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Compare and Contrast between the Scientific Schools of thought

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 1812 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This essay will distinguish the major schools of thoughts which are scientific school of thought and behavioural school of thought. It will also talk about the theorists of each school of thought and how they occurred and will also cover concepts and theories about them. After all the literature review and the explanation of the discussion conclusion will be looked upon as to which of these are more suitable for management in business.

By looking at this essay we will be able to understand how management theory concerns with appropriate management practices and how it has been used in today’s time.

The classical management theories includes scientific management, which concentrates on matching person-task to maximize efficiency and behavioral management, which concentrates on how managers should lead and control their employees to increase the performance.

The Scientific School Of Thought

Another branch of the classical school of management is the scientific management approach. It stresses the idea of researching and developing a comprehensive management solution. Managers apply the principles of scientific management in an accurate and precise manner. The task of increasing the productivity of an organization through scientific management is the main responsibility of the manager. Frederick Winslow Taylor is a major representative of the scientific school of thought.

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Fredrick Winslow Taylor, an American mechanical engineer who wanted to improve the industrial efficiency. He was known as the father of scientific management. According to Frederick Winslow Taylor “Scientific Management is the art of knowing exactly what you want your men to do and seeing that they do it in the cheapest way”. It means conducting business activities according to standardized tools, methods and trained personnel in order to increase the output improve its quality and reduce cost and wastage. He believed that by exactly analyzing work it would be possible to find ‘one best way’ to do it.

The Behaviorist School of Thought

It is the study of how managers should act in order to motivate employees and built confidence to perform at a higher level and be there committed to the achievement of organizational goals.

Behaviorist management focuses on the whole organization. It concentrates on managerial principles relatively than working methods. According to the Behaviorist School of thought good working conditions would enlarge morale and worker’s satisfaction which in return increases productivity of the organization. Elton Mayo has played an important role in the study of human resources. One of his most popular works is the Hawthorne studies. He conducted a number of investigations to improve the productivity, for example changing lighting conditions in the workplace. Thus, the behavioral school focuses on trying to understand the factors that affect human behavior at work. Elton Mayo and Hawthorne Studies are the major representatives of this school of thought.

Elton Mayo (1880-1949) was an Australian born psychologist, sociologist and organization theorist, who emerged as the founder of the human relations movement due to his expertise in field of industrial sociology .Elton Mayo is well-known for his research, the Hawthorne experiments which explained the importance of groups that affect an individual’s behavior at work .Mayo stressed on the fact that people and organization needed each other. According to him an efficient manager is one who is capable of combining technical knowledge with social proficiency.

Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne experiments which is also known as the Hawthorne effect was conducted among employees of the Hawthorne Works factory of the Western Electric Company in Chicago in 1927. The Company co-ordinate with the national research council to explore the connection between the passion of explanation at work and the output. The tests were conducted for the next five years in the relay assessment test room among six female workers, five of whom had to assemble telephone relays and one would supply parts to them. They were subjected to changes like hours, wages, rest periods, lighting conditions, organization, and degree of supervision and consultation in order to determine what conditions would affect performance or work output. Accurate records were kept of what they do their comments about work and various other things that kept up the spirit of the workers. Five years later when all the changes were withdrawn and the workers were made to get back to their original mode of work there was significant increase in the output.

The Hawthorne experiments helped in discovering the significance of informal organization. These experiments proved that people will work harder when they are being observed and it also emphasized the meaning of team work.

The School of Scientific Management was found by Frederick Winslow Taylor .He believed in the theory that management could be improved if it was seen as a science. He had four principles of management.

1) Science not rule of thumb.

2) Separation of planning and operational work.

3) Harmony not discord.

4) Co-operation not individualism

Elton mayo found both Human Relations and Industrial sociology. Mayo began his involvement in 1928.Among the many companies he worked for, one of the mills in Philadelphia he introduced certain changes in the working conditions which increased productivity and reduced the labour turnover. The Hawthorne Experiment which was one of the turning points in management history was conducted by Elton Mayo and it was seen through Hawthorne experiments that workers needed to cooperate and communicate with fellow workers, and thus there was a discovery of the informal organization. The Hawthorne studies have had a dramatic effect on management in

Organizations and how people react to different situation (Ray Donnelly 2000, pg 11/4 and 13/6)

Taylor was of the concept that a raise in pay motivated the workers to work harder. Taylor believed that in order to motivate the workers, the management has to pay the worker some type of incentive. This incentive could be in the form of higher wages, bonuses for extra pieces produced if the pay is according to piece rate or it could be any type of fringe benefits like accommodation, car, health services etc and it was because of this workmen would work harder thus it would increase the productivity of the firm and earn higher profits. (Derek S. Pugh and David J Hickson 1996, pg 102-106) On the other hand Elton Mayo had a view that people are willing to work harder if they feel their work makes a difference and is appreciated. According to Mayo, changes in the working conditions like working in teams, developing a team spirit can improve productivity and efficiency of the work. (Peter Stimpson 2002, pg.229)

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Taylor’s approach towards management was to build up co-operation between the workers and the management in other words workers were selected and trained by the management in such a way that the worker performs the job which is assigned to him by the management, when the management asks the worker to work he works and when he is told to rest he rests. If the worker has to say something regarding the workplace and he says that I think the management replies that it’s not what you think it’s you do. Scientific management viewed people at work more as machines, with financial needs, than as humans in a social setting. There is no doubt that money is an important motivator but Taylor also over looked that people also work for reasons other than money Taylor also had very less concern for psychological or human aspects of work. (Derek S. Pugh and David J Hickson 1996, pg 102-106) Scientific management has its very foundation the firm conviction that the true interests of the two are one and the same; that prosperity for the employer cannot exist through a long term of years unless it is accompanied by prosperity for the employee, and vice versa; and that it is possible to give the workman what he most wants–high wages–and the employer what he wants–a low labor cost–for his manufactures.

The objectives of mayo followed guidelines which included the concern for the betterment of the worker who worked with them. They aimed to build an organization which fulfilled the needs of the employees so that they work with satisfaction and develop a sense of responsibility towards their organization. This way he could learn more about Human aspect which was his major concern.

Mayo was very clear about the concept of work satisfaction for the workers, in order to achieve this particular objective the company took steps such as introducing new sessions. The managers were provided with tools which was called the social needs it included activities such as communication with worker and solving their issues to come out with efficient results.co-operation can be maintained throughout the organization if the tools are used appropriately by the manager. Informal communication should be encouraged. An informal leader helps set targets for each group.(Ray Donnelly 2000 , pg 13/6 )

Other than the differences there were a lot of similarities between the two Schools, the main similarity seen between the two schools were that they both focused mainly on increasing productivity, Taylor tried to increase the productivity by giving incentives to the workers whereas Mayo’s method were team work and co operation with the other members of the team so that productivity could be increased. The other similarity which was seen in both of the methods was the rest pauses. Rest pauses were introduced by both Taylor and Mayo so that workers would not get tired and would work for longer hours so that organization could earn high profit. The job which is being assigned to the workers is the same in both the systems.

To infer, it can be seen that even though both the schools thought on management differed on many grounds, they aimed at maximizing productivity and industrial efficiency. In the modern management scenario the manager has to mix all the theories and practice them to achieve organizations objectives. Both theories have their own advantages and disadvantages, but if seen from a broader perspective, neither is right or wrong. Scientific management is a more flexible system when it comes to managing the worker whereas, Human Relations Movement gave more importance to the needs of the worker and that worker should be satisfied with his job. If used well, the management can obtain an extra edge in terms of productivity and efficiency.


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