as such gener­ated opposition” (Massie).


Scientific Management – Opposition to Scientific Management: Major Objections by the Employers, Workers and the Industrial Psychologist

Despite apparent advantages of the installation of scientific man­agement in industry, “Taylorism”, as it was at one time called, has been criticised on various grounds. Both the employers and workers oppose it, although its aim is to benefit both of them. The psychologist finds it wanting in psychological reactions. Below are detailed the major objections by the employers, workers and the industrial psychologist.

1. Employers’ Objections:

i. Most employers object to its installation on the ground of excessive expense. The re-organisation involved in preliminary standar­disation entails huge expenditure, as also the making of time and motion studies. In plants with constantly changing work and small jobs, the expense may be prohibitive.

ii. Another objection is that the sudden change involved in the introduction of the system is bound to paralyse the existing arrangement of work and thus frustrate its own objective.

iii. The third objection relates to the planning room and the paraphernalia associated with it. This is said to increase cost, particularly on account of the employment of “non-producers” whose salaries add to the overhead charges.

2. Workers’ Objections:

The leaders of organised labour have been most vocal with their objections to scientific management.

The principal labour objections are as follows:

i. The leading objection is that scientific management, through sub-division and standardisation of processes destroys worker’s initia­tive, kills his craft-skill, makes for monotony, monopolises knowledge, and turns the worker into mechanical automaton.

ii. The second objection by labour leaders is that it is undemocratic, as it involves autocratic control by “functional bosses” and lessens the interest and responsibility of the worker. It is stated that scientific management “forces the worker to depend upon the employer’s concep­tion of fairness, and gives the worker no voice in hiring and discharge, in setting the task, in determining the wage rate or determining the general conditions of employment”.

iii. It is objected to on the ground of unfairness, for the major share of increased profits resulting from its application goes to capital, however much wages may be advanced. The system involves “speeding up” and “driving” and subjects the worker to nervous strain.

iv. Another objection is based upon the fact that it renders workers unemployed as a consequence of the adoption of labour-saving devices, both in machinery and in arrangement of work.

v. The final and probably the real cause of opposition is that by providing conditions satisfactory to the workers in a plant, scientific management weakens to that extent, the hold of labour leaders over such employees. The satisfied workers do not need any assistance from their leaders.

3. Psychologists’ View:

“The main aim of scientific management has been to apply psychology so as to get the maximum quantity of production from the minimum expenditure of human energy”. It is true that efficiency methods have eliminated physical fatigue and to that extent improved the worker’s lot; but they have often been applied in such a way as to subject him to a greater nervous strain. Also, the rigid application of the “psychological” tests without making allowances for individual differ­ences leads to inaccurate results.

The theories of scientific management are essentially non- psychological. They purport to specify the manner in which human activities shall be organised, without taking into account the nature of human beings. They assume that for any function which is to be performed in an organisation, there is one best method which can be prescribed and that it is the business of a management expert or a time-and-motion engineer to discover that method.

It remains only to procure a worker, teach him the simplified motions of the best of all possible method, and then arrange for him to repeat those motions each hour of the day at the pace which time study sets as “normal” in physiological terms.

It follows from what is stated above that scientific management is non-psychological because it disregards the feelings and needs, the satisfactions and frustrations of men in the work situation. Indeed, it is almost a non-motivational system, in that only the motive to earn money is taken into account. The acceptance by the worker the wage offered to him makes him agree to do as he is told, and relinquish any aspirations of his own.

According to Professor Sargant Florence, scientific management has not given that attention to the efficiency of human factor in industry which has been lavished upon the efficiency of the material factors. Professor Florence concludes that scientific management is an improve­ment, yet as actually practiced it fails to alter essentially autocratic control of industry, nor does it really introduce scientific research into the “labour problems” of industry.

