Evolution of thoughts in Scientific Management Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 July 2016

Evolution of thoughts in Scientific Management

At the first stage where groups of people were insignificant, management in all spheres was carried out by one person – the leader of this group. Further, in process of group growth and complication of functions carried out by them, the necessity of labour division and group differentiation has appeared. But it couldn’t happen at once, it required centuries.

The Egyptian pyramids build in 3000 – 2000 B.C. are a good example not only ancient Egyptian’s culture, but also their administrative art. Construction of huge pyramids demanded,

first of all, precise planning.

While the practice of management can be traced back to 3000 B.C., it was not given serious attention until 1800 when large organisations emerged.

Industrial revolution has given a push to development of theoretical researches and management practices.

However, till an epoch of capitalism function of management was carried out by the owner himself and a small group of the persons approached to him. The role of the specially trained managers developed during an epoch of monocapitalism. Having been faced with a competition, changeable environment, managers developed knowledge system of how it is better to use resources.

During all history of management development we distinguish two approaches: classical and modern.

Classical approach allows to allocate four patterns of management thought:

1898 Scientific management

1916 Administrative management

1920 Bureaucracy

1927 Human relations


Occurrence of scientific management takes place at the beginning of 20th century and is connected to F.W.Taylor’s name, Henri L.Gantt, Frank and Lilian Gilbreth.

Scientific management focuses on worker and machine relationship. Organisational productivity can be increased by increasing the efficiency of production process.

In 1911, Frederick Taylor, known as the Father of scientific management, published Principles of Scientific Management in which he proposed to design work methods to increase productivity. One of his famous experiments was performed at Bethlehem Steel Company in Pittsburgh. He examined the time and movements, developed a better method for performing that job and trained the worker. In addition, Taylor offered a piece rate that increased as workers produced more.

Taylor’s studies were followed by Gibreths, a husband and a wife, who also helped to find more efficient ways for workers to produce output. Frank Gilbreth made his contribution in the field of brick lying by changing an 18 step process into 5 step that led to increased productivity by about 200 percent.

The Gibreths believed that were was one best way to perform an operation. However this “one best way” could be replaced when a better way was introduced.

Other representative of Scientific Management was Henri Gantt. He developed a Gantt chart, which is used for scheduling multiple task over a time period. He developed a pay system with a guaranteed minimum wage and bonus systems for people on fixed wages and brought in a significant contribution to the leadership theory development.


Unlike Scientific Management which focused its attention on productivity, Administrative Management have engaged in development of management in the organisation as a whole and was concerned about administrative part of the organisation.

The ancestor of this school was Henri Fayol.

He worked as a mining engineer and came to realise that managing an enterprise required a lots of skills apart from technical ones.

Henri Fayol was the first to identify the four management functions:





He also developed guidelines for managers to follow. These guidelines form fourteen principles for effective management.

Other contributor to Administrative Management was Mary Parker Follet.

She pointed out that all managers want flexibility, and she also distinguished between the motivation of individuals and groups.


Max Weber, known as a father of Modern Sociology, concentrated on how to structure an organisation for success. Weber outlined key elements of an ideal form of structure, which he believed would develop efficiency and called it bureaucracy.

The bureaucratic structure had a number of important advantages for large organisations.

The division of labour increased efficiently due to the continued repetition of the task.

Hierarchy allowed developing a chain of command.

Format selection meant that employees were hired on knowledge and experience and no other criteria would be used.

Career orientation ensured that career professionals would give the organisation a degree of continuity in operations.

Rules and procedures controlled employee performance.

The impersonality of the organisation ensured that rules were applied across the board without personality or other influence getting in the way.


During the 1920s, an emphasis on the human side of the workplace began to influence management thinking. They started to realise that people are social and self-actualising.

People at work are seemed to seek satisfying social relationships, respond to group pressures, and search for personal fulfilment.

The human relations movement began with the Hawthorne Studies that were conducted at the Western Electric Company in Cicero 1924 -1933.

The intention of these studies was to determine the effect of working conditions on productivity. The illumination experiments tried to determine whether better lighting would lead to increased productivity. Both the control group and the experimental group of female employees produced more whether the lights were turned up or down.

It was discovered that this increased productivity was a result of the attention received by the group.

