Principles of Scientific Management
In the last century, organizations already had to deal with management in practice. In the early 1900s, large organizations, such as production factories, had to be managed too. At the time there were only few external management tools, models and methods available.
At this juncture, Mr.Frederick Winslow Taylor (F.W.Taylor) brought about a scientific approach to managing the workforce after his experiments with the African and South American slaves employed in a coal field in England. His aim was absolute harmony in work place for overall productivity of the organization
Principles of scientific management propounded by Taylor are
1. Science, Not Rule of Thumb
2. Harmony, Not Discord
3. Mental Revolution
4. Cooperation, Not Individualism
5. Development of each and every person to his or her greatest efficiency and prosperity.
They are explained in brief as follows:
In order to increase organisational efficiency, the ‘Rule of Thumb’ method should be substituted by the methods developed through scientific analysis of work.
Rule of Thumb means decisions taken by manager as per their personal judgments. According to Taylor, even a small production activity like loading iron sheets into box cars can be scientifically planned. This will help in saving time as well as human energy. Decisions should be based on scientific enquiry with cause and effect relationships.
This principle is concerned with selecting the best way of performing a job through the application of scientific analysis and not by intuition or hit and trial methods. The work assigned to any employee should be observed and analyzed with respect to each element or part thereof and the time involved therein so as to decide the best way of performing that work and to determine the standard output for same.
Taylor emphasized that there should be complete harmony between the workers and the management since if there is any conflict between the two, it will not be beneficial either for the workers or the management. Both the management and the workers should realize the importance of each other. In order to achieve this state, Taylor suggested complete mental revolution on the part of both management and workers.
It means that there should be complete change in the attitude and outlook of workers and management towards each other. It should always be kept in mind that prosperity for an employer cannot exist for a long time unless it is accompanied by the prosperity of the employees of that organisation and vice versa. It becomes possible by (a) sharing a part of surplus with workers (b) training of employees, (c) employees of that organisation and vice versa. It becomes possible by (a) sharing a part of surplus with workers (b) training of employees, (c) division of work (d) team spirit (e) positive attitude (f) sense of discipline (g) sincerity etc. Management should always be ready to share the gains of the company with the workers and the latter should provide their full cooperation and hard work for achieving organizational goals. Group action with mutual-trust and understanding should be perfect understanding the focus of working. This principle requires that there should be perfect understanding between the management and workers and both should feel that they are part of same family. It helps to produce synergy effect since both management and workers work in unison.
For example, in most of the Japanese companies, paternalistic style of management is in practice and there is complete openness between workers and the management. Usually, workers don‘t go on strike but, if at all they do so, they just wear a black badge and work even more than the normal hours just to impress upon the management that their focus is on their demands as well as organisational objectives.
The technique of Mental Revolution involves a change in the attitude of workers and management towards each other. Both should realize the importance of each other and should work with full cooperation. Management as well as the workers should aim to increase the profits of the organisation. For this, the workers should put in their best efforts so that the company makes profit and on the other hand management should share part of profits with the workers. Thus, mental revolution requires a complete change in the outlook of both management and workers. There should be a spirit of togetherness between workers and management.
This principle is an extension of principle of ‘Harmony, not discord’ and lays stress on mutual cooperation between workers and the management. Cooperation, mutual confidence, sense of goodwill should prevail among both, managers as well as workers. The intention is to replace internal competition with cooperation. Both ‘Management’ and ‘Workers’ should realize the importance of each other. Workers should be considered as part of management and should be allowed to take part in decision making process of the management. Management should always welcome their suggestions and should also reward them if their suggestions prove to be beneficial for the organisation viz. reduction of costs or increase in production etc. At the same time, workers should also resist from going on strike or making unnecessary demands from management. Workers should be treated as integral part of organisation and all important decisions should be taken after due consultation with workers. Both of them should visualize themselves as two pillars whose soundness alone can ensure achievement of common goals of the organisation. Taylor also suggested that there should be proper division of work and responsibility between the two. Management should always guide, encourage and help the workers.
Efficiency of any organisation also depends on the skills and capabilities of its employees to a great extent. Thus, providing training to the workers was considered essential in order to learn the best method developed through the use of scientific approach. To attain the efficiency, steps should be taken right from the process of selection of employees. Employees should be scientifically selected. The work assigned to each employee should suit his/her physical, mental and intellectual capabilities. Efficient employees produce more to earn more. This ultimately helps to attain efficiency and prosperity for both organisation and the employees.
The Principles of Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory became widely practiced, and the resulting cooperation between workers and managers eventually developed into the teamwork we enjoy today. While Taylorism in a pure sense isn’t practiced much today, scientific management did provide many significant contributions to the advancement of management practice. It introduced systematic selection and training procedures, it provided a way to study workplace efficiency, and it encouraged the idea of systematic organizational design.