Scientific management is a theory of management that seeks to optimize and standardize workflows to improve productivity and efficiency in organizational operations. Here are the primary techniques associated with scientific management:
1. Time Study: Determine the time taken to perform different tasks. By understanding how long each task takes, it’s possible to identify inefficiencies and develop a standard method that minimizes the time required.
2. Motion Study: Examine the specific movements needed to perform a task. By minimizing unnecessary movements, the task can be accomplished more rapidly and efficiently.
3. Standardization of Tools and Equipment: Tools and equipment should be standardized to ensure consistency and efficiency. This also helps in reducing the amount of time a worker spends looking for or adjusting to different tools.
4. Differential Piece-Rate System: Workers who produced above the standard output (established through time studies) would be paid at a higher rate than those who produced below the standard. This was intended to be an incentive for workers to adopt and adhere to standardized methods.
5. Task Specialization: Each worker should specialize in a specific task rather than having a general set of responsibilities. This would lead to increased proficiency due to repetition.
6. Training: Instead of letting workers train themselves or learn on the job, a systematic training approach should be employed to ensure every worker learns the most efficient way to complete their tasks.
7. Selection of Workers: Taylor believed that workers should be scientifically selected to ensure that they were suited to the type of work for which they were responsible.
8. Clear Division of Responsibility: Managers are responsible for planning and training, while workers are responsible for executing tasks as trained.
9. Performance-Based Rewards: Employees should be rewarded based on their performance. This would serve as a motivation for them to work efficiently.
10. Centralized Planning: Planning should be separated from the execution of tasks. This means that managers should plan work and then give clear instructions to workers on how to carry it out.
While scientific management introduced several important concepts, it also drew criticism. Many felt it turned workers into mere machines, emphasizing efficiency at the cost of human needs and well-being. Despite the criticisms, many of Taylor’s principles have been integrated into modern management practices, though often in more human-centric ways.