Principles and techniques of Scientific Management

Meaning of Scientific Management

The literary meaning of scientific management is performing the work of management in a scientific manner. In other words, discarding the traditional approaches to management and adopting newer and more scientific approaches in their place is called scientific management. Taylor has said that before commencing any work, a manner should first analyse it throughly, and only then take any decision.



Definitions of Scientific Management

Various experts has given many different definitions of scientific management. A few of the important definitions are:

(1) According to F.W. Taylor, "Scientific management is the act of knowing exactly what you want men to do and then seeing to it that they do it it in the best and cheapest way."

(2) According to Peter F. Drucker, "The core of scientific management is the organised study of work, the analysis of work into the simplest elements and the systematic improvement of the workers' performance of each element." 

Based on the above discussion, it can be said that scientific management involves studying each activity in deail and in doing so ensure that all the activities of the organisation are accomplished in an economic and effective manner.

Features of Scientific Management

Based upon the above definitions, the following are the main characteristics of scientific management:

(1) Systematic Approach: Scientific management is a systematic approach to management and its use ensures that all activities are completed in a systematic and scientific manner.

(2) Brings complete Mental Change: Scientific management brings about a complete mental change both in the owners as well as the employees of the organisation. Both the parties start aiming for more and better production targets rather than merely chasing higher profits.

(3) Discards Traditional Management: The approach of scientific management completely discards traditional management. It calls for the discarding of old techniques and adoption of new and modern techniques, with the aim of improving the efficiency of employees. This is nothing but the outcome of complete change in attitude.

(4) Requires Strict Observance of Rules: Scientific management requires very strict observance of rules, because the rules are formed only after due analysis and there is very little chance of error in them. Unless the rules are followed strictly the scientific tinge given to management may fade away making it no different from the traditional management.

(5) Improves the Efficiency of Workers: The main aim of scientific management is to increase the efficiency of workers. This is done through conducting various kinds of studies such as time study, motion study and fatigue study.

 The scientific management approach propounded by F.W.Taylor is based upon the following four principles:

Scientific Management

It refers to that management which thinks that by scientifically analysing work, It would be possible to find 'one best way' to do it.
(1) Science, Not Rule of Thumb: This principle says that we should not get stuck in a set routine with the old techniques of doing work, rather we should be constantly experimenting to develop new techniques which make the work much simplier,easier and quicker.

(2) Harmony, Not Discord:  
1/ The principle emphasises that there should be complete harmony between the management and the workers.
2/ This requires 'Mental revolution' on the part of both management and workers. Both management and the workers should transform their thinking.
3/ Management should share gains of the company if any with the workers and workers should work hard and be willing to embrace change for the good of the company.

(3) Cooperation, Not Individualism:  According to this principle, all the activities done by different people must be carried on with a spirit of mutual cooperation. Taylor has suggested that the manager and the workers should jointly determine standards. This increases involvement and thus, in turn, increases responsibility.

(4) Development and Each and Every Person to His or Her Greatest Efficiency and Prosperity: 
1/ This principle is concerned with efficiency of employees which could be built in right from the process of employee selection.

2/ The work assigned to employees should suit their capabilities. They should be given the required training to increase their efficiency.

3/ Efficient employees would produce more and earn more. This will ensure their greatest efficiency and prosperity for both the company and the workers. 

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