In the relay assembly group experiments, six female employees worked in a special, separate area. They were given breaks and had the freedom to talk and were continuously observed by a researcher who served as the supervisor. Once again researches failed to find any direct relationship between changes in physical working conditions and output. Productivity increased regardless of the changes made.

Two factors were set up as having special importance.

One was the group atmosphere; the workers shared pleasant social relations with one another and wanted to do a good job.

The other was more participative supervision. The workers were made to feel important, were given a lot of information, and were frequently asked for their opinions. It was not the case in their regular jobs.

The final Hawthorne Study was conducted in the bank wiring room and centred on the role of the work group. A surprise finding here was that people would restrict their output in order to avoid the displeasure of the group.

It was recognised that group can have strong negative, as well as positive influences on individual productivity.

Two writers who helped advance the human relation movement were Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor.

In 1943, Maslow advanced a theory suggesting that people are motivated by a hierarchy of needs. Which are physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation needs. People try to satisfy the five needs in sequence. They progress step by step from the lowest up to the highest.

Meanwhile Douglas McGregor represents Theory X and Theory Y.

According to McGregor, managers holding Theory X believe that those who work for them generally dislike work, lack ambitions, are irresponsible and prefer to be led rather than to lead.

While in the Theory Y managers believe that people willing to work are capable of self-control, are willing to accept responsibility, are imaginative and creative.


Scientific Management

Analysis of the past allows a better understanding of the present to predict the future

Scientific Management improved people’s productivity at work by reducing number of motions choosing one best way to perform the task.

However, Scientific Management was not without its critics.

Taylor assumed that people were motivated only by money and ignored social and psychological factors. Also, Scientific Management techniques often resulted in lay-offs and it led to job losses.

Relationship between the organisation and environment wasn’t taken to attention.

Despite these criticisms, we use some of scientific techniques nowadays.

For instance, on factory that produces mobile phones, the whole production mechanism is broken down to small tasks. The workers are guided by carefully calculated standards. They know how many details they should approximately produce per hour. Each movement is chosen carefully in order to reduce excess motions.

I have been working in a hotel industry for three years. The scientific management techniques have been used in my department as well. To make checking in and out more efficient everyone had his or her own best way of performing the task.

Administrative Management.

Nowadays Faylol’s five main functions gained widespread recognition.

Let’s take a hotel, for instance. Managers have to make plans for the future, organise short-term plans, co-ordinate recourses and finances, and control plans get their goals.

In the Royal Bayswater Hotel, where I worked, manager’s aim was to get a “Service Excellence Award.” They planed to increase service by: training the staff; paying more attention to internal customers because “happy staff is happy customers” and by trying to exceed customer’s expectations.

During all this process managers were controlling if everything was following the plans.

And as a result to everybody’s effort the hotel has been awarded with “Best Excellence Service Award”


While the term Bureaucracy has a negative meaning some of its elements are still relevant.

In the earlier mentioned hotel, for example, staff is selected and promoted on ability to perform the task. Workers are career orientated. In order to obtain the organisational objectives procedures are measured and performed according to the organisational rules and standards. Standards and rules applied without personal influence.

Human Relations

Until the late 20th human relationship hasn’t been taken to serious consideration. It has only been after Hawthorne Experiments, the improvement of relations between all levels has been accepted as a very important element in the development and improvement of any organisation . This is still have a great importance nowadays.

The job of the manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to encourage, teach, control, motivate and lead people. But that easier said than done.

At my place of work there were different people with different needs. While some of them were satisfied with physiological and safety needs, the others there seeking for recognition from others, self-control and actualisation. So managers couldn’t expect a good performance at work if an individual’s needs haven’t been satisfied.

We also had two types of managers.

1 Those who followed Theory X assumption

2 Those who followed Theory Y assumption

As for me it was more difficult to work who doesn’t give you much freedom for your thoughts, and things that supervision is a necessity.

On the other hand, it was a pleasure to work with someone who allows more flexibility, and thinks that control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work. As a result they got more commitment to the organisation.


1 “Management”Stephen P. Robbinsons, Mary Coulter, 7 edition

2 “Management” John R. Schermerhorn, JR. 8 edition

3 “Management” John R. Schermerhorn, JR. 7 edition

4″Management” Ricky W. Griffin 7 edition

5 “Modern Management” Siobhan D. Tiernan, Michael J. Morley, Edel Foley




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