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Contempory Management Functions Essay

How do the theories proposed in your chosen reading inform your understanding of contemporary management functions and the employer-employee relationship?

The Purpose of this essay is to determine how scientific management impacts contemporary management functions and the employer-employee relationship. This essay is based on the journal article [Locke,E (1982)The Ideas of Fredrick W Taylor: An Evaluation, Academy Management review,7(11),pp.14-24] and is regarding scientific management started by Fredrick Winslow Taylor which was a theory developed regarding management which analysed workflows. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to management. Scientific management’s main objective was to improve economic efficiency and productivity in the workforce. In most simple terms some of the many concepts were having a standardised method for doing a job, providing increased compensation to the worker as reward for being efficient and hiring the right person for the right job. Many of these theories are very commonly used in management today.

Contemporary is a word meaning existing or occurring at the same time (Robbins,2012) . Management functions refer to the way somebody manages a business (Robbins,2012). Therefore contemporary management functions are how we typically manage today. Employer- employee relationship is the relationship in which a manager has with their employee’s and how they complete their work day together and if they are efficient together (Robbins,2012). The four contemporary management functions are Planning, Organising, leading and controlling. Planning is defined as a management function that involves defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving those goals and developing plans to integrate and coordinate activities (Robbins,2012). Organising is a management function that involves arranging and structuring work to accomplish the organisations goals (Robbins,2012). Leading is working with and through people to accomplish organisational goals and controlling involves monitoring, comparing and correcting work performance (Robbins,2012).

Scientific management theories proposed in this reading do apply to contemporary management functions. Although many of these theories could be argued as common knowledge today, when Fredrick Taylor established them they were prehistoric terms. He wanted to find out ‘one best way’ for everything in the workplace. Taylor’s most well known experiment was the pig-iron experiment (Locke, 1982 ). The experiment involved workers loading ‘pigs’ of iron on to rail cars. He knew their current daily output, but believed more was possible using scientific management.

This was done due to many things. First of all putting the right person on the job with the right tools and equipment. In today’s management people hire the best person they can for the job. Secondly he had the worker follow his instructions exactly. This is also normal in today’s management functions, because people do things the way the employer wants them to. Taylor also motivated successful and productive workers with higher pay (Locke, 1982). This is also very common in today, with higher salary packages for good workers and pay increases for productivity fairly common. This improves employer and employee relationships by making the employee feel valued.

Although many people believe in Taylors scientific management functions Lawerence (2010), Green (1986) both argue that that this is not the case and that scientific management is the problem in today’s management. Although there arguments are well presented there seems to be no evidence suggesting that Taylor’s theories do not work. Chung(2013) Agrees with Taylors contemporary management theories but argues the point that people could be to caught up on contemporary management functions and forgetting some key aspects of general managing.

Taylor’s scientific management theories help the understanding of the employer-employee relationship by making it easier to understand what the relationship is actually for. This relationship is primarily about productivity .Many things Taylor did such as relaying messages from the employer to the employee to improve productivity) are also widely used in today’s management(locke,1982) . He also discovered that giving feedback to your employees will increase there skills and there productivity ( Locke,1982). This method is also very commonly used today with weekly meetings in many companies between employee and employer.

Many large companies today use contemporary management functions in the work place. Companies Such as subway, burger king and McDonald’s are all very structured from top to bottom of the company and people are constantly striving to think of ways to improve productivity thus maximising profits. Yang (2012), Talks about all the hugely complex mathematical equations that now go into various parts decision making in Burger King and McDonald’s. Although the equations are to complex to understand to the average person it is clear that management is a lot more planned and structured in today’s workplace. Williams (2008) states“Consistency is a priority at McDonald’s” (p.15). This is true because anytime you walk into a McDonalds anywhere in the world you know what to expect.

This is due to the contemporary management functions of a large scale to plan and organise and regulate what every individual McDonalds can do to ensure people know what they are getting and what to expect every time they walk through that door. Williams (2008) also discusses the change between old management styles and new management styles that have produced positive results for the company. The new management styles are all very similar to what Locke (1982) says about Taylor’s theories. For example Williams (2008) speaks about all the new rewards McDonalds have brought in for successful franchises and employees ranging from bonus’s to promotions to higher positions which like Taylor suggests encourages people to work harder hence greater profits (Locke, 1982 ) . Williams (2008) also talks about the extensive process in training managers and staff and the new expectations of every employee within the company that has increased greatly over the years to insure everything runs according to contemporary management functions.

Taylor’s theories of scientific management are helpful in informing you of contemporary management functions and employer-employee relationships. The way the workplace is shaped today seems very relevant to Taylor’s theories. Many of his theories are normal in today’s management functions. Although he has had many critics of his work It is shown in the articles that not many have been able to prove there arguments. Using evidence such as Williams (2008) journal on the change in managing McDonalds makes it clear that Taylor has had a big influence on typical management functions in today’s workplace.

Chung, C. (2013) The Road Not Taken: Putting ‘Management’ Back to Taylor’s Scientific Management, Journal of multidisciplinary research, 5(1), pp. 45-56.

Green, M. (1986) A Kantian Evaluation of Taylorism in the Workplace, Journal of Business Ethics, 7 (2), pp. 165-169.

Lawrence, P. (2010)The key job design problem is still Taylorism, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 31 (2), pp. 412-421.

Locke, E. (1982) The Ideas of Fredrick W .Taylor: An Evaluation, Academy of Management Review, 7 (1), pp. 14-24.

Robbins,S.R., Bergman, Stagg, Coulter. (2012). Management (6th ed.). Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd. Williams, E. (2008) Accelerated leadership development tops the talent management menu at Mcdonald’s ,27(4),pp. 15-31.

Yang,N. (2012) Burger King and McDonald’s: Where’s the Spillover?, 19(2),pp.255-281

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