PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 2: Scientific Management Model

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Appendix

Benefits of Scientific Management

According to Gilbreths, the main benefit of scientific management is “conservation and savings, making an adequate use of every ounce of energy of any type that is expended.” Scientific management leads to the following benefits to the employers:

To employers

  1. Replacement of traditional rule of thumb method by scientific investigation.
  2. Proper selection and training of the workers leading to better workforce.
  3. Establishment of harmonious relationships between the workers and the management. 
  4. Achievement of equal division of responsibilities between the workers and the management.
  5. Standardization of tools, equipment, materials and work methods for increasing efficiency.
  6. Better utilization of various resources and elimination of wastes.
  7. Scientific determination of fail day’s work a worker can do. This leads to establishment of good relations between the employers and the workers.

To workers

  1. Detailed instructions and constant guidance for the workers.
  2. Opportunity for training and development to increase skills.
  3. Incentive wages to the workers for higher production.
  4. Better working conditions and tools to work for good health of the workers.
  5. Less fatigue in work because of application of scientific methods.

To society

  1. Better quality products at lower costs to the people.
  2. Higher standard of living of people through better products.
  3. Increased productivity in the country.
  4. Industrial peace in the country.
  5. Technological development due to scientific investigation.

Criticism of Scientific Management

Workers’ viewpoint

1. Speeding up of workers

Scientific management attempts to force them to work their maximum. It does not bother about the adverse effects of such speeding up on the physical and mental well being of the workers.

2. Boredom

The workers are supposed to do routine work just like automatic machines. This creates the problem to monotony among the workers who start looking for better jobs in other organization. 

3. No scope for initiative

The workers get no opportunity to take initiative. They are supposed to do whatever they are told to do. They cannot take their initiative and exercise their skills to find new methods of work.

4. Unemployment

Workers feel that management reduces employment opportunities from them through replacement of men by machines and by increasing human productivity less workers are needed to do work leading to chucking out from their jobs.

5. Exploitation of workers

Workers feel they are exploited as they are not given due share in increasing profits which is due to their increased productivity. Wages do not rise in proportion as rise in production. Wage payment creates uncertainty and insecurity (beyond a standard output, there is no increase in wage rate).

6. Weakening of trade union

To everything is fixed and predetermined by management. So it leaves no room for trade unions to bargain as everything is standardized, standard output, standard working conditions, standard time etc. This further weakens trade unions, creates a rift between efficient and in efficient workers according to their wages.

Employer’s viewpoint

1. Expensive process

Scientific management is a costly system and a huge investment is required in establishment of planning dept., standardization, work study, training of workers. It may be beyond reach of small firms. Heavy food investment leads to increase in overhead costs.

2. Reorganization

Scientific management involves reorganization of the whole industrial unit. Whether it is acquiring new standardized tools or equipment or standardizing the working conditions. A lot of time has to be spent on the process. During this time the work has to be stopped. Thus the management has to suffer a great loss due to reorganization. Small scale industrial units cannot bear this loss.

3. Lack of control

Scientific management does not emphasize cost and financial control. This may lead to inefficiency in the enterprise.

4. Impracticable functional foremanship

The functional foremanship recommended by Taylor is not practicable. A worker receives commands from eight foremen at a time, but can’t satisfy them all. 

Psychologists’ viewpoint

1. Mechanical approach

Taylor’s approach was a mechanical approach. He gave too much importance to efficiency. He did not consider the human element. Taylor considered workers as robots, which could speed up the work at any cost. The worker has to follow the way of doing the jobs as directed by the management. He has no say in determining the method of doing the job. 

1. Mechanical approach

Taylor’s approach was a mechanical approach. He gave too much importance to efficiency. He did not consider the human element. Taylor considered workers as robots, which could speed up the work at any cost. The worker has to follow the way of doing the jobs as directed by the management. He has no say in determining the method of doing the job. 

2. Speeding up of workers

It does not take into consideration the harmful effects of such speeding up on the physical and mental health of the workers. Sometimes, the standard task is set at higher level which results in bad health of the worker. Accidents become a common feature and the rate of spoilage also goes up.

3. Monotony

Due to excessive specialization the workers are not able to take initiative on their own. Their status is reduced to being mere cogs in wheel. Jobs become dull. Workers loose interest in jobs and derive little pleasure from work.

4. Lack of proper motivation

Under Scientific management wags are paid to the workers according to the piece wage system. Minimum wage is not assured to the workers. This means that Taylor assumed that money is the greatest motivating force. 

5. Narrow Application

Taylor’s scientific management has narrow application. It can be applied only when the performance of the workers can be measured quantitatively. It can be applied only for factories where the performance can be measured quantitatively. It cannot be used in the service sector because in this sector the performance of a person cannot be measured quantitatively.

Scientific management, also called Taylorism, is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows. Its main objective is improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management.  Scientific management consists of observation and analysis of each task, determination of the standard of work, selecting and training workers and ensuring that work is done in the most efficient manner. 

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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