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Scientific Management: Most Efficient Way to Perform Tasks

Also called the classical theory of management, scientific management emphasises efficiency above everything else.

Before management theory was a thing, work was about people doing the roles assigned to them, in the best way they could. It was in the 1900s when things changed with the introduction of the scientific management movement (timeline).

Frederick Winslow Taylor birthed the revolutionary concepts that defined how people approach work today. The ideas he proposed were not perfect and drew strong criticism, but they also shaped the work environment and led to elements like teamwork that are integral to the modern workplace.

Taylor's theory promotes efficiency in individual workers for the prosperity of the entire organisation.

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What is Taylor's Scientific Management Theory?

Also called the classical theory of management, scientific management emphasises efficiency above everything else. Taylor once said that the principal aim of management is ‘maximum prosperity for the employer and incorporated with the maximum prosperity for every worker. It's about elevating the whole company.

In the early 1900s, Taylor was working as a mechanical engineer and become interested in enhancing efficiency in workshops. He observed how managers and business owners interacted with the employees.

Taylor theorised that it would be more efficient if the management and staff worked together to achieve the desired objectives.

In 1909, he released a book "The Principles of Scientific Management". that explained how organisations could boost productivity if they simplified and optimised tasks. Taylor applied scientific methods like rationality, observation and analysis to find the best ways to tackle certain activities.

The Basic Tenets

For business owners and managers to grasp the implications of the classical management theory or Taylorism, they must learn its principles. Taylor identified four main elements of management:

• Find the most efficient approach to tasks
• Track how employees carry out their assigned duties
• Match competencies with the right jobs to exploit the full potential of workers
• Leave the planning and training to the management to allow subordinates to work efficiently

How It Applies Today

Although created over a century ago, the Classic Management Theory remains relevant in today's environment. As a business owner or manager, you can use Taylorism to improve worker selection.

One contribution to high employee turnover is getting the wrong people for particular jobs. Even with the right methods of work, your management will fail due to poor employee selection. Businesses can also guarantee an equal division of responsibility when they are clear about who can do what.

A company can maximise efficiency by establishing processes that workers need to follow. The plus side here is that everyone knows what to do in a particular situation. It promotes consistency in tasks and reduces errors. Business process management has a significant role to play in this.

Separating powers between the different ranks in the workplace creates harmony. A team of employees working on a project know who the head is and to whom to report. Workers have a less challenging time communicating and sustaining professional relationships because they comprehend the rules in place.

Importance of the Classical Management Theory

The biggest sell of Taylorism is productivity. It aims to develop individuals of different capacities and skills to their greatest efficiency. It proposes the use of scientific approaches to get businesses where they need to be.

The theory also promotes collaboration between managers and their staff, which is an element that contributed to the growth of teamwork. It also championed employee training and systemic recruiting of workers. All these aspects play key roles in running a successful business.

A major criticism of Taylorism is that it is not worker-friendly. It focuses on productivity and profitability too much that it shortchanges the employee as a creative. However, the flaws of the theory shouldn't take away its achievements. Business owners and managers can get the best lessons of scientific management and make them work for their enterprises.

Combining Studies: Time and Motion Study

Time and motion study is a combination of two studies to create a business efficiency technique.

The two studies are Time Study work by Frederick Taylor with the Motion Study work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who introduced the first method for documenting business process using the business process mapping technique.

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