The Application of Scientific Management in Today’s Organisations

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The Application of Scientific Management in Today’s Organisations


“The principle object of management should be to secure maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for the employee…” (Taylor, 1911, p.9)

With those evocative words, Frederick W. Taylor had begun his highly influential book; “The Principles of Scientific Management” indicating his view regarding management practices. As one of the most influential management theorists, Taylor is widely acclaimed as the ‘father of scientific management’. Taylor had sought “the ‘one best way’ for a job to be done” (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter, 2003, p.39). Northcraft and Neale (1990, p.41) state that “Scientific management took its
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University, for training purposes.

Next is the task aspect, which means “the work of every workman is fully planned out by the management…and each man receives…complete written instructions” (Freeman, 1996, p.35). This aspect is also fully consistent with the practice of McDonald’s where employees “have virtually no discretion regarding how to prepare and serve any item of food” (Levitt, 1972; Draft, 1986, cited in Bergman, 2004, p.22).

The next technique of individualized work, is based on Taylor’s conviction that personal ambition would supersede the desire for general welfare as an incentive to exertion (Whyte, 1969, p.5). This is almost in complete contradiction with businesses like McDonald’s, where the focus is on teamwork.

Then, taking a look at the technique of scientific selection, various research conducted has confirmed the importance of scientific assessment of prospective employees. But while fast-food outlets would utilise some formal system, it is extremely unlikely that highly complex forms of scientific selection would be used, given the simplified nature of the jobs. This enables the conclusion that this technique is not broadly utilised in those outlets.

And the last but certainly not the least is money bonus. Money is an all-time favourite form of incentive, with various monetary incentive schemes in existence. Organisations, such as Burger King vows to
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