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The Influence of the Theory of Scientific Management in the Design of the Modern Organisation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Management
Wordcount: 2176 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The theory of scientific management will be examined through illustrations, analysis, and my researches from course syllabus, seminars and Ryanair case studies.   The approach will be through the following procedures, its principles, strengths, weakness, similarities, remedies and its impact on modern organisation design, ending with critical conclusion.

F.W Taylor  and scientific management was associated with  process design in the 19th century in the united states during rapid industrialisation and skilled labour was scarce hence jobs need to design best fit for unskilled  labours best ability.  “Scientific management” movement was found by Frederick Taylor “The principal object of management “, he states “should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, couple with the maximum prosperity of each employee”. (Pugh D. S., 2007)

Fredrick Taylor came up with five principles, finding the best ways of doing any task must be examined by scientific procedures. The best employee must be selected for the task, staff.  Staff must be trained to follow structured procedures. Financial incentives must be the reward. Workers must be separated from the responsibility of planning. (Boddy, 2016)


 Principles of finding the best ways of doing any task were similar to Ryanair were top management functions, Michael O Leary as chief executive , with two other deputies, there are individual executives delegated for every group of employees such as pilots, customers, engineers and others . Principle of staff must be separated from the responsibility of planning relates to Ryanaiar`s governance management delegates responsibilities with clear divisions in writing. The chair has extensive industrial background with business acumen. Ryanair has established documented integrity and ethical standards of values which applies to all Ryanair employees with approved channels to raise concerns and report to the Audit Committee. (Boddy, 2016)

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The principle of staff must be trained to follow structured procedures are also similar to Ryan air’s people management, there is scientific selection and progressive career development and social training. Employees have equal opportunities criteria for promotions and selections based on merits. The principles of financial incentives, labour costing with continues improvements and compensations with pay incentives, for flight crews and pilots. (Boddy, 2016)


The principles of the best ways to doing any task must be examined using scientific procedures manifested within Ryanair. For example fatigue management is shared responsibility between it crews and Ryanair. Ryanair independent verifications and a flexible approach to fatigue management form an integral part of the Safety Management System for Ryanair and the Irish Aviation Authority regular audit. (Boddy, 2016)

The principles of the best ways to doing any task must examine using scientific procedures, Ryanair  seats are valued only when filled using dynamic pricing, the fare is higher nearer to the date of departure, if seats are empty nearer to departure fare are reduced. Ryanair has competitive agreements partnership with agents at airports for aircraft operations and its own internet booking to eliminate travel agents’ commissions. (Boddy, 2016)

Other management models that are similar to scientific management include ,  Braver man, managers are agents of their owners redesigning organisations are mostly in order of profit levels, with the need to continually develop procedures of maximum control of staff to increase  division of labour into smaller  and lesser fragments and hence cheaper  less skilled and less trained for less wages. This is a fact of scientific management based on unskilled or less skilled labour to be trained to scientifically. (Pugh & Hickson, 2007)

Scientific management was also opposed by Douglas McGregor on two distinctive contrasting human perspectives Theory X labelled for lazy people and theory Y for positive people always willing to work. McGregor’s Theory X proclaimed the average employee dislike work and will possibly avoid it, hence management needs to enforce productivity through financial incentives for a fair days work and to prevent the “restriction of output” Employees need to be controlled, at times punished t to make adequate effort towards the organisational objectives, similar to scientific managements theories of “economic man” and financial rewards. Hofstede noted   McGregor theories of X and Y were based on Western culture society perspectives unlikely to work emergent economic process. (Boddy, 2016)

Scientific management creates the de- skilling and alienations for workers. Workers are likely to be undermining, for capitalist objectives of profit maximization. 

