Lessons Learned: What is scientific management?

Posted by Jon Gatrell October 21, 2007 As part of the ongoing, let’s ensure the basics are in line, here is an overview from wikipedia on Scientific Management: Scientific management, also called Taylorism or the Classical Perspective, is a method in management theory that determines changes to improve labour productivity. The idea was first coined by Frederick Winslow Taylor in The Principles of Scientific Management. Taylor believed that decisions based upon tradition and rules of thumb should be replaced by precise procedures developed after careful study of an individual at work. In management literature today, the greatest use of the concept of Taylorism is as a contrast to a new, improved way of doing business.

General approach
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Select workers with appropriate abilities for each job. Training for standard task. Planning work and eliminating interruptions. Wage incentive for increase output Standard method for performing each job.

Contributions
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Scientific approach to business management and process improvement Importance of compensation for performance Began the careful study of tasks and jobs Importance of selection and training

Elements
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Labour is defined and authority/responsibility is legitimized/official Positions placed in hierarchy and under authority of higher level Selection is based upon technical competence, training or experience Actions and decisions are recorded to allow continuity and memory Management is different from ownership of the organization Managers follow rules/procedures to enable reliable/predictable behaviour