Schools of Management Thought – Approaches/Theories – BBA Notes/MBA Notes

Scientific Management

Scientific management was propounded by Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) who is the father, of Scientific Management.

Taylor experimented in three companies: Midvale Steel, Simonds Rolling Machine and Bethlehem Steel and on the basis of his observation and findings he has propounded these principles.

Principles of Scientific Management

There are four principles of scientific management.

i. Replacing rule of Thumb

Taylor has suggested the management as a science. Every decision to be taken or activities to be performed must be based on facts. He told that we should not stick with-old techniques, but strive to form new techniques. The best technique could be found after proper discussion between managers and workers.

ii. Harmony in group action

 He told that inside the organization, there should be harmony among the workers and there should not be any dispute between the workers.

iii. Co-operation not individualism

 It states that there should be co-operation among the worker and different departments. Since all departments are interdependent on each other so there should be a spirit of co-operation rather than internal competition.

iv. Maximum Output

Scientific management involves continuous increase in production and productivity instead of restricted production either by management or by workers.

v. Development of Workers

In scientific management, all workers should be developed to the fullest extent possible for their own and for the company’s highest prosperity. Development of workers requires their scientific selection and providing them training at the workplace.

Techniques of Scientific Management

There are following techniques of scientific management.

(i) Work study

This is the study of finding the best possible way of performing a specific job. While conducting the method study all the responsible factors must be duly considered.

(ii) Time study

This is the study of finding the standard or optimum time to be taken to perform a given task or to complete an activity. Time study is very useful in management because performance appraisal of the worker can be possible only after knowing the standard time for completing a task.

(iii) Motion study

This is the study to eliminate or reduce the unnecessary motions of the workers during the work, so that the speed of work can be increased.

(iv) Fatigue study

This study is to know about the frequency and duration of interval given to worker between the work schedule. Since after continuous work, the workers are tired so rest or interval is necessary to improve their performance.

Differential Payment

Taylor wants to make distinction between efficient and inefficient workers and he is in favour of giving incentives to efficient workers.

i. Taylor founded the differential piecework system and the related incentives with production. Under this plan, a worker received a low piece rate if he produced the standard number of pieces and a high rate if he surpassed the standard. For example, in an organisation there may be two piece rates Rs. 15 and Rs. 20. Suppose each worker has to achieve the target of producing 10 items every day and the workers who produced 10 or more items will be paid at the rate of Rs. 20 and who could not achieve the target will be given wages at the rate of Rs. 15 per piece. If a worker produce 10 items he will get Rs. 200 and other who produce only 9 items will get Rs. 135.

ii. Taylor also suggested that the attraction of a new high piece rate would encourage the workers to increase production.

Scientific Recruitment and Training

i .Taylor gave importance to the scientific selection and development of the worker.

ii. Taylor understood the importance of developing the worker and suggested to develop and train every worker in order to bring out his best.

iii. Taylor comprehended that such trainings will enable the worker to perform a better, more interesting and profitable class of work than he has done in the past.

Intimacy and Co-operation between the Management and Workers

i. Taylor viewed that only arguing over profits and pressurising workers is not going to make the organisation successful.

ii. Taylor realized that both, the management and the labour had a common interest in maximising production.

iii. Gantt also identified the significance of the human element in productivity and suggested the concept of motivation.

iv. Gantt introduced two new features in Taylor’s 0 incentive scheme.

v. Every worker who finished a day’s assigned workload was to win a 50-cent bonus for that day.

vi. The foreman was to get a bonus for each worker who achieved the daily standard, plus an extra bonus if all the workers achieved it.

Concept of Functional Formanship

Taylor has suggested that the production work in a production unit must be divided into two parts namely the planning and the production.

He has suggested the provision of eight foremen or experts in each using both the functions are as follows.

2. Planning Function

Taylor has suggested that few planning function there should be following experts

  • Instruction card clerk The instruction card clerk efines the task to be performed by the workers along with necessary instructions to carry out the task.
  • Route clerk The route clerk defines and instruct about the procedure and timing of doing a given task.
  • Time and cost clerk The time and cost clerk defines the standard time to complete a given task and the cost involved there in.
  • Disciplinarian It will be responsible for the over all planning function and ensures that all work is done properly.


2. Production Function

Production is the implementation of the planning. In this part he has suggested following four experts:

(i)Speed boss

He is responsible for maintaining the speed of production and ensures that whether the work performed by the worker with proper speed or not.

(ii) Repair boss

 Repair boss is responsible for maintaining all machines and tools in proper working conditions so that the production work will not be affected.

(iii) Gang boss

 Gang boss is the representative or the leader of small group of worker. He will be responsible for the activities performed by the group. He is also responsible for the preliminary work relating to arrangement and setting up machines and tools in the production unit.

(v) Inspector

The inspector checks the quality in produced goods if the product is not upto the mark then he will investigate the reasons and checks overall production system.

Contributions of Scientific Management

  • Through the time and motion studies we understand that the tools and physical activity concerned in a job can be made better balanced and organized.
  • Scientific Management discovered how important scientific selection of workers was and comprehended that without capability and training a person cannot be expected to do his job properly.
  • It gave importance to work design and encouraged managers to seek “one best way” of doing a job.
  • Thus, it has developed a rational approach to solve the organisation’s problems and contributed a great deal to the professionalism of management.

Criticism of Scientific Management

  • Taylor convicted that monetary incentives are strong enough to motivate workers for improved production has been proved wrong. Man’s only need is not money. He has different types of needs such as safety needs, self-esteem needs, social needs, etc which motivate him to work better especially when he has risen above starvation level. Taylor’s time and motion study has not been accepted as entirely scientific.
  • Usage of better tools and machines as well as innovative methods led to the removal, of some workers, who found it challenging to get other jobs. This caused discontent among them. It was found to be more relevant from engineering point of view than throwing a light upon the broader aspects of management; because of which it was opposed by Trade Unions, Industrialists and General Public.


Main Features

  • Aggressive mechanical view and sidelined human relations.
  • Authoritarian approach.
  • Scientific standardization of production without considering other factors.
  • New methods of exploitation.

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