Taylor and Scientific Management

Scientific Management was one of the first management theories to become popular with the new management class emerging in the beginning of the 20th century.

Scott notes that "Taylor and his followers insisted that is was possible to scienfifically analyze tasks performed by individual workers in order to discover those procedures that would produce the maximum output with the minimum imput of energies and resources" p. 34 Though Taylor focused on individuals, changes at the individual level inevitably led to changes at structural level.

Scientific management also changed the role of management from arbitray power to science-based decision making based on experiments among the workers. Acitivities of both managers and workers were subject to scientific investigation.

Taylor thought this system would introduce industrial peace to labor management conflicts. Workers would do the work best suited to them. They would work at peak efficiency and get top wages. Taylors approach was an amalgam of protestant ethic, social darwinism, and a primary view of personal action based on economic incentives. Scott p. 35

But managers felt the system questioned their innate abilities to lead, and workers resisted time-studies and standardization. It's focus on finding the one and only "best" solution ignored the equifinality inherent in open systems. As a theoretical field it contributed a bit about individuals in organizations but little about organizations themselves.