Taylor and Scientific Management

Introduction From the end of 19th Century to the beginning of 20th Century, the United States of America achieved a major breakthrough in some areas of science and technology on the basis of inheriting European science and technology tradition, thus promoting the rapid development of agriculture and industry, even catching up and exceeding the UK. However, in order to further the development of production, it was necessary for America to have a breakthrough on the management. Then Frederick Taylor appeared, he was “the one who suddenly appear to reverse the situation at the crucial moment, and he was the key person to form a thought”.

What is scientific management? Scientific management is also called classical management theory, traditional management theory. Taylor summarized the scientific management as: Science, rather than solely on work experience; harmony, rather than the cooperation; cooperation, rather than individualism; in order to maximize the output, to replace the limited output, each person should work on a maximum efficiency to get the greatest success, that is to use high efficiency production mode instead of low cost production methods, in order to strengthen the labor cost control.

The main purpose of scientific management is to improve labor productivity. In the early 20th century, Taylor created the theory of scientific management system and this system was known as "Taylorism". Briefly speaking, Taylorism is a process of determining the division of work into its smallest possible skill elements, and how the process of completing each task can be standardized to achieve maximum efficiency.

The main content of "Taylorism" includes: (1) The fundamental purpose of management is to improve efficiency. (2) Make work quota. (3)Choose the best workers. (4)Implement standardized management. (5)Implement excitant payment system. (6)Lay stress on "spiritual revolution" cooperated by workers and employers. (7)Advocate to separate plan functions and executive function. (8)Implement function management system. (9)Implement exception principle on management control.

The evaluations on the scientific management theory Contributions of the scientific management theory (1) Scientific management was not an innovation, but integration. Taylor did not invent something entirely new, but he integrated ideas which emerged and developed in Britain and the United States throughout the 19th century and then developed a set of thoughts, he made a series of disjointed things and experiments as a system of philosophy called scientific management.(2)

The theory of scientific management made an important breakthrough in the management philosophy, so Taylor was called the master of management philosophy. Scientific management theory made a conclusion and revolution in world view, epistemology and methodology of management.(3) Taylor introduced science to the field of management, and improved the scientific management theory. It broke through the traditional experience and management methods inherited from the industrial revolution. (4)

Scientific management proposed the job management, the division of functions between managers and workers, and the psychological revolution of both employers and employees, so that both employers and employees may coordinate the interest of both sides by raising labor productivity and expanding production results, so as to promote the development of productive forces.(5) The scientific management movement strengthened the social concern of the public to eliminate waste and improve efficiency, and promote the operation and management of scientific research.

Limitations of the scientific management theory (1)Taylor’s view on worker was wrong. He thought the main motivation of worker was economy, and what workers most concerned about was to improve their own money, that was to insist on the hypothesis of "economic man", but paid no attention to people's social factors. In real life, people not only focus on money income, especially in today's society.

Under the premise of meeting their physiological needs, people tend to enjoy life. In addition, Taylor also believed that only the separate labor can do a good job, this may be a one-sided view, it neglects human's social attribute. (2) Taylorism only solved the problem of workers’ working efficiency, but not the problems of how an enterprise operated as a whole, and Taylor didn't realize the relationship of being exploited and exploitation between workers and employers in essence. (3) Scientific management relatively paid more attention to object, not to people.

Though it emphasized that people should match with posts, but in fact it didn't focus on people, instead, it stressed standard and institution. As long as the workers are trained, and then can use standardized instruments, do their works in a standardized manner to achieve the highest efficiency.

Workers repeat same work every day, which is apparently not consistent with the high standard requirement nowadays.(4) Scientific management highlighted the scale of the enterprise and the quantity of products, since it was seller's market at that time. But nowadays it is buyer's market, which demands personalized and high quality products, so scientific management may not be pretty appropriate in today’s management.

Example 1: Foxconn First let's see a Chinese enterprise. The world famous Foxconn technology group, now has become one of the world's largest and most professional manufacturers in electronic industry. The management mode Foxconn adopts is Taylorism, that is, operation standardization, in order to improve production efficiency. The standardized management displays in the following aspects: refer to the production time, Foxconn implements "black and white shifts", day shift workers work from 8 to 20 o’clock, and night shift workers are opposite.

