Irrelevancy of Scientific Management

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Date Submitted: 01/13/2011 04:28 PM

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Frederick Taylor is often referred to as the Father of Modern Management. The theory of Scientific Management was founded by him and played a very decisive role in transforming the factory system in the early 20th century (Waddell et al, 2007). Ashley (1922) argues that the theory suggested a number of principles of industrial organization, the advantages of an extreme division of labor and mechanization. The principles of scientific management created an efficiency ‘‘mode’’ which spread throughout Europe and America (Caldari, 2007, p.55). Later, Alfred Marshall developed a detailed analysis of scientific management, emphasizing not only its unquestionable advantages but also its dangerous limits. Even though Scientific Management played a crucial role in the 21st century, some theorists claimed that the principles are no longer appropriate for management of contemporary organizations as they encompasses some limitations that constrain their influence on present business environment, and as a result not all of its elements are relevant to management today.

Irrelevancy of scientific management

According to Marshall, Scientific management has two main implications, which he also referred to them as cumbersome presence of the planning department (Caldari, 2007, p.62). The first regards an extreme division of mental labor and the second is reorganization. In spite of planning department efficiency-establishing roles, skills, time and motion for each operation, Marshall does not see the department favorably, he considers it of cumbersome presence. The rigid determination of roles and functions restricts individual business to greater levels in the planning department; decisions being taken by high level authority while low level employees must execute them, at detailed and fixed orders. This principle of Taylor’s system is indisputably dictatorial in that they take for granted decision-making to be reserved for top management of the organization,...