What are the 4 Principles of Scientific Management? scientific management was introduced during the peak of industrial growth and the paradigm shift in the workforce from agricultural to industrial production. It was very influential at the time and it eventually led to major increases in productivity and continues to influence management theory to this day.
Scientific management theory was developed by Frederick Taylor and the first publication was in the year 1911. Taylor was born in Philadelphia into a wealthy Quaker family and he received a good education, he trained as an engineer and began his career in the steel industry, and later rose to a senior engineering position.
Taylor’s work draws on the many studies of time and the labor movement that he undertook while working in the steel industry. His interest was mainly in what made a task more or less efficient and timely and breaks down manual labor tasks into component parts. He focused on what was completed in seconds and minutes, not what was completed in an entire shift.
In particular, scientific management was a reaction to a phenomenon among workers who came to be referred to as “soldering” which was seen as a motivational issue, with workers deliberately working below their capacity.
Taylor believed this would result in three possible outcomes: workers’ belief that should they work harder, fewer workers would be needed and some of them would be retired from their jobs; a non-incentive payment plan that paid workers equally irrespective of performance; and workers who rely on guesswork to get their job done rather than following stated procedure or routines.
Taylor suggested that management measure productivity scientifically, develop optimal methods for increasing productivity, and set high goals for employees to achieve. This is different from simply providing workers with incentives, such as higher wages or salary increases, to increase productivity, but leaving workers to figure out for themselves how to achieve them.
The four scientific principles of management according to Taylor are the following;
Replacement of Old Rule of Thumb Method
This means management decisions should be based on scientific research and not based on opinion, intuition, or rules of thumb. The principle of using science, as a rule, is the starting point that distinguishes scientific management from traditional management as we know it.
In scientific management, decisions are made based on actions developed by applying the scientific method to the problem at hand. This is in contrast to traditional management approaches, where decisions are based on opinions, prejudices, or rules of thumb. Therefore, replacing rules or opinions with a scientific approach was one of Taylor’s main contributions to the field of management.
Creating A Harmonious Work Environment, Free of Discord
According to this principle, there is a need to create a harmonious work atmosphere in the organization and management to consider one another as irreplaceable. There must be deliberate policies that promote cooperation between workers and management. However, for this to be realized, there is a need for a change in mental attitude between workers and management. Taylor considered such a change as a “mental revolution” which he believed its emergence eventually would end all conflicts between the two sides and ultimately be of benefit to both.
Equal Division of Responsibility
There should be an equal division of accountability between managers and subordinates which entails that management should not shy away from taking responsibility for the work they are best suited for. For example, management should decide on work methods, working conditions, time schedule, and many more other things related to work, rather than always delegating the responsibility to their subordinates.
Developing Each and Every Person to His to Her Greatest Efficiency
This principle is concerned with the efficiency of each person being maintained according to his or her preference. There must be proper training for everyone associated with the organization. Care should also be taken to ensure that each individual works according to their abilities and interests. This caring attitude will create a sense of enthusiasm as well as a sense of belonging to employees.
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