Palla and Billy (2018, p.459-462) note that Taylor’s book, ‘Principles of Scientific Management’ was “perhaps the first attempt to apply scientific principles to organizational processes as well as management,” but that now, “Taylorism is of more historical than contemporary relevance.”
Analyse and evaluate this perspective using both academic (e.g. journals and textbooks) and practitioner (e.g. case studies and industry publications) material to support your assertions.
Human beings are executing business for hundreds of decades without formal management. But a renowned personality who emerged on the global horizons at the flinch of the twentieth century and left significant management developments in the form of scientific management theory. FW Taylor published principles of scientific management, and the global business community applied them to their organizations. Due to its apex significance, he transformed scientific management theory into a global movement. This theory’s main concerns and focus were to discipline the job, boost performance and enhance productivity (Merkle, 2018). The management aspects adopted the scientific method in analyzing, executing, monitoring and evaluating the organizational processes. However, over time the organizational trends incline to more precise and progressive ways leaving Taylorism as a past entity. According to Taylor, employees’ motivation should have an ultimate focus on monetary gains. In other words, scientific management theory suggests performance-based fixed pay to employees. In addition, the techniques and task performance should abide by the scientific method. This essay is the manifestation of the significance of Taylor’s work according to the observation of Palla and Billy (2018). In addition, it will critically analyze their observation by proving the fact that in the past, its significance was multifarious, but in the contemporary world, Taylorism has no relevance to pace with modern affairs. Such non-relevance may revolve around the facts like tensions concerning trade unions in the context of management tact’s, mechanical approach, the uprising of unemployment, non-priority of labour masses, forfeiture of initiatives, undemocratic nature of management, overproduction and monotony fabrication, etc.
Significance of Scientific Management:
Undoubtedly, the significance of scientific management had a direct impact and correlation when one analyses the historical aspect of the industrial revolution. Before the industrial revolution, small-scale businesses prevailed in the vicinities of the whole world. However, with the up righting of large-scale business units, business management was the top-ranking tension among business individuals. The workplace administration, supervision and controlling of labour in relation to managerial slots were the core issues that needed an immediate solution. The scientific management theory by Taylor has solved these core issues with some aspects that tremendously changed the business masses (Chen & Hitt, 2021). It was just like a situation grabbing someone from a deep ditch. So, the book published by Taylor, ‘Principles of Scientific Management’ has revolutionized the organizational and management process. It was the first time in history when management was treated scientifically, and related problems were provided solutions based on scientific methods. Vacuous aspects of the significance of scientific management are manifested here.
The Approach of ‘Most Excellence’:
In the context of management, the ways to conduct a job and execute related duties, the principle of most excellent, was discovered on a scientific basis. It was a significant deviation from the conventional ways to achieve high stats in each aspect of the business. Most probably, the then-practiced ‘rule of thumb’ principle was transformed into the excellence achievement principle. The main focus in this way was laid down on task methods which used to engage the worker’s slot in duties and work. Hence, the excellence adorned with a work-oriented approach was a keen driver in the context of scientific management theory in the past.
Skillful Worker Approach:
For each specific job, a specific set of skills was devised scientifically, and a worker slot concerning any specific task needed to be skilled in the respective set (Zhu et al., 2018). Such an approach significantly increased the productivity of the respective firms or business units. In other words, the workforce was skilled even with the training phenomenon at that time.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
The scientific management theory was the first devised for monitoring business and evaluating overall performance on a scientific basis. After evaluation, the respective quarters deficient in specific and required skill sets were suggested fulfilment on priority, even devising proper training. These training opportunities and rectification of deficiencies increased the efficiency manifold.
Division of Labour:
On a scientific basis, there was devised and executed division of labour concerning management and workers. In this way, the task performance planning, execution of planning, and workers’ capacity building are aligned to perform particular duties.
By analyzing deeply, it is clear that the scientific management theory had lasting impeccable impacts on the world of management and business. Economic efficiency and monetary achievement were the top priority of business firms around the globe. Massive goods production in the context of progress and development standards had streamlined the benefits of business owners as the top priority. So, the words of Palla and Billy (2018, p.459-462) are valid that Taylor’s book was the first attempt to apply scientific methods to management and organizational aspects. In other words, it has revolutionized the world in past times, even for decades. However, the contemporary world has advanced, and very different dimensions compared to the early twentieth century. So, a deep analysis is mandatory to establish the factually based presentation that, in modern times, Taylorism has no relevance concerning the attributes and challenges of current global scenarios.
Taylorism Bears no Relevance with Contemporary World:
Undoubtedly, scientific management by Taylor provided innumerable virtues and intrinsic worth to revolutionize the world of management in the past. But with the evolution of society and human capital around the globe, the challenges of the modern world have increased manifold. Besides the increased quantity, these challenges and defies have transformed into multiple directions and ways which did not exist in the past.
Mechanical Approach Has no Place in the Modern World:
Taylorism mainly focuses on reducing the workers from the respective firm, and in place of these vacant options, machines are used, neglecting the thinking aspect of workers. In addition, work methods are standardized according to a scientific basis, forcing the human capital to repeat similar tasks again. In this way, the thinking and execution of planning under the dome of human wisdom become impractical, leading to mechanical approach enhancement (Parker & Jeacle, 2019). Such a mechanical approach has no place in the modern world as current society believes in human preferences instead of mechanical rules. In addition, the worker’s interest in repetitive work diminished to a considerable extent.
