Scientific Management Managers Are Concerned Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

36). The "differential piece rate" was intended to eliminate this problem, and it meant substituting piece rates for day rates. This led to new problems, for "when the piece rate increased daily earnings, the rates were reduced" (Wrege & Greenwood, 1991, p. 39). Taylor found a way to address this problem, though it took many years to implement the two steps involved:

1) give each workman each day in advance a definite task, with detailed written instructions, and an exact time allowance for each element of the work; and 2) pay extraordinary high wages to those who perform their tasks in the allotted time, and ordinary wages to those who take more than they have been allowed.

The work of Frederick Taylor on scientific management constituted a major phase in public personnel management. Taylor focused his attention on the private sector, but the acceptance of the merit concept and the philosophy of Woodrow Wilson laid the groundwork for the adoption of Taylorism and scientific management in the public sector. The primary agents for this change were bureaus of municipal research, funded by private philanthropy and existing outside the boundaries of government. The basic assumption in the work of these bureaus was that there were no essential differences between the public and private sectors. Position classification is the primary element remaining from scientific management. In the private sector this had been used primarily as an opportunity to develop systems of efficiency ratings and productivity incentives, whereas in the public sector the purpose was equitable compensation. Congress passed the Classification Act in 1923 in response to pressures to standardize wages as well as for greater efficiency in government. During this period, there was an emphasis on specialization that fostered the rise of a number of new professions, and personnel management itself was one of those professions. Personnel work before had been clerical work, but the demands of scientific management were greater (Dresang, 1991, pp. 31-33).

Taylor retired at the age of 45, but he continued to devote time and money to promoting the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies. From 1904 to 1914, Taylor lived in Philadelphia with his wife and adopted children. He was elected president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1906. In that same year, Taylor was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the University of Pennsylvania. Many of his most influential writings first appeared in the Transactions publication of that society, among them "Notes on Belting" (1894), "A Piece-rate System" (1895), "Shop Management" (1903), and "On the Art of Cutting Metals" (1906). Taylor's most influential work, the Principles of Scientific Management, was published commercially in 1911.

Taylor's fame and influence increased after he testified in 1912 at hearings before a special committee of the House of Representatives to investigate his own and other systems of shop management. Taylor considered himself a reformer, and he continued explaining the ideals and principles of his system of management until his death in 1915.

Scientific Management

Early twentieth century industrialists took an engineering approach to management called scientific management. This approach was developed by Frederick Taylor and called for the careful analysis of tasks and time-and-motion studies in conjunction with piece-rate pay schemes in order to improve productivity. Adherents of this approach searched for the "one best way" to perform a specific task, and introduced standard parts and procedures. Taken to the extreme, the scientific management approach finds that there is a single best way to solve a given situation (Klein, Dansereau & Hall, 1994, p. 204). Taylor's concept of scientific management began the development of the empirical foundations for the analysis of employee productivity, and the concept included the consideration of worker attitudes and the effects of such attitudes on productivity, although no direct efforts were made to measure either job satisfaction or the impact of job satisfaction on productivity (Locke, 1969).

Taylor was 25 when he first introduced time study at the Midvale plant. The profession of time study would be founded on the success of this project, which also formed the basis of Taylor's subsequent theories of management science. At the time, Taylor suggested that production efficiency in a shop or factory could be greatly enhanced by close observation of the individual worker and by the elimination of waste time and motion in his operation. The Taylor system has provoked resentment and opposition from labor when carried to extremes, but its value in rationalizing production was indisputable. Its subsequent impact on the development of mass-production techniques has been immense.

Taylor undertook a series of metal-cutting experiments to see how rapidly the job could be accomplished and how it could be improved. At the same time, he began to install what he saw as important methods of controlling the activities of the workmen in the Midvale plant:

As he learned more about the elements important to proper use of machine tools in 1883 and 1884, Taylor began to believe that only by careful preparation and careful inspection of the completed work of workers and keeping track of the time spent on reach task could he gather evidence related to the total cost of his metal-cutting experiments (Wrege & Greenwood, 1991, p. 36).

Taylor saw that these activities were extensions of his job as shop foreman, and he developed "functional foremen" or "subforemen" to administer these activities.

Under Taylor's management system, as developed over the next several years, factories would be managed through scientific methods rather than by use of the empirical "rule of thumb" so widely prevalent in the late nineteenth century. Certain elements have become identified with Taylor's method, among them the following:

Time studies

Standardization of tools and implements

Standardization of work methods

Separate planning function

Instruction cards for workmen

Task allocation and large bonus for successful performance

The use of the 'differential rate'

Mnemonic systems for classifying products and implements routing system

Taylor called these elements "merely the elements or details of the mechanisms of management," and he saw them as extensions of the four principles of management, which are characterized as follows:

2. The scientific selection of the workman

3. The scientific education and development of the workman 4. Intimate and friendly cooperation between the management and the men (Taylor, 1911, p. 130).

And this one best method and best implementation can only be discovered or developed through scientific study and analysis... This involves the gradual substitution of science for "rule of thumb" throughout the mechanical arts (Taylor, 1911, p. 25).

Taylor was specific about what was required for the implementation of scientific management in the organization:

Scientific management requires first, a careful investigation of each of the many modifications of the same implement, developed under rule of thumb; and second, after time and motion study has been made of the speed attainable with each of these implements, that the good points of several of them shall be unified in a single standard implementation, which will enable the workman to work faster and with greater easy than he could before. This one implement, then is the adopted as standard in place of the many different kinds before in use and it remains standard for all workmen to use until superseded by an implement which has been shown, through motion and time study, to be still better (Taylor, 1911, p. 119).

Many believe that Taylor's ideas were first used and still apply mainly to the assembly line, as developed by Henry Ford. In 1913, Ford engineers worked out a moving assembly line which moved the individual parts past each worker, who would then carry out a single step in the operation. This method reduced the time needed to assemble a single vehicle. Ford next created branch assembly plants to increase production even more (Chandler, 1964, pp. 25-26). Henry Ford stated that the assembly line was based on three simple principles: the planned, orderly, and continuous progression of the commodity through the shop; the delivery of work to the workman instead of leaving it to the workman's initiative to find it; and an analysis of operations into their constituent parts. The scientific approach to these principles had already been enunciated by Taylor, and it was from his work that an entirely new discipline?

industrial engineering or scientific management?

emerged, under which the managerial functions of planning and coordination were elevated to a primary position in the productive process. Taylor's contribution leads directly to the assembly lines and moves toward automation taking place today: "He helped instill in us a fierce, unholy obsession with time, order, productivity, and efficiency that marks our age" (Kanigel, 1997, p. 7). According to historian Anson Rabinbach, "no other development…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Scientific Management Managers Are Concerned" (2005, May 23) Retrieved January 23, 2018, from

"Scientific Management Managers Are Concerned" 23 May 2005. Web.23 January. 2018. <>

"Scientific Management Managers Are Concerned", 23 May 2005, Accessed.23 January. 2018,