A Business Encyclopedia

Scientific Management Theory

Definition: The Scientific Management Theory is well known for its application of engineering science at the production floor or the operating levels. The major contributor of this theory is Fredrick Winslow Taylor, and that’s why the scientific management is often called as “Taylorism”.

The scientific management theory focused on improving the efficiency of each individual in the organization. The major emphasis is on increasing the production through the use of intensive technology, and the human beings are just considered as adjuncts to machines in the performance of routine tasks.

The scientific management theory basically encompasses the work performed on the production floor as these tasks are quite different from the other tasks performed within the organization. Such as, these are repetitive in nature, and the individual workers performing their daily activities are divided into a large number of cyclical repetition of same or closely related activities. Also, these activities do not require the individual worker to exercise complex-problem solving activity. Therefore, more attention is required to be imposed on the standardization of working methods and hence the scientific management theory laid emphasis on this aspect.

The major principles of scientific management, given by Taylor, can be summarized as follows:

  • Separate planning from doing.
  • The Functional foremanship of supervision,i.e. Eight supervisors required to give directions and instructions in their respective fields.
  • Time, motion and fatigue studies shall be used to determine the fair amount of work done by each individual worker.
  • Improving the working conditions and standardizing the tools, period of work and cost of production.
  • Proper scientific selection and training of workmen should be done.
  • The financial incentives should be given to the workers to boost their productivity and motivate them to perform well.

Thus, the scientific management theory focused more on mechanization and automation, i.e., technical aspects of efficiency rather than the broader aspects of human behavior in the organization.

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