Influence of the theory of Scientific Management




Influence of the theory of Scientific Management in the design of the modern organization


Scientific Management 

Scientific management is a management theory which was given by a leading proponent of the scientific management named as Frederick Taylor. This theory analyses and synthesizes the workflows. The theory of scientific management was one of the pioneer's attempts to apply the science to the process of engineering and management.  The theory aims to improve the economic efficiency of the companies, particularly the productivity of the labor (Thompson, 2012). 

Elements of scientific management

The five basic elements of scientific management are:

1.    Work-study-

The scientific management embraces few techniques to measure the work that is employed for ensuring that a particular activity is making the best possible use of the human resources and the material resources of the company (Aitken, 2014). Here, the wasteful and unnecessary operations are eliminated so that the effort to solve the problems gets reduced and the productivity is increased. 

2.    Standardization-

According to Taylor, there is only ‘one best way’ of doing the things (Aitken, 2014) and therefore, the tools and equipment should be standardized for increasing the efficiency of the work. Apple has developed a standardized training system for inducting its new employees that join the Tech support (Trujillo, 2014). Earlier, it was hosting its tech support regionally in the call center, but with standardized training, the company has been able to cut its costs and achieve a greater level of efficiencies.

3.    Use of scientific methods in the selection, placement, and training of employees-

The theory says that education, experience and the attitude of the candidates towards work should form a basis for their selection.  The placement of the most suitable people should be happening for the work that suits them the best and merit list should be formed for the placement.  Training should be based n the potential future challenges.  

4.    Functional foremanship-

Taylor suggested that there should be specialists or foreman for every function. This would ensure specialization. 

5.    Mental revolution-

This means bringing change in the mental attitude of workers and management towards each other. Both should work in collaboration with each other, and they have to support each other.  

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Influence of scientific management on modern organizational design

The designs of the organizations are the result of the theories of organizations. Scientific management has a great influence on the design of modern organizations. There is a rational organization system that has two parts for designing modern organizations: specific goals and formalization. Specific goals provide the guidelines for the completion of tasks in the organizations, and it also regulates the way in which the resources of the company are allocated to the activities of the company (Shafritz, 2015). Formalization standardizes organizational behavior. Thus, the organization is designed in such a way that the expectations for the management as well as the workers are stable and the design is rationally made. But, this design is made up of the theory of scientific management. In this theory, the emphasis is placed on the maximization of the output with the least amount of input. In this way, the individual worker can be rationalized. Based on this theory, the organizations are designed in such a way that the work is divided between the managers and the workers, the performance-based incentive systems are provided to the people, the workers are trained scientifically, the work is ensured to be done on time, etc. (Shafritz, 2015). 
This rational model of organization design is also used by Apple. This design has helped Apple in increasing its levels of production and maintaining its efficiencies (Heracleous, 2012). Hence, the company is able to reduce its time of production and cost levels. The concept of the assembly line is very popular in scientific management theory. Assemble line is a series of machines and workers by which the succession if identical items are assembled progressively. It is a great concept because it helps in efficiency and effectiveness. So, Apple follows this concept, and it has designed it’s assembled line for producing the products.  

Relations of Scientific Management with other management models

•    Relation of Scientific Management with Human Relations model- Both the models aim to increase the proficiency and the effectiveness of the organizations. The theories are contrasting to each other but, they aim to help the organizations. in the scientific management theory,  the scientific methods of doing the tasks, specialization, etc. are focused but, the human relations model is concerned with human factors like motivation, performance, etc. for getting the tasks done in an effective and efficient manner. There are linked in one way that is, in scientific management, the production is calculated using the output and the motion with the human movement (Bratton, 2012).  If the human factors and the human processes are managed properly, then only the work output can be improved. 
•    Relation of Scientific Management with Internal process model- The internal process model is based on the hierarchy in the company. Here, the emphasis is based on measurement, documentation and the management of the information (Weske, 2012). The internal process brings control and stability in the organizations. This is similar to the concepts of the scientific management theory because bureaucracy or hierarchy is suggested by the scientific management theory.
•    Relation of Scientific Management with Open system model- The open system model is based on the organic system that emphasis adaptability, readiness, acquisition of resources and growth (Scott, 2015). The model helps in fostering innovation and creativity in the companies. This model is more related to the human relations model because it focuses on inspiring people rather than controlling them. So, this model is not much related to the scientific management theory. 

The strengths and weaknesses of scientific management and their impact on the company


•    Using this theory, the materials, tools, equipment, and methods of doing work are standardized. Standardization helps the organization is achieving one best way of doing things.  Thus, the cost of the company reduces and it is able to earn more profits.
•    This theory facilitates the concept of achieving specialization and emphasis on the division of labor. When the specialization is achieved, then the efficiency of the workers increases too because they become masters of their work and they do it in the best possible way. Also, the amount of wastages produced is reduced to a great extent. 
•    Scientific management helps the companies in replacing the rule of thumb and introducing the new and scientific methods. With new methods, innovation is fostered in the company; it is able to differentiate its products in the market. Apple has used this in differentiating its products in the market, and it has offered a completely new product by applying new and scientific methods of production. 
•    There are time and motion studies carried out in scientific management that help in eradicating the delays in doing work, the workers are saved from the bodily strains, the wastage gets eliminated.  Thus, the efficiency of the workers in the company increase and they perform in a better way. 


•    This theory is not suitable if the size of the organization is small. The application of the elements and concepts of this theory involves expenditure in huge amounts, and it is not affordable for small firms to do this. Apple is a huge company, so it could easily apply scientific management in its processes. 
•    In this theory, most of the things are standardized and fixed. So, the initiative of the people is not required, and it lacks here. They cannot decide anything on their own, and they cannot work as per their own will. Everything has to be followed by them. It can be handled by making people accountable for their work and giving them some scope of doing the work on their own. 
•    Due to functional foremanship, there is the possibility of autocratic control of the functional bosses on the employees. This is resisted by the people, and they feel dissatisfied due to it. This can be tackled by involving people in the decision-making of the company along with the foremen.
•    The major weakness of this theory is that it lacks emphasis on human factors. The motivation, performance appraisal, expectations, involvement of people is not there in it so; the employees of the company are avoided. This can be overcome by combining scientific management with the human relation approach.


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that scientific management has a great influence on the design of modern organizations. Scientific management has relationships with all the other models of the organization. It is greatly related to the internal process model and less with the human relations and open system model. This theory has strengths as well as weaknesses, but, the weaknesses are not bigger than the strengths, they can be managed, and tackled. It is recommended that scientific management must be combined with the human relation approach for including the human factors in the organizations. 


Aitken, H.G., 2014. Scientific Management in Action: Taylorism at Watertown Arsenal, 1908-1915. Princeton University Press.
Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2012. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
Heracleous, L. and Papachroni, A., 2012. Strategic leadership and innovation at Apple Inc. case study. Coventry: Warwick Business School.
Scott, W.R. and Davis, G.F., 2015. Organizations and organizing: Rational, natural and open systems perspectives. Routledge.
Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, Y.S., 2015. Classics of organization theory. Cengage Learning.
Thompson, C.B., 2012. Scientific management. Rarebooksclub Com.
Trujillo, T., 2014. The Modern Cult of Efficiency Intermediary Organizations and the New Scientific Management. Educational Policy, 28(2), pp.207-232.
Weske, M., 2012. Business process management architectures. In Business Process Management (pp. 333-371). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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