Scientific Management Theory: Views, Considerations, and Applications

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Scientific Management Theory

Views, Considerations, and Applications

Charles Oduyoye

Kaplan University

Prof. C. DeAtley

HA510-01 Organizational Development for Healthcare

June 27, 2011


Frederick Taylor, considered by many to be the Father of Scientific Management Theory, defines it as “the systematic study of the relationships between people and tasks for the purpose of redesigning the work process for higher efficiency.” (Dunn, 2010). The synthesis of this theory began in the late 19th century and became well established in the 1940s. This theory actually existed under the umbrella of the older Classical Theory (1800s – 1950s), which in itself consists of two other management theories, namely the Bureaucratic and Administrative theories (Akrani, 2011). According to Frederick Taylor, scientific management tries to increase productivity by finding the best method for accomplishing a task. The ultimate goal is to increase productivity on the job by having employees follow a repetitive series of procedures and methods with strict instructions not to deviate from them (Dunn, 2010). Many of Taylor’s studies were performed at Bethlehem Steel Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If success is measured by an increase in productivity alone, then his style of management would be considered successful. According to him, it was not the job of the employee to think, but to just follow orders. But is there any validity or merit to such a draconian type of statement, and how applicable is it especially in these modern times?

As a medical doctor myself, I can identify with some elements of this theory. The training of surgeons, for example, requires that the surgical trainee follow very specific steps without much latitude for deviation from them. (Sturdy, 2008) For example, in performing a mastectomy (surgical removal of the...