Scientific Management | Meaning | Features | Objectives

Scientific Management

Image: Scientific Management

Origin of Scientific Management

Although the origin of the Scientific Management movement is traced to Charles Babbage (1832), the person who popularized the movement and made it acceptable universally is Dr.Frederick Winslow Taylor. Hence, he is regarded as the “Father of Scientific Management“.

Taylor’s Work on Scientific Management

F. W. Taylor believed that the adoption of Scientific methods resting upon clearly defined laws, rules and principles would be the only way to remove all sorts of wastage and the resultant inefficiency. He also claimed that the principles of Scientific Management have universal application i.e., the principles of Scientific Management are not confined to business operations alone. They can be effectively applied with profit to management of homes, churches, universities, Government agencies and all other social institutions. Then, he began to publish papers on Scientific Management educating the basic principles of Scientific Management. He also published a number of books like “Shop Management” and “The principles of Scientific Management” which has attracted worldwide attention.

How Scientific management Movement gained popularity

Soon the movement got immense popularity and Taylor was able to get brilliant supporters like H.S.Pearson, Frank Gilbreth, H.L.Gant, P. Emerson, Kandali, etc. Most of them were close associates of Taylor. They studied the system of Scientific Management from various angles and made valuable contributions to the management theory. Thus, the Scientific Management Movement gained much popularity, it progressed from strength to strength and it is now an universally recognized system.

Scientific Management System worldwide

In U.S.A., the Scientific Movement system developed with greater speed and the American Management Association, founded in 1923, is a preeminent body in Management Science. In U.K., also the system developed to a great extent but its growth in the initial days was slow. But now these doctrines are increasingly applied with greater enthusiasm in almost all the developed countries of the world. The movement is gaining ground even in developing countries like India. At the same time, it must also be remembered that Taylorism has become a subject of much criticism and opposition.

Critics view on Scientific Management

Scientific Management Criticism

Image: Scientific Management Criticism

Many critics are of the view that the Scientific management movement has watered down the importance of the human factor in the management of business concerns. They felt that it is only a device of speeding up the workers to extract more work out of them. In spite of the criticisms, the valuable contributions made by Taylor and his associates for the causes of better management cannot be undermined.

Meaning and Definition of Scientific Management

The term Management can be simply, defined as “getting things done through the help of other people“. But the term Scientific Management cannot lend itself to such a simple definition and it can be defined in a number of ways.

However, it seems to be more appropriate to quote the definition of F.W.Taylor, the Father of the Scientific management Movement. In his words,

Scientific Management is “knowing exactly what you want people to do and knowing that they do in the best and the cheapest way possible“.

According to Taylor, Scientific Management implies the application of two fold techniques. They are the following:

1. The discovery of the best method of performing a particular work under the existing conditions of knowledge and organizing ability.

2. The fruitful method or the best method for meeting a given situation.

Features of Scientific Management

The broad features of scientific management can be outlined as follows:

1. Scientific Management does not involve a single element but a combination of varied elements.

2. It is concerned with a group or joint effort within an organization directed towards a common objective.

3. The group efforts should be made through certain type of organization and procedures.

4. The procedures and organization which form part of it must not be either on casual observation or chance factors.

5. The organization and procedures must be based on laws and principles evolved after a careful investigation and analysis of the work situation.

6. The system must be a dynamic one and not a static one.

Objectives of Scientific Management

The broad objectives of Scientific Management can be outlined as follows:

1. To increase the rate of production with the help of standardized tools, equipment and methods.

2, To improve the quality of production by effective inspection and quality control through scientific research.

3. Systemic planning and regulation of cost control mechanism will Reduce the cost of production.

4. To eradicate waste of time and resources, and to implement effective methods of production.

5. To recruit right person for the job through scientific selection and training which in turn will control employee turnover.

6. Establishing a sound system of wage payment so that efficiency of output is maximum.

7. Ensuring a steady flow of quality goods to the consumers at reasonable prices.

Elements of Scientific Management

The duties of the management clearly reveal the basic elements of scientific management. The various elements can be broadly classified into the following heads;

  1. Scientific determination of the task.
  2. Time and motion studies.
  3. Standardization.
  4. Scientific selection and training of the staff.
  5. Modification of the organization
  6. Mental revolution.

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