The science behind Taylor’s ‘principles of scientific management'

Dean, Cecilia M.: The science behind Taylor’s ‘principles of scientific management'. Proceedings of the "Scientific Management" and Management Science Today International Scientific Conference. pp. 100-112. (2011)

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The concept of Taylor’s scientific management dominated during the middle of the twentieth century, in spite of early and strong criticism about the dehumanizing effect of its mechanistic approach to work on the workforce. While not wanting to join in the pro- and con-debates, this paper analyses where Taylor’s propositions are still valid, albeit updated, by exploring the ‘science’ and the ‘management’ of his theory. Taylor maintained that scientific management is generic and applicable to all levels and to all groups. The challenge was to determine what is meant by a science or sciences of human society; how do the underlying laws, rules and principles of the different sciences apply to different groups of society; and how relevant are Taylor’s concepts today, are they still around, where and to what effect? Results from this evaluation indicate that, as alluded to by Taylor, scientific management is not a single science, but a combination of different natural sciences, including mechanical and life sciences, and therefore subject to different natural laws. It is furthermore not a generic theory, not applicable to all groups, but versions of the mechanistic application are still very much alive and valid in certain identifiable organizational sectors and functions. A century after the publication of Taylor’s theory of scientific management, the challenges, already partially acknowledged by academics and organizations, should be to accept that earlier concepts by theorists like Taylor are still valid today within different types of science, supported by different laws and applicable to different groups, yet interrelated. Accepting the importance of scientific perspective the focus of research can move on from debating the differences, to addressing questions of whether the continued insistence of processual improvements can be sustained and who are the real winners and losers of scientific management.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the "Scientific Management" and Management Science Today International Scientific Conference
Date: 2011
Page Range: pp. 100-112
ISBN: 978-963-306-176-3
Additional Information: Bibliogr.: p. 110-112. ; összefoglalás angol nyelven
Date Deposited: 2019. May. 15. 13:09
Last Modified: 2019. May. 15. 13:09

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