In final analysis it may be stated that it is not so much scientific management that is objected to as the methods by which it has been carried out. The extent of the opposition to scientific management is justified by the considerable mismanagement conducted by incompetent persons in the field. Happily in recent years many, of these objections have been overcome by the wiser application of the non-rigid methods of Taylorism by including human relations approach.

A better under­standing of human factor in organisation will make scientific manage­ment more scientific. Productivity and satisfaction go together in a really “scientifically managed” plant.


Scientific Management –15 Important Advantages

Scientific management offers numerous benefits to the management, labourers and the economy in general.

Some of its important advantages are as followers:

1. Application and Use of Scientific Methods – Scientific management lays emphasis upon the use of the best methods in every sphere of production and management. The best methods have to be found with the help of scientific experimentation and proper investigation.

2. Appointment of Specialists – It involves appointment of specialists in the field of management. They offer useful guidance, avoid all sorts of wastes and ensure best results. It helps to attain the benefits of division of labour. The work is simplified and carried in the most economical manner.

3. Planning and Control – The Scientific Management lays emphasis upon proper planning of everything before doing and ensure proper control and checking over industrial operations.

4. Proper Guidance – It provides proper guidance and instructions to all who are engaged in the process of production. In this way it avoids delay and confusion.

5. Emphasis upon Costing – its emphasis upon costing offer numerous advantages. It helps in determination of cost of production, control of cost of production, determination of prices of products and improvement in profitability etc.

6. More output and Profit – It results in production of more goods of better quality with minimum factors of production. Ultimately it leads to greater profits to industrialist.

7. Encourages Research – its due emphasis upon experimentation, investigation and scientific study and analysis encourages research activities which in the long run help the society in different ways.

8. Loads to Co-operation among the Employers and Employees – It calls for harmonious relations between employee and employees. It popularized the ideas that prosperity of lot depends upon the prosperity of each.

9. Increase in Production – The Scientific Management ensures proper planning and scientific methods of doing work. This result in the increase to production.

10. Reduction in Cost of Production – Manager by proper planning ensures avoiding all types of wastes and losses planned production helps to reach the production schedule well in time. This leads to reduction in cost of production.

11. Management on Scientific Principles – The Management is based on scientific principles. It is not left to the discretion of the individuals.

12. Reduction of Physical Exertion of the Workers – In Scientific Management workers are trained in best method of doing job. Periodical pauses and leisure’s reduce the fatigue of the workers.

13. Better Working Conditions – Scientific Management provides better conditions of work to the workers viz. proper working hours, ventilation, lighting etc.

14. Higher Wages to Workers – In the scheme of scientific management due to introduction of different wage incentive plans, efficient workers get more wages than normal workers. This increased wages, improve the standard of living of workers.

15. Gains to Community – Scientific Management ensures industrial peace, increased production, maximum prosperity, increase in national income, higher standard of living etc.

The scientific management breaks the unity of workers.


Scientific Management – Disadvantages: Worker’s Criticism, Trade Unions’ Criticism and Huge Investment

The employer’s objection is that it is expensive. The studies involved in standardization require large expenditure and in smaller units the expense may become burden.

The worker’s objections are more numerous and include the following:

1. Destroy Initiative of Workers – In scientific management standardization destroys the workers initiative and skills his skill and makes his work routine. The human being becomes a machine and the worker is dictated to by management.

2. Effects the Health of Workers – The speeding of work effects the health of the worker and has even caused unemployment among workers who could not rise up to the standard set-up.

3. Breaks on Unity of Workers – Scientific management breaks the unity of the workers because payment is based on the individual efficiency.

4. Human Aspect in Labour Ignored – The time study and motion study reduce the labourers to automations Human aspect in labour is completely over looked.

5. Rate Cutting Device – Trade unions also feel that scientific management is a systematic rate cutting device.

6. Encourage Discrimination between Workers – Scientific Management discriminates between workers to worker. Efficient worker get more ways than normal worker.

It is obvious that most of the criticisms of are exaggerated and it will work for benefit of the management, labour and society in general.