Hence organizing labour is not for efficiency rather it is about the domination of capital over labour. Max Webber (1864-1920) the father of Modern Sociology was the first to come up with the term “bureaucracy” to describe organisations formation. Max Webber contributions were ensuring high skilled specialisation, makes division of labour replacement easier. Hence principles for organising and regulating rules were more predictable stability. (Boddy, 2016)

Hence structured procedures have a tendency to overrule other important organisational goals .Human relations become bases on duties and responsibilities thus de humanising staff and decision making becomes programmed prevent alternative innovations. Mary Parker Follett remedy was bureaucracy with scientific management to treat people according to their human and social needs, people working as a team which also similar to management of objectives model. (Boddy, 2016)

Remedy for scientific management was the importance of  adequate communication systems, and working in groups and teams mostly from workers towards management which Mayo and Hawthorne observations have provided  much to the management models to have a better understanding of  human  situations at work

Braverman concluded Taylor`s scientific management was not scientific enough since it is all about the science of controlling others under capitalist conditions. And the de skilling of labour is the degrading of work and hence families, communities and society at large. (Pugh D. S., 2007) (Pugh & Hickson, 2007)

Mary Parker Follet  (1868- 1993)  and Elton Mayo advocated replacing bureaucratic institutions with the networking of people as a tool for analysing problems and implement their solutions as a true democracy which will tap the potential of all society and encouraging individuals and groups to accept responsibility. Equity theory by J Stacey Adams explained employees like fair treatment and will compare  their efforts, skills knowledge to the rewards recognition satisfaction and pay which lead to trade union objectives. (Boddy, 2016)

Scientific management theories and  its impact on modern organisations are some of the following. Morden organisation have more flexible mechanisms for financial reward known as perks such as cafeteria benefits, compensation packages, life insurance, medical care, housing and company cars as some of their reward strategies to reinforce the corporate culture to sustain their workforce. (Boddy, 2016)

Modern organisations employees focus on lifetime career management that involves managerial training, professional approach to work like doctors, lawyers and minsters with hierarchical progression than just seeking to be owners and managers as it is in scientific management.  Modern organisations are more administrative, career manager’s focus on strategic policy formulation for stability rather than profit maximization for its owners. Even were profits are made stakeholders rather reinvested in the organisations rather than dividends pay-outs, the focus is on keeping employees fully employed for sustainable growth. (Chandler, 1996)

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The various opportunities and needs of modern managerial task required different skills since industries are different and to understand each other they need to pull their knowledge and skills together for capacity building with share industrial knowledge.  Approach to modern organisations includes diversity and equal opportunities Torrington (2008) with the use of legislation to enhance corporate social responsibility, and prevent exploitation and thus reducing disputes enhancing creative problem solving. Decision making was authentic reflecting authority and assurance. Management applies efficient procedures to be achieving effective targets. (Boddy, 2016) (Chandler, 1996)

Elton Mayo concepts theories were productivity improved when employees experienced job satisfaction and were involved  in decisions making, have greater freedom and control over their work, whiles forming social teams with norms  and expectations.“Mayo’s studies introduced the concepts of `social man’, in contrast to the `economic’ man of scientific management based on financial incentives whiles human relationships and loyalties were for the former. Human beings have social needs they need to satisfy – and how the achieve them may influence management objectives. (Boddy, 2016)

Evidence with Herzberg`s concepts came from Sauermann and Cohen (2010) on motivation factors and performance were found in robust relationships between desires for income, intellectual and independence challenges. There are many examples of redesigning work that resulted in positive effects, many of these have no idea of the Herzberg`s theory. (Boddy, 2016)

Scientific management remedies include job enrichment models to enhance human motivation, experts’ ideas from Maslow, Herzberg and McGregor promoted satisfying higher intrinsic needs at work to encourage productivity, (motivators as in Herzberg`s) and extrinsic one (hygiene factors Herzberg) these will encourage job enrichment Hackman and Oldham 1980) also provided job enriched models. (Boddy, 2016)

For change to occur Pfeffer and Sutton (2006) concluded management must base their actions on relevant evidences with substantiated theories and to enable people become more disciple in their thinking. Hence when people continue learning whiles acting on the best scientific knowledge available, organisation will benefit from evidence based management which can bring substantial innovations to whatever  management models are in operation. (Boddy, 2016)

Taylor theories of scientific management critically was in the late 1840 an era with less regulatory professional bodies or peer reviews, nearly all managers were owners or stockholders within the organisations they manage. Apart from the above influences  F.W. Taylor scientific management theories occurred in the 19th century in America when it was a “necessity” with a very few management models and since skilled work was “scared” at that time of rapid industrialisation hence  those in that century have less choice and rights than to accept F.W. Taylor scientific management theories. (Chandler, 1996) (Boddy, 2016)


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