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Frederick Taylor's Principles of Scientific Management Theory

square F. W. Taylor's Scientific Management Theory

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) is the father of Scientific Management.

Frederick Taylor

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Scientific Management tries to increase productivity by increasing efficiency and wages of the workers. It finds out the best method for performing each job. It selects employees by using Scientific Selection Procedures. It provides Scientific Training and Development to the employees. It believes in having a close co-operation between management and employees. It uses Division of Labour. It tries to produce maximum output by fixing Performance Standards for each job and by having a Differential Piece-Rate System for payment of wages.

square Principles of Scientific Management

Techniques / Contributions / Principles of Scientific Management Theory :-

1. Performance Standards

F.W. Taylor found out that there were no scientific performance standards. No one knew exactly how much work a worker should do in one hour or in one day. The work was fixed assuming rule of thumb or the amount of work done by an average worker. Taylor introduced Time and Motion Studies to fix performance standards. He fixed performance standards for time, cost, and quality of work, which lead to uniformity of work. As a result, the efficiency of the workers could be compared with each other.

2. Differential Piece Rate System

Taylor observed that workers did as little work as possible. He felt that under existing wage system, an efficient worker gained nothing extra. So, Taylor used the differential piece (unit) rate system.

Under differential piece rate system, a standard output was first fixed. Then two wage rates were fixed as follows :-

  1. Low wage rate was fixed for those workers who did not produce the standard output.
  2. Higher wage rate was fixed for those workers who produced the standard output or who produced more than the standard output.

Differential piece-rate system can be explained with following example :-

The standard output for a day is 10 units. The wage rate for producing less than 10 units is $ 5 per unit, and for producing 10 or more units is $ 8 per unit. If Mr. X produces 7 units, and Mr. Y produces 12 units, then their wages will be as follows :-

Mr. X's wage is 7 x 5 = $ 35

Mr. Y's wage is 12 x 8 = $ 96

Because of this system, the inefficient workers will try to improve their efficiency, and the efficient workers will be motivated to maintain or improve their production capacity.

3. Functional Foremanship

Taylor started "Functional Foremanship". Here, 8 foremen (lower level manager or supervisor) are required to supervise the workers. This is because one foremen cannot be an expert in all the functions.

Taylor's functional foremanship consists of two groups of supervisors :-

  1. At the Planning Level or Office Level.
  2. At the Doing Level or Factory Level.

(a) At the Planning Level :-

Taylor separated planning from doing. At the planning level there were four supervisors. They are :-

  1. Time and Cost Clerk : This boss prepares the standard time for completing the work and cost of doing that work.
  2. Route Clerk : This boss makes the exact route (way) through which each product has to travel from a raw-material to a finished product.
  3. Discipline Clerk : This boss looks after the discipline and absenteeism problems in the organisation.
  4. Instruction Card Clerk : The boss gives instructions about how to do a particular work.

(b) At the Doing Level :-

At the doing level there were also four supervisors. They are :-

  1. Gang Boss : He is responsible for setting up the machines and tools and for direct supervision of workers.
  2. Speed Boss : He is responsible for maintaining a proper speed of work.
  3. Repair Boss : He is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of machines.
  4. Inspector Boss : He is responsible for maintaining the quality of production.

4. Mental Revolution

Taylor introduced the concept of "Mental Revolution". He said that the management and workers should have a positive attitude towards each other. This will result in close cooperation between them. This will increase productivity and profits.

5. Time Study

Time study means to record the time taken for doing each part of a job. The full job is first observed and analysed. Then it is divided into different elements (parts). Later the time taken for doing each part of the job is recorded. This is done by using a stop clock. Time study helps the management to know exactly how much time it will take to do a particular job. This helps the management to fix the amount of work to be done by each worker in one hour or in one day. That is, management can fix a standard output of work for a certain period of time.

Taylor advised all managers to do time study. This will prevent the workers from passing time, working slowly and doing less work. Time study helps to increase the productivity of the organisation.

6. Fatigue and Motion Study

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (Husband and Wife) introduced fatigue and motion studies. Fatigue and motion studies find out and remove unnecessary and wasteful movements while doing the job.

According to the Gilbreths, fatigue (tiredness) and motion (movements or actions) are interlinked. Every motion that is removed will reduce fatigue. Using cameras, they studied workers (masons) doing common jobs like bricklaying. They found that the workers do many wasted motions while doing their work. This resulted in fatigue. So, the Gilbreths asked the workers to stop all unnecessary motions and to do only the motions which were necessary for doing the job. They reduced the bricklayers' motions from 18 to 5. This also reduced the fatigue of the bricklayers. Therefore, productivity of workers increased.

7. Gantt Charts

Henry Gantt invented the Gantt chart. This chart shows the planned work and the completed work at each stage of production. It also shows the time taken to do the work.

Gantt chart is the basis for following two concepts :-

  1. The Critical Path Method (CPM), and
  2. The Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT).

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