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The Scientific Management Theory of Frederick Winslow Taylor

Updated on April 11, 2011
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Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.

           The evolution of organization and management follows the conception of the classical school, then developed later into a more humane approach in dealing organizational productivity based on the Hawthorne experiment which followed the numerous theories’ in the neo-classical approach. It is further intertwined by the systems approach of the modern school. However, it seems that in contemporary time the scientific management theory of Frederick Taylor is still utilized as the by-product of management development. The practice of human relations serves as the organizational motivator to provide the productivity of workesr in conventional way to promote higher output in business and industry.

          The scientific management theory was first introduced by Frederick W. Taylor in respond to the scientific investigation about the productivity of the workers in the factory. However, the scientific management was evaluated in rude manner as they needed to analyze the time movement on a series of job tasks confined by the workers which was the basis of compensation. The basis organizational productivity may come into play along the compensation and performance output of workers. Let us take the scientific management theory of Frederick W. Taylor who advocated the scientific management theory based on the four basic principles on the: (1) science of management by replacing the rule-of-thumb work methods; (2) pro-active way to scientifically select workers; (3) scientific education and development through the detailed instructional supervision on a given task; and (4) cooperate to the workers to ensure their willingness to work.

         The “time-and motion studies” provides us an interesting scientific presentation as to the effectiveness of shovel from a number of experiment weights as to optimize the physical movement and weight load. It was found out that the shovel effectiveness as to it accurate weight was 21 pounds to optimize the weight and movement.

          The long run production line still has to include the labor–intensive process of the producing the product. They had specialization and division of work as the increase of scales of production was introduced to have mass production of the products. So the management thought appeared in response to the concept of differential rate system was introduced. This would give the productive workers higher pay as the performance was evaluated from the output produce in specialized work.

          The simple illustration presented in this scientific management was the time consumed by shoveling ore; carrying load; finishing the product; and other physical work produced by the confined specialized jobs. So the job description requires speed , endurance on the time-bounded work of 8 hours multiplied by the number of days. So let us take an example on the differential rate system. Supposing in given work function on the unit of goods is computed to $ 8.00 for the monetary value. How can we now determine the difference of work pay from a given work specialization? Let us now take this given number of output produced by the 4 workers with a monetary rate of $ 8.00.

Workers                                                                                                                                 Number of Output                                                                                                                         Produced Monetary

Per Month                     (Units of goods)               Value($8/ Unit)

        A                                   180                                  1,440

        B                                   200                                  1,600

        C                                   300                                   2,400

       D                                   400                                    3,200

          The workers have produced the number of outputs from 180 to 400 units of goods. The lowest is 180 units of goods produced the monetary value of compensation to $ 1,440 for a month. While the highest number of unit of outputs is 400 with monetary value of $3,200 for a month. Based on this illustration, the differential rate system produces better result in the productive enhancement of workers. The monetary value is measured by the number of units being produced for the market.

          In contemporary time, the scientific management theory on organizational productivity may have the same approach based on the idea of Frederick W. Taylor. The employees’ performance in labor and capital intensive investment still requires the organizational efficiency and effectiveness of the mechanical tool and location of facilities, the movement of workers and number of workforce, division of work and other human variables.

           Take note that manufacturing, construction and other labor intensive industries may still need the scientific management approach in dealing organizational productivity. The mental and physical alertness and innovations to do the job provide better outputs. However, the evolutionary pattern in the management thoughts of the neo-classical and modern schools through the human relations approach may provide organizational productivity as proven by the Elton Mayo experiment. It seems that at the end of the day corporation and business firm is more concern on the everyday operation to produce more outcomes in the long run production. The product orientation as to the quality and price has been the main ingredient as to the competitiveness of the product. Therefore, the human relation approach serves as the organizational motivator to provide physical and mental quickness to do the job as conformed with the Scientific Management Theory of  Frederick Taylor.


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    • WoW Guide Master profile image

      WoW Guide Master 

      5 years ago


      I am going to refer to your hub in my own, which is an analysis in the use of Scientific management, as opposed to a description of the theroy, which my hub lacks. Perhaps you would like to read it and refer back to mine if you feel it is appropriate. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Nkemju Rosevelt 

      6 years ago

      A good summary


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