Scientific management

Scientific management involves the careful study of a job to determine the best possible procedures for conducting it. The emphasis is on finding the best combination of movements, coupled with equipment, to achieve the highest possible amount of output. It involves the following activities:

  1. Develop a standardized approach for performing a task.

  2. Select workers who have the correct skills to follow the new standardized approach.

  3. Train these workers in the use of the standardized approach.

  4. Eliminate work disruptions so that workers can focus on their assigned tasks.

  5. Provide wage inducements to incentivize higher output levels.

Despite its contributions to corporate efficiency, scientific management suffers from several flaws. Most critically, it does not provide for inputs from workers, assuming instead that an expert is in the best position to create optimal work processes. This makes workers feel unimportant. In addition, the system makes no provision for the higher needs of workers, who might want to advance beyond their current positions. These issues fueled the rise of organized labor. Consequently, scientific management is no longer followed as a discrete discipline, though some aspects of its teachings have continued to the present day, mostly in regard to devising work standards and holding employees to them with variance measurements.

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