Scientific Management

Scientific Management


The appearance of Frederick Taylor’s theory of scientific management was practically revolutionary for that epoch and symbolized the breakthrough in traditional approach to management process. At the same time, as management theory evolved gradually Taylor’s theory was severely criticized and its role decreased dramatically to the extent that nowadays it is argued whether scientific management still exists or probably it totally vanished. To answer this question it is necessary to define the essence of this theory, its advantages and disadvantages, and find out whether it is still applied today.
First of all, it is necessary to point out that Taylor’s theory was quite innovative since he attempted to develop scientific approach to management and work out steps that could help private industry to improve performance (Kanigel, 105). In actuality, his theory was based on four main values that he considered to be of a paramount importance. They are as follows: efficiency, rationality, productivity, and profit. According to the theorist the efforts of all people working within the organization should be focused on the progress of the four basic values that created the framework of his theory. At the same time, he insisted on the necessity to establish a strict system in which all processes were under the control and command of a company’s administration while the role of employees were minimized and they were actually treated as cogs of the machine. In fact, employees should only develop and polish their skills and abilities, acquire essential experience and perfectly do the routine though highly productive job. This permanent improvement of professional qualities, acquisition of experience, and development of skills and abilities were the basis of professional growth of employees. It is worthy of mention that Taylor stood on the ground that employees were naturally interested in the improvement of their work, its efficiency and productivity, as well as profit because their earnings depended on the amount of items they produced (Milakovich & Gordon, 158).
However, progressive the theory used to be, scientific management is hardly applicable to modern organizations. Anyway, nowadays it is practically impossible to find an organization where scientific management was applied in its pure form. There are several reasons for such a degradation of Taylor’s ideas. First of all, it should be said that along with obvious advantages that the theory offered such as the idea of necessity to increase the productivity and efficiency of work which positively influence profits, application of rational method to production, etc. there remained substantial disadvantages which remained unnoticed until the theory was applied to practice (Milakovich & Gordon, 158). The practical implementation of the theory in the US revealed a number of disadvantages which gradually undermined the effectiveness of this theory and at the present moment Taylor’s ideas are widely criticized.
In this respect, it is worthy of mention that scientific managers practically ignores the human element and the view on an employee is quite simplistic since Taylor limits interests and needs of employees only by financial stimuli. Obviously, in actuality, employees’ needs and interests are much more complex and need more human-oriented approach instead of transforming humans into a part of some machine. Furthermore, Taylor’s belief that there would be no conflicts between managers and employees, if there objectives were the same, turned to be erroneous in practice. Conflicts still remained inevitable and what is more even the financial stimuli of employees was efficient enough, since as a rule profit, including those of employees, depended on the law of supply and demand and profitability could not grow constantly neither it could keep pace with productivity (Milakovich & Gordon, 158).
As a result, nowadays in the epoch when creativity, flexibility and certain independence of employees are extremely important, scientific management is in decline. Nonetheless, it persists in a way and often it is not private but public organizations that apply Taylor’s theory in their work. For instance, the modern navy seems to be an adherent of ideas of scientific management since people working in navy work in accordance with strictly regulated norms and standards and their professional and career growth is realized by means of gradual acquisition and improvement of job-related characteristics, skills and abilities. As a result, as people acquire experience and new skills they get a higher rank. Or else, FEMA also applies elements of scientific management in its work. For instance, people working at FEMA get training on a specific job and while working, looking at damaged homes and determining their safety for instance, they keep training and increase their professional level.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that nowadays scientific management is in decline and it has practically vanished in its pure form in modern organizations. Nonetheless, some of its elements still persist and are applicable in some modern organizations, including public ones.


Bibliography:
1. Kanigel, Robert. (1999). The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency. New York: Penguin, 2000.
2. Milakovich, M.E. & Gordon, G.G. (2003). Public administration in America (9 th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.