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scientific management in modern society

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Scientific management also known as Taylorism (Mitchan 2005) is a set of rules that govern job design in manufacturing department. Taylor(1911), the pioneer of scientific management first came up with the theory in the late nineteenth century after viewing widespread inefficient work or soldiering among workers. Taylor’s promotion of time and motion study, production-control methods and incentive pay” (Burrell and Morgan 1979,Littler 1982 cited in Green 1986) has made great contributions to the boom of production since they were applied in practice. With the emergence of knowledge and information society which is science, technology and innovation intensified (Fagerberg, landstorm,Martin 2012 ),whether scientific management is still appropriate and effective in the modern society is uncertain. This article will explore suitability of scientific management in the new era. Firstly, principles of scientific management and influence of these principles in practical management will be reviewed followed by critiques of scientific management pointed out in the human relations movement. Then analysis of appropriateness and inappropriateness of scientific management in modern organizations will be illustrated in detail. Finally, conclusions will be made upon how to apply scientific management in the modern organization with modification of its demerits and giving full play to its merits to satisfy the demand of modern society.

Principles and influence
The principles of scientific management are major component of Taylorism. Taylor assumes that people are economic men who are so rational and self-interested that they can only be motivated by remuneration. The approaches of scientific management are based on several principles. First, tasks should be divided into simplest components. Second, management should integrate all knowledge in a particular industry and transforms knowledge into rules that can be precisely carried out. Third, all brain jobs should be separated from direct workers and leave them with planning sectors. Fourth, skill requirements should be minimized in performing tasks. Fifth, the layout of equipment and facilities must minimize motion and time taken (Bratton et al. 2010).

Next, we will look at how these principles of scientific management have influenced the conduction of management later. A typical application of scientific management is Fordism who practiced division of labor and management of time and motion in the assembly line which made mass production and product boom possible. It is described as economic expansion based on a mass production using unskilled workers(Burrows, Gilbert & Pollert 1992) and partitions of complicated tasks into simple parts with the aid of tools(Tolliday & Zeitlin 1987). So It seems Ford has inherited the principles of minimization of skill requirements and division of work from Taylorism. Another successful application of Taylorism may be the JIT production approach, originated by Ford, but perfectly applied by Toyota. According to Schermerhorn(1996), JIT is a system known for its efficiency and productivity of Japanese companies by reducing cost and improving workflow with material needed in production arrive just in time. It is fair and reasonable to judge that Ford absorbed some ideas of Taylor and scientific management into JIT approach development, such as time study(Petersen 2002). Taylorism also has influence on other modern management methods like TQM (total quality control), a model used in both manufacturing and service industries in pursuit of continuous improvement, or kaizen (Boje & Winsor 1993). Merkle (1980) believes that continuous improvement calls for a standardized program that can be measured and reproduced, so tasks are regulated and carried out in a way indistinguishable from scientific management.

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