Refer to the yield index, Foxconn calculates the finish time of each procedure of one worker by seconds, and to arrange the production of each worker according to his efficiency. Refer to the human resources structure, Foxconn is in the shape of pyramid, executives who are on the top of the pyramid develop strategies, people in the middle are responsible for the allocation and supervision, and what the staff in the bottom faces are highly decomposed, professional, repeated labour tasks. Combining with Taylorism, the management of Foxconn performs the following characteristics: (1)

The standardization of labor methods. Find out the most reasonable ways and methods through analysis to eliminate redundant and unreasonable action; (2)Work out the standard time of completing each standard action as the basis of quota management and salary payment; (3) Implement discriminatory wages; (4) Strict selection of the workers; (5)Clear division of responsibilities through investigation.

The advantages are that the enterprise can be managed more scientific and can improve the production efficiency. Since Foxconn owns such a strict production line, and the control of each link is all in strict standards, the company has such high production efficiency. With the fierce competition in today's electronic products industry, Foxconn is still in an invincible position.

Taylorism plays an important role in it. But we can also find disadvantages in management of Foxconn. It appeared again and again that workers of Foxconn commit suicide because of the job stress. In the process of management, if executives only pay attention to the production efficiency but ignore the emotions of employees, it may be a huge hidden trouble for enterprise. Once the staff unites to revolt, the enterprise will face serious disaster. From it we can see that Taylorism only solve efficiency problems of the individual specific work, but not resolve the problems that how an enterprise be operated and managed as a whole.

Example 2: Toyota Toyota Motor Corporation is now the pioneer of the automotive industry, regardless of sales or quality, Toyota tries to do their best. Although today's Toyota has their own Toyota management model, but it is not difficult to see that Toyota has fundamentally adopted taylorism. Toyota's management thought that, in order to achieve timely, stable quality production, it must grab from operating activities, making all the work be a a mutual integration of process, and provide the process of job content, position, operation time and operation performance.

Take a car seat installation as example, the installation of the screws are in the same order, the installation time is also fixed, even the torque of the screws are fixed clearly. Such precise management is not only used in repetitive production activities, but also being used in all activities of the enterprise, both functional activities and management activities.

This method of management looks very simple, but in fact, not all companies can do. This production management mode, in essence, is Taylorism. It sets the task of each worker, and each task must be completed with strict standards in the prescribed time. This makes Toyota greatly improve the production efficiency on the basis of assuring quality.

But if copying Taylorism, maybe it is not conducive to the Toyota business. Thus Toyota, according to the actual situation, adds their own management style on the basis of the Taylor system to form the most suitable management system for their own. In this management system, Toyota obtained a great success. Nowadays, Toyota has exceeded the sum of the world's first and second car company in profits.

Foxconn VS Toyota In today's competitive environment, these two enterprises occupy more market share in the market, and both are the pioneers in its industry. From the introduction above, we can see that though the two enterprises engaged in completely different industry, there are certain similarities in their management modes -- adopting Taylorism.

That is, the enterprises make strict standards on working contents and time, and workers must complete tasks in accordance with the standards. This not only makes the operation more standardized, but also greatly improves the production efficiency. However, we can also see that two enterprises have different in the reception of Taylorism. In contrast, the reception of Taylorism by Foxconn may be more rigid. Under the guidance of Taylorism, Foxconn pays more attention to production efficiency instead of the workers.

It pays less attention to workers , strict management makes the workers in great pressure . But Toyota adopts Taylorism selectively, combining with the actual situation of their own company and external environment, and has critical thinking on Taylorism. Since Toyota forms the most suitable management model, it has made great achievements in the competitive market.

Conclusion Through the analysis above, we can conclude that Taylorism had a significance effect in the history of management thought, and it also had a profound impact to companies on scientific management. However, adopting Taylorism may be effective on improving production efficiency to an enterprise, but when taking the workers into account, it may not be very perfect. Because of the changing times, Taylorism may not necessarily adapt to enterprises from different countries, and for an enterprise, adopting Taylorism also has its advantages and shortcomings.