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Kieren Anderson C3110809

ASSESSMENT ITEM COVER SHEET


Student Name: Kieren Anderson Student Number: c3110809 Email: c3110809@uon.edu.au Course Code: IRHR-1001 Course Title: Managing the Organisation Campus of Study: Callaghan Assessment Item Title: Essay Due Date/Time: 8th of May, 2011 at 11.59pm Lecturer Name: John Dugas

Kieren Anderson C3110809

1. Briefly explain the main conclusions that can be drawn from Taylors theory of Scientific Management and critically evaluate the implications for contemporary management practice
Frederick Taylor is recognised for making some of the most important contributions to management, his most prominent being his theory of scientific management. It is the foundations of this theory that have caused great change in the way that business was conducted during the last century and how contemporary business today performs and operates on a day-to-day basis. Taylors theory of scientific management cultivated a new ideology in regards to the convention of management allowing for greater efficiency in production. This theory created in increased sense of professionalism demonstrated not only by workers but also in management. It was such examples that saw efficiency increase showing that Taylors thoughts were revolutionary for his time. Many businesses still use the foundations of scientific management to increase productivity and profit. However, aspects of businesses have become less applicable to the scientific management theory and it is through a combination of other management ideologies along with Taylorism that businesses are operating by today.

Taylor tested his hypothesis on a pig steel organisation called Bethlehem Iron in 1899 implementing his management ideas and studying the employees developed four principles of scientific management. The four principles focused on the need for cooperation and collaboration between management and the worker as it did on the importance of developing the workers technical skill (Hodgets & Geenwood, 1995). Taylors principles of scientific management the new duties of a manager are as follows. First, they develop a science for each element of a mans work, Second, they scientifically select and then train, teach and develop the workman Third, they heartily cooperate with the men so as to insure all of the work being done in accordance with the principles of science which has been developed. Fourth, there is an almost equal division of work and responsibility between the management and the work. The management take over all the work for which they are better fitted then the workmen (Hodgets & Geenwood, 1995). According to Witzel (2005) Taylor strongly believed that Scientifically managed workplaces would be more attractive to workers, not only for their higher wages but for the security they

Kieren Anderson C3110809

offered. At the time this was a convincing argument as the industrial industry was undergoing rapid expansion and the workforce was satisfied to have secure employment. However contemporary expectation of society is a solid mix of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for the purpose of benefiting their work-life balance and their individual well-being and in particular their social well being (Wood et. Al 2010) Frederick W. Taylors Theory of scientific management was published in 1911 establishing principles designed to manage an organisation which sought to increase worker productivity and profitability. Taylor sought to achieve this by paying workers according to productivity while at the same time improving working conditions to achieve maximum productivity possible (Witzel, 2005). The theory continued to be developed throughout the United States reaching the point where ideas of scientific management were spreading across America like ripples on a pond (Witzel, 2005). As a result of this ripple effect Taylor showed that efficiency had been improved at virtually every stage of the production process. (Witzel,
2005).

However some problems emerged as a result of the radical changes in the work

environment. Witzel (2005) shows a prime example of this where workers became suspicious and believed that management was using this new structure to increase productivity without a corresponding increase in pay. Other criticisms emerged about Taylors method and continue to emerge today. As the level of power managers held increased the chance for corruption did also, forcing workers to achieve unreachable goals resulting in workers sabotaging the system. Witzel, (2005) warned Greedy employers or immoral workers could soon bring the system to chaos. Still Taylor believed that management knew more about the jobs being performed than the workers did (Davidson & Griffin, 2003). He went on to adopt the assumption that economic gain was everyones primary motivation (Davidson & Griffin, 2003). Taylor continued to impress the market by describing the apparent use of scientific methods to reduce costs and create prosperity for the workforce. (Wrege & Hodgetts, 2000). Taylors Observations in 1899 of Pig Iron Observations revealed that there was primary goal which has remained unchanged for over a century, the reduction of costs. It is a proven fact that this is still a dominant goal involved in contemporary management practices new methods must be continually introduced if organisations management hope to increase their productivity levels. (Wrege & Hodgetts, 2000). Although money is a proven motivational tool Taylor failed to consider other motivational factors and as a result took too narrow of a view that the role of money would play.

