If any of you will get close to the average workman in this country—close enough to him so that he will talk to you as an intimate friend—he will tell you that in his particular trade if, we will say, each man were to turn out twice as much work as he is now doing, there could be but one result to follow: Namely, that one-half the men in his trade would be thrown out of work. This doctrine is preached by almost every labor leader in the country and is taught by every workman to his children as they are growing up; and I repeat, as I said in the beginning, that it is our fault more than theirs that this fallacy prevails. While the labor leaders and the workmen themselves in season and out of season are pointing out the necessity of restriction of output, not one step are we taking to counteract that fallacy; therefore, I say, the fault is ours and not theirs.
1.Do you think Taylor’s position is equally applicable today? Be prepared to justify your answer.
•I don’t believe Taylor’s position would be equally applicable in American business today, as it did in 1911. Since the end of World War II, it’s more apparent in American business culture for more short term employment. Some examples include contract maintenance where specific skills are required for a specified time or project completion. There are government agencies with Directors and Administrators who are filling a senior management position for as long as the current President serves. Businesses today are finding that through outsourcing some of their responsibilities to teams of highly skilled employees specializing in the needed field, this will alleviate some of the financial liabilities needed in if they were to maintain their own permanent team.
The founder and chairman of APQC (formerly known as the American Productivity and Quality Center) in Houston, C. Jackson Grayson, warned several years ago that if management and labor cannot make their relationship less adversarial, “then we won’t get the full, long-term kick in productivity that we desperately need.”
2.Looking at Taylor’s and Grayson’s remarks, which were made approximately 73 years apart, one has to wonder what we have learned. Many similar comparisons could be made. Why do you think managers don’t seem to learn as much as they could from the past?
•Traditional relationships between management and labor looks nothing as it did 100 years ago, especially when it pertains to unions. Being the only industrialized country with its infrastructure mostly intact after World War II, the United States basked in economic superiority with American industry. However, management in the past rarely included employees in the decision-making process. There was a disconnect between management and labor which union leaders were utilized to close gaps and ensure fairness in areas such as pay and benefits, but more importantly, where safety is involved.
In American businesses today, with government regulations and restrictions, differences in American and global markets and customs, outsourcing and contract services, and improvements in technology have changed the relationships between management and labor. According to an article written in Governing.Com, relationships between management and labor can be minimized by forming a joint process improvement committee (PIC), who are focused on driving organizational efficiencies. The committees are formed which enables both sides to pursue their interests with mutual respect and communication (O’Leary, 2010). Although there is no quick fix with regards to management and labor relationships, one thing is still very clear, there is still a significant divide.
Huebsch, R. (2014). The Evolution of the Labor-Management Relationship. Houston Chronical. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/evolution-labormanagement-relationship-36056.html Leslie W. Rue, L. L. (2009). Management kills and Application. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. O’Leary, J. (2010, September 8). Labor Pains: Repairing
the Manager and Union Relationship. Governing. Retrieved from http://www.governing.com/blogs/bfc/repairing-management-union-relationship.html