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
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.