Taylorism Scientific Call Centre Management Term Paper

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Taylorism' / 'Scientific management.'

Introduction to the Evolvement of Management Theory during the 19th and 20th Century

With the coming of the Industrial age at the turn of the Century, and a new era, came the need for more efficient management techniques. Several Classical Theories evolved during the early years of this discipline. Fordism arose from a synthesis of the other earlier theories. Fayolism philosophy included close communication between bosses and workers. Taylorism developed a theory known as "Scientific Management" to study and set appropriate work quotas based on research. Lillian Gilbreth believed that workers were motivated by both direct and indirect motives. Arthur Gantt developed a task chart to help monitor and plan projects more efficiently.

After the Classical theorists, the Human Relations Movement began to take into account the reasons for individual responses. The first of these theorists was George Elton Mayo who conducted experiments at the General Electric Hawthorne and was responsible for management theories called Theory X and Theory Y Maslow theorized that motivation was based on this hierarchy of needs. Frederick Herzberg introduced the Hygiene Theory and the Motivation theory. Dr. Willliam Ouchi wrote in 1981 about the Japanese management philosophy.

The systems approach believes that one method should be used for all management situations. This contrasts with Contingency theories, which believe that management style and philosophies should be adapted of reach individual circumstance. Lawrence and Lorsch believed that organizations were open systems and that there were many interrelations.

Introduction to Taylorism

There are many relevant theories, which developed, in the twentieth century. Taylorism will be the subject of this research paper. Under Taylor's style management, employees are managed using a "Scientific Method" instead of the empirical model used prior to this. Frederick Taylor published his work in 1911.

Prior to the development of Taylorism, quotas and company policy were at the sole discretion of management. Often there was no rationale or method for developing policy and/or worker production quotas. Often managers set quotas that were unrealistic and this caused workers to become stressed and they were less likely to meet quotas. It is clear that a method needed to be developed in order to set realistic production goals based on scientific study.

Taylor conducted studies on time management, workflow, and the standardization of work methods, and tools. Taylor proposed solutions to manage all phases of an operation. This would serve several purposes. Until this time workers had to worker harder and harder to meet the quotas that management set. Taylorism let workers work more efficiently, while at the same tome improving the profitability of the company. Taylorism seemed like the answer to all of management's problems and provided much needed information. Its goal was not just aimed at management, but at the workers as well. Taylorism paved the way for modern management techniques. Many of his principles seemed unusual at the time of their publication. However, Taylorism is the standard for most business models today. Taylor introduced the scientific method into management styles. He gave them form and consistency.

The Major Concepts of Taylorism

Scientific Management" is management based on studies set up and conducted according to the rules of scientific theory. The key studies and concepts of Taylorism are that the main elements of the Scientific Management are time studies, functional or specialized supervision, standardization of tools and implements, standardization of work methods, management by exception principle, the use of "slide-rules and similar time-saving devices, task allocation and large bonus for successful performance, the use of the 'differential rate, systems for classifying products and implements, etc. These tools are standard for today's worker and it is difficult to imagine a work place without these concepts.

Taylor had three elements, or mechanisms of management. These important elements were the development of a true science, scientific selection of the workmen, the scientific education and development of the workman, and intimate and friendly cooperation between the management and the men. He believed that all four of these elements necessary of the efficient management of a company.

Often adopting Taylorism went against established ideals in the company and these changes were not always readily accepted. He believed that these new patterns of thought should be introduced slowly, one element at a time. Taylorism said that there was one way to do the work and was not flexible on this issue. Taylor's system was widely adapted both in the United States and in other countries around the world.

One of the key strengths in Taylor's methods was that it did approach the issue of task management in a scientific manner and resolve some of the inconsistencies formerly associated with task management based on the feeling of management. Standardization of methods gives workers confidence in their jobs and reduces stress. They are clear about what is expected of them. Taylorism emphasized the education of the worker, so that they would have a better understanding of the task involved. Formerly, workers were not educated about their job.

One of the key weaknesses of the theory is that it takes a relatively negative attitude towards workers and is aimed at low education level workers. Taylor knew little about worker motivation, as his theory precedes the works of the great motivational studies by researchers such as Maslow. Taylor's theory is that motivation begins and ends with money.

Let us examine Taylorism as it relates to a Call Center environment. The efficiency of the flow of traffic and a specific set of rules would greatly improve speed and accuracy in answering calls. It would also give better quality to the customers as the employees would have the same set of rule for handling common questions and the training to make more advanced decisions on their own. Sometimes morale is a problem in call centers, especially those where there is a high pressure to sell or a center that handles problem accounts. Taylorism offers little relief for these circumstances, as the key motivator is money. It could also cause alienation, as under the Taylorism model they may have to take a question to their boss. Taylorism in this case could cause a person to be reluctant to approach their boss on a difficult question. This could lead to misinformation being given out, lost time, and stress on the employees part. One of the major pitfalls with Taylorism is that it fails to address the non-material aspects of the job and, as later research will show, this can have a devastating effect on the efficiency of the workers.

Critical Review on the Taylorist management approach compared to opposing theorists of that period or later.

Taylorism belongs among the ranks of the classical management styles of the late 1800s, where management had ultimate authority and workers worked very long hours. Taylorism is a rigid management style based on scientific theory to develop a specific set of task related methods. Taylorism is only concerned with production and takes into account no other motivational factor besides money. It is a very narrow approach and does not have the ability to adapt to varying situations. It was based on the idea that the average worker was uneducated. This is a contrast to Fayolism, where he believed that the average person was capable of being trained to be a managerial He believed that management should be promoted from the worker ranks as they would have the best understanding of the task at hand. Fayolism was based on the concept that all workers were capable of being managers. This theory stressed communication between workers and management, that every worker be trained as a manager so that they would be understanding of management decisions and be able to offer new ideas themselves.

Fordism closely resembles Taylorism is several ways. Fordism believed divided tasks into sections and mechanized portions of the assembly. Its key focus was on production and did not consider the human factor. Taylorism and Fordism are similar in their rigidity and lack of flexibility. They both believed in a management hierarchy. Ford was the first to develop this type of assembly line process. Taylor simply refined an idea started by Ford by applying the scientific method and fine tuning the procedure. Fordism and Taylorism are efficient systems for getting a job finished, but both theories lack the ability to thoroughly motivate their employees to achieve higher levels of quality or speed. They could be improved by adding incentive programs which reward employees for good work.

Lillian Gilbreth's primary concern was on time management and the various factors that effect it. Although her subject matter was similar to Taylor's, her findings were quite the opposite and more in depth. Gilbreth realized that there were other motivators besides money to increase worker performance. She also studied the effects that stress had on time management. Taylor was not concerned with the emotional issues involved in management, only in production experiments. Gilbreth relied on the workers to find the best motion and movements to perform a task and rewarded them for doing so. Gilbreth…[continue]

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