Over Productivity & Enrichment of Unemployment:
Excessive machine adoption, especially labor-saving devices, has resulted in high levelled unemployment. Such adoption has manifested lesser cost production compared to labour wages and, eventually, outburst high production of firms in the long run (Palanisami et al., 2021). However, the producers have an option in the modern world to supply such overproduction at low rates to the public to enhance customer stats. In other words, it is just like a troika of business and capitalistic classes in which they reduce costs and increase cheap production. By replacing humans with machines, unemployment is increased, and finally, the human capital goes to laps of capital class in the form of customers. In all these aspects, the disadvantage lies on the part of the human masses while the minor capital class takes all the benefits. It is vividly against the equity, equality and fair play notions of the modern world. So Taylorism in this context is non-relevant to the modern world.
Weaker Trade Unions and Exploitation of Worker Slots:
According to the scientific management concept, the respective rules & regulations, fixation of pay, determination of working hours, and facilities for the human capital are solely decided by a few persons at management crux. In this context, the high production, monetary benefits, and high performance of firms are the core variables for policymakers. Other than that, the welfare of workers, collaborative bargaining on the part of unions for workers’ rights and even the formation of unions are poorly discouraged. Taylorism ensures direct and strict control of the workers’ class under the management and does not allow any desire for freedom in this context. In this scenario, it is high levelled exploitation of the workers’ community. However, the modern world does not adorn with such a strict and freedom-less phase of society and life. So Taylorism has no applications in this aspect in this modern world.
Hurtling up of Workers and Lacking Initiative Approach:
By adopting a scientific management approach, the usage of human thinking and wisdom to take crucial decisions and adopt an initiative approach diminishes over time. For high monetary benefits, repetitive performance mainly focuses on speeding up labour just like machines (Jenkins & Delbridge, 2013). In this way, the initiative-taking ability gets rusted over time. Such a routine may enhance psychological issues among workers in the context of overburden, extra repetitive work hours, absence of newness in the work and indulgence of inhuman resources to chaos. All these lingering aspects of Taylorism on the part of human workers are the top priority of modern human society to establish human dignity over tools and equipment. In the absence of these values concerned with human life, the rights of human beings are shallow. So to establish the modern world on enduring values, Taylorism must be discarded.
Non-Democratic Fabric of Taylorism:
The contemporary world has evolved from a colonial and imperial world to a modern, accessible, and democratic world. The freedom of individuals and nations has deep roots in democracy (Takayama, 2018). So any system or theory that needs to cope with the modern world, Taylorism does not adorn with and allow democratic values and norms regarding its practice in the organizations. On the other hand, in the mode of execution of functions, the bosses have the autocratic mode. The high and strict levelled control and command are mandatory to adopt Taylorism as workers slot has the foremost duty of obeying each and every order irrespective of using the freedom capacity they have. However, the modern world has the base foundations of democratic culture and values. So, such an ism is not relevant to present times.
Prevailed Unhappiness among Employer Community:
It is pertinent to observe that employers of the modern world need less financial burden in context to maintain business in high progress. But scientific management requires high-quality standardized equipment, mechanical support, tools and materials. Such an acquisition needs ample funds, especially as part of the capital amount. In addition, executing such tools and equipment requires a lot of time. In the following years, time and funds are also needed for maintenance. The modern world needs to save both time and funds to a maximum extent. In this context, Taylorism does not provide any guidance to concerned stakeholders. So it looks like non-relevant concerning its deficiencies to pace with the modern world.
Mounting Psychological Problems among Masses:
The present man faces many problems, primarily mental, emotional and mood problems. In this aspect, the human masses may warmly welcome anything that reduces such issues and problems. However, such a system does not mount psychological problems and complexities. To relinquish these problems, the freedom of human beings is mandatory in alliance with all those survival entities necessary for a normal life. In other words, the modern world needs such a system and approach that reduces these abnormalities. However, Taylorism strikes the approach where workers are treated as enslaved people. Such enslavement enhances psychological problems and breeds new dimensions of mood debacles over time. It has no such approach or capacity to tackle and solve these issues. The main reason behind this debacle lies in the fact that scientific management lacks any particular approach based on psychological application. So Taylorism is non-relevant to this world.
From the above-detailed discussion, it can be inferred that after the industrial revolution, there was a need for such a system that fulfilled the societal monetary demands. Scientific management by Taylor has fulfilled such needs by laying down a scientific method approach to managing and organizing large-scale businesses. It has revolutionized the whole world with its emergence around the globe. By adding high production, skilful worker concept, monitoring and evaluation approach, Taylorism has transformed the business world. However, by analyzing the scientific management theory in the context of the contemporary world, it badly failed to pace and align with current demands. All the stakeholders, either labour slots, managerial class, business owners, and capitalistic class, are unhappy with adopting Taylorism. It has created numerous problems instead of solving existing problems. Other than workers’ exploitation, Taylorism weakens labour unions. It enhances unemployment among the masses, implements a mechanical approach, and has non-democratic nature. In addition, it also creates psychological issues among the masses. In a nutshell, Taylorism is non-relevant to the contemporary world and proves the stance of Palla and Billy.
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