Kieren Anderson C3110809

The influence of the Scientific Management Theory as a 1911 piece of work is still in effect today spanning over time and place. Whats unique about the theory is that what is relevant in Australia is also relevant around the world. Taylors universal ideology has lasted for over a century. Although the Taylors design originated in the industry of factory production departments, the concept of separating planning from execution was universal in nature and hence, had potential application to other areas. (Sandrome, 1997). This statement is demonstrated in how even though organisations may not be the same structure as the factory for Taylors original application, organisations can still use elements of his work to adapt and improve upon the management systems in other fields of industy.

The Scientific Management theory sought motivation and fulfilment in order to reach a level of ideal efficiency through the form of piece rate pay. The problem with this method was that many workers that were mentally capable could not physically reach their quota and as a result leaving them at a disadvantage in the workforce. Halpern, Osofsky & Perskin (1989) give evidence towards the fact that if workers are given opportunity to raise suggestions they work harder with a desire to implement them and ensuring there ongoing success. Contemporary industry has seen a rise in employee empowerment seen by Witzel as the belief that employees have begun to seek fulfilment rather than money. With this belief there has been a large implementation of Human Resources. These two events have caused the gap between management and workers to grow smaller and smaller over the years. As a result the there has been a trend for contemporary business to remove traditional hierarchical structure in preference of flatter organisational structures with a strong focus on work teams. As stated by Taylor the principal object of management should be to secure maximum prosperity for the employer. (Taylor, 1911). Maximum prosperity for each employee is the result of the structural changes to contemporary management. By creating and empowering effective work groups and teams management has created a social network, reducing workplace competiveness and greatly increasing productivity. Halpern, Osofsky & Perskin (1989) present that this outcome was fundamental to Taylors Scientific Management theory. Taylors theory of Scientific Management has shown how concepts conceived and cultivated over a century age are still in practice in todays society. Nonetheless management is always undergoing change and as a result how we view and practice these foundations is highly important. The main conclusion to be drawn from Taylors Scientific Management theory is the impact it has had on both efficiency and productivity which has not only been positive for 4

Kieren Anderson C3110809

industries but for society as a whole. Regardless of the positive effects this theory has had there was also a negative for the original approach of the theory can lead to a decline in motivation, morale and product quality. However contemporary management has solved these problems by re-innovating the work place to suite the ever changing work environment in order to achieve maximum prosperity. The world has seen many great changes over the last century and as technology, politics and social ideologies continue to evolve and develop in the workplace Taylors theory is still a foundation for how contemporary management operates today.

Kieren Anderson C3110809

References
Davidson, P, Griffin, R, 2003, Management An Australian Perspective, 2nd Edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, Milton Qld Halpern, D, Osofsky, S & Perskin, M.I, 1989, Taylorism Revisited and Revised for the 1990s, Industrial Management, Vol. 31, No. 1, P. 20, ABI/INFORM Global Hodgetts, R & Greenwood, R, Frederick Taylor: Alive and well and ready for the 21st Century, Academy of Management Journal, Pg 218, ABI/INFORM Global Taylor, F.W, 1911,The Principles of Scientific Management, viewed 3rd May 2011 <http://maine.gov/dhhs/btc/articles/taylor-principles-scientific-management.pdf> Sandrome, V, F.W Taylor & Scientific Management Viewed 3rd May 2011 <http://skymark.com/resources/leaders/taylor.asp> Witzel, M, 2005, Where Scientific Management Went Awry, European Business Forum, Vol. 21, Pg.89, ABI/INFORM Global Wood, J, Zeffane, R, Fromholtz, M, Wiesner, R, Creed, A, Schermerhorn, J, Hunt, J, Osborn, R, 2010, Organisational Behaviour: Core Concepts and Applications, 2nd Edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, Milton Qld Wrege, C & Hodgetts, M, Frederick W. Taylors 1899 Pig Iron Operations: Examining Fact, Fiction and Lessons for the New Millennium, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 43, Iss. 6, Pg. 1283, ABI/INFORM Global