Although Scientific Management offered a new approach to the management of men and work. It did not become universally popular. It has helped in the best utilization of men, machines and materials and has led to an improvement in the workers’ earnings and working conditions. However it has been criticized by various section of society.

Workers Criticism:

The worker have been opposing introduction of scientific management on the following grounds:

1. Speeding-Up of Workers:

The workers believe that if the schemes of scientific management are introduced, they would be required to do more work and they would be put to greater strain.

As matter of fact, provisions have to be made with regard to rest pause at specially determined intervals. Similarly efforts should be made to improve working conditions which may have favourable impact on the health of workers.

2. Leading to Unemployment:

According to the scheme of scientific management, each worker is required to do more work, because everything is standardized and controlled. It results inefficient workers may lose their jobs. On this ground they oppose the introduction of scientific management.

It may be said that such situation may arise only in short-run. In long-run, it may lead the improvement in various aspects and consequently more employment opportunities will come up.

3. Leading to Exploitation of Workers:

The workers claim that they are required to put more work and at the same time they are not paid enough remuneration for it. Their productivity may be doubled and tripled, but wages are not raised in the same proportion. Thus they may be exploited. Such tendency is seriously opposed by the workers.

It is agreed by the employees that wages need not be increased in proportion to the increase in productivity as such increase in productivity is also the result of various steps taken over by the management.

4. Loss of Individual Worker’s Initiative:

It is alleged that workers are not allowed to think and show their craftsman ship. Their initiative is completely killed. The products and methods of work are highly standardized and workers are require to work according to instructions.

5. Monotony:

In Scientific Management the function of planning is separated from that of doing. Every worker is expected to perform his job according to the predetermined schedule. This makes the work monotonous and the work tends to loose interest in the job.

6. Over Specialization:

It involves highly specified processing. The workers learn only a part of the whole process of doing the work. If a worker is thrown out of job, he cannot secure proper employment elsewhere on the basis of past experience.

Trade Unions Criticism:

1. Weaken the Trade Union Movement – In scientific management the problems of workers’ wages – working conditions etc. are settled by the management and trade unions have little to say on various matters. Thus, it leads to weakening of trade union movement.

It is not completely correct. In U.S.A. trade unions are managed to retain and enhance their power ever after scientific management is widely introduced in industries.

2. Systematic Rate Cutting Device – Trade unions feel that scientific management is a systematic rate cutting device.

3. Discrimination between Workers – Scientific Management discriminated between one worker to another worker. Under differential price are system all workers do not get same amount of wages. Efficient worker get more wages than normal worker. So trade unions feel that scientific management breaks the unity of workers.

Huge Investment:

The feel that the application of scheme of scientific management would involve huge capital expenditure on which they may not get adequate return.

But this argument is not correct. They must realize that if the schemes of scientific management are properly implemented, definitely it would bring substantial reduction in cost and thereby the profit according to them would be more.

1. Sudden Change:

They have also a feeling that the introduction of scientific management is a sudden change and it may be a risky affair.

The argument is also not correct. Any change for betterment must be undertaken and the change need not be sudden, but gradual.

2. Failed in Some Concerns:

They afraid of it, because it has failed in some concerns.

As a matter of fact, such schemes have failed not because of faults in scientific management, but because of practical blunders committed by them while introducing such schemes.

3. Over Heads may be Burden:

They argue, that heavy amount in the form of overheads may be expended which may prove burdensome during depression period.

This argument also does not seem to be sound. Scientific management brings about various economies which exceeds the additional expenditure during depression period.

4. Over Production:

Employers allege that scientific management leads to over production. As a result, it increase recession in the market.

Since the increase in production reduce the cost of production there by leads to increased demand, the objection seems to have no valid grounds.

6. Unsuitable to Small Concerns:

They argue that the small firm cannot afford the schemes of scientific management since it involve heavy expenditure.

Though this is correct to some extent, the small companies can also carry these schemes within their limited capacity.


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