Classical School of Management Thought

Scientific Management and F. W. Taylor

Scientific management, according to an early definition, refers to “that kind of management which conducts a business or affairs by standards established by facts or truths gained through systematic observation, experiment, or reasoning.” Advocators of this school of thought attempted to raise labor efficiency primarily by managing the work of employees on the shop floor.

Frederick Winslow Taylor, who is generally acknowledged as “the father of scientific management” believed that organizations should study tasks and prepare precise procedures. His varied experience gave him ample opportunity to have firsthand knowledge and intimate insight into the problems and attitude of workers, and to explore great possibilities for improving the quality of management in the workplace.

Formulating his theory based on firsthand experience, Taylor’s theory focused on ways to increase the efficiency of employees by molding their thought and scientific management.

Henry Gnatt, an associate of Taylor, developed the Gnatt Chart, a bar graph that measures planned and completed work along with each stage of production. This visual display chart has been a widely used control and planning tool since its development in

1910. Following is a sample of Gnatt Chart.

Frank Gilbreth and his wife, Lillian Moller Gilbreth further improvised on Taylor’s time studies, devising “motion studies” by photographing the individual movements of each worker. They carefully analyzed the motions and eliminated unnecessary ones. These motion studies were preceded by timing each task, so the studies were called “time and motion studies.”

Applying time and motion studies to bricklaying, the Gilbreths devised a way for workers to lay bricks that eliminated wasted motion and raised their productivity from 1,000

bricks per day to 2,700 bricks per day.

The Basic Principles of Scientific Management

Developing new standard method of doing each job.

Selecting training and developing workers instead of allowing them to self-train and choose their own tasks.

Develop cooperation between workers and management.

Division of work on the basis of the group that is best fitted to do the job.

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