Principles of Scientific Management Theory

Principles of Scientific Management:

According to Frederick Winslow Taylor, “Scientific Management is the art of knowing exactly what you want your man to do and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way“.

F.W. Taylor propounded the concept of scientific management in the early nineteenth century. The idea in brief was that:

  • Every organization has some well-defined objectives.
  • In achieving these objectives a number of problems may come the way.
  • These problems need to be evaluated first.
  • Then these are to be resolved after discussion of the same with the workers and managers.
  • A number of alternatives to solve the problem, will surface.
  • The alternative, which suggests the best way to solve the problem at minimum cost is to be selected.
  • In exercising the approach stated above, no ‘rule of thumb‘ should be applied.

1. Science Not Rule-of-Thumb:

The then management practice was an application of the “Trial and error” method in case of any problem/decision that would come in the workplace. Without analysing the existing problem, the management attempted to solve it on a trial basis. If that didn’t give a result, they would like to adopt a second alternative. This caused a waste of both money and time. Besides, this process failed to motivate the labourers in accomplishing objectives.

Taylor suggested that this “rule of thumb” should be discarded. The problem is to be discussed with the persons who are actively involved in doing the job – be it labourers or management. The suggestions from both are to be listed. A number of alternatives would then surface. The best alternative which saves both time and money is then to be identified. Finally, this best alternative is to be applied carefully.

2. Prescribe Rules – The Responsibility of Management:

The common management practice, at that time, was to leave the pan to the workers themselves. The management was indifferent to its duties and responsibilities. The desires and whims of management were all that would control the work and workers. Taylor was of the view that it was the duty of the management to prescribe the rules, specify the standards and lay down the methods of work.

This method would help the management in the following ways –

  • In deciding short-term and long-term plans.
  • Rules and procedures to be adopted in doing the job.
  • Specifying standards for the accomplishment of the job.