Taylor’s Principles of Management

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Introduction to Taylor’s Principles of Management

Scientific management refers to an important stream of one of the earliest school of thought of management referred to as the ‘Classical’ school.

Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He was one of the first management consultants.

In 1911, Taylor wrote up his efficiency techniques in his book The Principles of Scientific Management, which acted as a source for mangers ro study about increasing efficiency on the ground level. Taylor became famous through his work. Taylor was also an athlete who competed nationally in tennis.

Taylor emerged as the ‘Father of Scientific Management’ . He proposed scientific management as opposed to rule of thumb. It implies conducting business activities pertaining to best methods and trained personnel in order to increase the output, and reduce costs and wastage, that may result in optimum utilisation of resources. Scientific management means knowing exactly what you want workforce to do and seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way.




Principles of Management

The scientific principles are listed as below:

Science not rule of thumb

Taylor introduced the scientifc techniques in application of principles of management. Different managers would follow their set rule of thumb, but all managers would not be equally effective in that case.  Taylor advocated that there is only one best way of doing a particular task.  This one best method should be devised through experimentation and analysis. He said that even the smallest task in the organisation can be planned and then accomplished. For example, if all the classrooms of a school are to be cleaned every morning, it could also be done in one best ways. This will help in reducing wastage and increasing productivity. For past 2 decades,  use of internet has grown and is relating in gains to several business organisations.

Harmony, not discord

The first and foremost task of the managers is to get work done through and with the employees. They bridge up the gap between owners of an organisation and it’s employees. There need to exist complete harmony between the managers and employees. Any kind of misunderstanding may lead to unhealthy environment in the organization. Both the managers and employees should realise the importance of being together with each other. Taylor here calls for the need of mental revolution wherein both management and workers should change their ill preconceived notions about the other and replace it with coorpertaion for one another. In this case, neither workers will become dissatisfied nor the management will have any complaints so as to working of the employees. Management should be ready to share the profits of the organisation with the ones who are keen to work for the organisation. Japanese companies follow paternalistic style of management where they treat the employees of the organisation as the children and cater to their needs along with correcting their mistakes where required.

This harmony will also develop informal atmosphere in the organisation where both management will be able to understand each other in a better way.




Cooperation, not individualism

It should be ensured that there is complete cooperation between the labour and the management instead of individualism. This principle is an extension of ‘Harmony, not discord’ principle. Competition should be replaced by cooperation. Management should not close it’s ears to any constructive suggestions made by the employees instead should be rewarded for suggestions which results in substantial reduction in costs. Workers should also resist from going on unreasonable strike and making demands on the management. Paternalistic style of management, whereby employee takes care of the needs of employees. There should be an equal division of work and responsibility between workers and management.

Management should work with employees day by day encouraging them to engage their work productivity.  They may also be rewarded for valuable suggestions provided for them.

Development of each and every person to his or her greatest efficiency and prosperity

Overall industrial efficiency of the organization is the addend of individual competencies of the managers and the employees. One of the crucial aspect of scientific management is worker training wherein a chance is given to the employees to improve their individual productivity and contribute the best to the output of the organisation. It is believed that each and every person has the potential, it has to be brought out through his development so that he works to the best of his capability. This will ensure prosperity and growth of the organization.

Now let’s focus on techniques of scientific management. Some major techniques are as follows:




Techniques of Scientific Management

Functional Foremanship

Taylor proposed that planning and execution functions should be separated in an organisation.  Functional foremanship is a technique given by Taylor which is framed keeping in mind the principle of division of work and specialisation on the ground level. There must be a functional expert leading the department who would supervise and give orders to the workers. Foremen should have all the essential traits such as intelligence,  honesty,  enthusiasm etc. Every person would be specialized in one aspect of the work and has to take orders from all right foremen in process of planning and production.

The planning department would consist of the following people:

  1. Instructional card clerk who would draft instructions for the worker.
  2. Route clerk to specify the route of production.
  3. Time and cost clerk to prepare time and cost sheet.
  4. Discipline area would ensure that discipline is being maintained in the organisation.

The production department would consist of the following people:

  1. Speed boss to ensure timely completion of the task and the pace at which it should progress.
  2. Gang Boss to keep the machines ready for the workers.
  3. Repair Boss to ensure the proper working on the machine and ensure all the repair work to be done in time, if required.
  4. Inspector to control the quality of the work done and maintain the output according to the standards.

Standardisation and Simplification of work

Standardisation of work refers to the process of setting standards of every industrial activity to maximise output. Scientific management calls for standardisation of methods, processes, product, machinery, raw materials etc so as to ensure consistency.

The objectives of standardisation are as follows:

(i) To reduce given line of product to standardized set of characteristics.

(ii) To establish standards of improvement and high quality in material.

(iii) To establish standards of performance of workers and machines.

Simplification involves elimination of unnecessary diversification of products related to size and varieties, as more variations in product line mean high inventory and higher labour cost etc. By simplifying the task, there will be economy in use of machines, labour, inventory maintenance, etc. It will also help in improving the product quality and availability and reduction of cost. The management must carry out work study to standardise and simplify work in order to increase efficiency. For standardising the work, work study can be done through techniques like method study, motion study, time study and fatigue study. This will also help in optimum utilisation of resources.

Method Study

The objective of method study is to find the one best way of doing the job. There are several parameters to decide the same. From procurement of raw materials till the development of finished product , every activity is a part of method study. Taylor decided the concept of assembly line by using method study. The sole objective is to minimise cost of production and maximise efficiency, quality of the same. Many techniques like process charts and operations research etc are used.

Motion Study

Motion study can be termed as a science of eliminating unnecessary movements so that the task fest completed in less time . The aim of motion study is to study various recurring movements that are part and parcel of working of the organisation and devise a better way to do them. The study of movements like lifting ,putting object, sitting and changing positions etc. which are undertaken while doing a particular job. It is possible to find out motions which are productive ,incidental and unproductive. Taylor use stopwatches and various symbols and signs, colours to identify different motions. He was able to design suitable equipment and tools to educate workers on their use.




Time Study

One of the important techniques of scientific management is time study. It is helpful in many ways such as to determine the standard time taken to peeform a particular task.  If time standards are set, employees are expected to complete their jobs within that given time.  It also help to set performance appraisal criteria. The comparison of production with time will let the managers estimate rate of productivity. Time can also become a criteria to pay wages to the workers. It is an essential component so as to contribute to effectiveness of operations in an organization.

Fatigue Study

A human body gets energy from the food it intakes. Therefore, with time a person may feel tired both physically and mentally and may require rest internals to revive his energy and contribute to the output. This will engage productivity per worker. Therefore, such a time table should be framed by the managers which includes some breaks where workers can take rest and regain their capacity to work again with the same zeal. It can be caused due to long working hours,  heavy machine work etc. and such hindrances should be removed so that they do not affect the productivity.

Differential Piece Wage System

Differential Piece Wage System, introduced by Taylor, the father of scientific management is one of the most debatable technique of scientific management.

He wanted to differentiate between efficient and inefficient workers. He advocated setting of a standard time to complete a job or an assignment and providing wages on the basis of the performance of workers.  He introduced this technique and advocated in its favour to promote healthy competition among workers.

For example: If the standard output per worker is set to be 50 per day, now an efficient worker who produces 51 pieces is entitled to rs. 11 wage per piece and one who produces 49 pieces will get only rs. 9 wage per piece. This differential piece wage system he said will encourage workers to produce more in lesser time. So,  as a result rather than diverting their attention to other aspects,  workers will try to increase the output produced by them.

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