Frederick Winslow Taylor, author of “The Principles of Scientific Management,” plainly lays out the guidelines for scientific management and provides more than enough examples of how it is used, and he feels strongly that it can improve any workplace. The process is summarized in his groupings:
First. They develop a science for each element of a man’s work, which replaces the old rule-of-thumb method.
Second. They scientifically select and then train, teach, and develop the workman, whereas in the past he chose his own work and trained himself as best he could.
Third. They heartily cooperate with the men so as to insure all of the work being done in accordance with the principles of the science which has been developed.
Fourth. There is an almost equal division of the work and the responsibility between the management and the workmen. The management take over all work for which they are better fitted than the workmen, while in the past almost all of the work and the greater part of the responsibility were thrown upon the men. (Taylor 15-16)
Scientific management is more than just Taylor’s theory. It applies to my own job experience. For the past two and a half years I have worked at Dairy Queen making ice cream cones, cheeseburgers, interacting with customers, etc. After reading Taylor’s book I realize that scientific management is much more efficient at my job than the “initiative and incentive” management (14).
The First group dictates the need for developing certain ways to do things. For example, at Dairy Queen, using the cash registers and drive-thru headsets, cooking burgers, and making ice cream cones are all to be done in a specific way. If they are not done properly, customers will not be satisfied, and equipment could possibly be damaged. The upper-management, such as shift managers and the store owner, control these regulations in order to create a positive dining experience for our customers.
Next, the Second group explains that management selects workers who are qualified to do the job. At Dairy Queen prospective employees fill out job applications so that the management knows before hiring anybody what their skills are. Then they choose who they think would be best and interview them to further weed out incompetent workers. Newly hired workers are initially in a “training” period for about two to three months where everything they need to know is demonstrated, and during which time they practice making products with the help of an experienced worker or a shift manager.
As the Third group states, the managers cooperate with the workers to insure that everything is being done the way they had intended, which is exactly what happens at Dairy Queen. On every shift, there is some type of management alongside the workers, supervising efficiency and accuracy, and offering encouragement to those who are less adept.
Lastly, the Fourth group of scientific management, in which the management and workers share responsibility appropriately and the management takes on the tasks that the workers are unable to do, applies to the way Dairy Queen is run. Although management is paid more money, they do the same job as the workers. They make blizzards and burgers and interact with customers, just as the other workers do, but they also take inventory for the store and do reports, which basically confirm that the registers have the correct amount of money in them, because they are more fit to do so.
Scientific management is definitely a solid foundation for a successful workplace, as demonstrated by the Dairy Queen example and the examples in Taylor’s books, and can improve anything that uses a different system.