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Discussing Scientific Management

The workforce of our century diverse more and more and the organizations do their best to transform their differences into profit. Personnel always been important to organizations, but the importance of the human capital increased in today’s knowledge-based organizations around the globe. The first attempts to understand behavior in organizations focused on how to make workers to work more in minimum time along with the machines. Since the phenomenon called scientific management devitalized, which originated with Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), the science of behavior became extremely valuable.

According to Taylor, it was clear that the employees were far beyond their capacities in the industry. He tried to analyze the motions and movements of the laborers, focusing on the distribution between work and rest. Each aspect of the work procedure obtained a well suited method and other theorists started to rebuild the body of the scientific management. Theorists like Henry L. Gantt, who invented the Gantt chart or the mathematician and statistician Carl G. L. Barth, who helped Taylor in analytical approach. Inventions like the first decimal stopwatch by Sanford E.

Thompson followed and Walter Shewhart statistic approach introduced the technical tools which helped management. Back in 1912 used to call the big

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turn in to scientific management “the efficiency movement” and moving forward to our time we discovered the human factor as the greatest asset of an organization. There are motivation theories in contrast to Taylor’s approach, several major human relations contributors and the critics of the Human Resources Management who deserve exploration. From Taylorism to Motivation and round

Many decision makers seem to dislike Taylorism for many different reasons. One of the reasons is the fact that they consider Taylor’s principles expensive since he is building supervisors and indirect workers. Taylor divides the work performed by a gang boss to eight men: route clerks, instruction card clerks, cost and time clerks, gang bosses, speed bosses, inspectors, repair bosses and a shop disciplinarian (Taylor, 1964, p. 104). Merkle back in 1980 also claimed that Taylorism creates jobs in the production process for the middle class.

At the same time well known organizations adjust Taylorism to fit their needs. As an example, Toyota modified the proposed structure of Taylor by cutting down the cost of the indirect employees. As a result, the first level supervisors, is necessary to supervise and work on the line. They use to call themselves team leaders and according to Grinning the main difference is the production work which has to offer a Toyota team leader in contrast to a Taylorist low level supervisor.

Taylorism since the beginning is opposite with democratic beliefs and autonomy. In our modern western societies the loss of autonomy is for sure out of question. The enrichment of our jobs mainly focuses on different human skills and is not trying to fit human skills like Taylorism into information systems. Taylorism stands next to bureaucratization and unpleasant work and there’s no space for flexibility. The discipline after all is not always the best or the only method to achieve productivity.

Xu noted that the emanation of an organization’s poor performance mostly reflects in their lack of human resources strategy. The researchers in the middle of the twentieth century treated mainly human nature through two major angles. The one which enhanced the approach of Taylor which considered people apathetic and the second one based upon Hawthorn’s findings which considered motivation as an internal stimulation and therefore the benefit is mutual for themselves and the society.

The 1970s found the organizations strictly hierarchical and bureaucratic. And that is something quite reasonable considering the commitment to mass production or the piece rate system in the West. No space for creativity, no space for innovation till the arrival of the Japanese management in the 1980s. The Clutterbuck and Goldsmith (1984) literature admirably detected the power of team working and empowerment. Parallel with motivation theories, leadership theories were trying to explain the connection between external factors and motivation.

I will mention some studies at this point which established the interdependence between motivation and the external environment, originally McGregor (1960), going to House (1971), Fiedler (1978), and Hersey and Blanchard (1993). And if we focus in rational economic theories of today in combination, we end on studies such as Agency Theory (Fama and Jensen, 1983) and Human Capital theory (Barney, 1991), which predicted the arrival of our modern reward and performance management systems. As a conclusion and beyond any doubt Taylorism insists in the main sectors of the economy.

The Taylor’s methods adapt quite easily and a great amount of energy required breaking away. I do not consider Taylorism or Neo-Taylorism invincible but there are exceptions such the routine based parts of the mass production. We will have to remember that a clear cut distinction is not always possible as Taylorism modifies and transforms. Theories of Motivation Managers in an organization are facing every day a series of motivation tasks. How it works, which theory is the most appropriate and when they will have to apply a new motivation policy.

Motivation means attitudes and values directed to achieve result. Sigmund Freud was not such a lover of people and he insists that people are lazy and the managers will have to police their staff. The stick and carrot theory leads for sure to failure and of course any kind of achievement is not the case. Freud’s suggestions are reward, coerce, intimidates and punish as described in the theory ‘X’. Theory ‘Y’ issued by Douglas Mc Gregor states that the cash payment reward is less important than the challenging work.

And the right manager needs to transform the personal target for fulfillment in the organization to maximize productivity. Abraham Maslow introduced the humanistic school and focused on the significance of human work. Theory ‘Z’ as introduced by Maslow next to hierarchy of needs theory it is the basis of the McGregor theory. Maslow divides human need as physiological needs, safety needs, love needs, esteem needs and self actualization needs which are the highest. Assumes that people needs are unsatisfied and when they are reaching a level of satisfaction they are heading to the next one.

As higher the level the characteristics are responsibility and integrity. Maslow even though he was criticized, his philosophic synthesis of the Marx’s economic and physical needs, Freud’s physical and love needs, Adler’s esteem needs and Goldstein’s self-actualization theory remains unique. The motivation/hygiene theory developed by Frederick Herzberg (1966, 1968) and it was based upon analysis of the data collected after a series of interviews of two hundred engineers and accountants in Pittsburgh area.

He summarized people needs in two types, the animal needs (hygiene factors) and the human needs (motivators). He states that if we are not satisfied on hygiene factors we may be de-motivated and if we are satisfied their motivational contribution is quite limited. The complexity of the psychological approach of motivation forced Herzberg to deal with motivation myths such as shorter working week and increased wages. Chris Argyris proposed the reconstruction of the organization in order to achieve the highest use of it’s greatest resource, the employees.

Pyramidal structure belongs to the past and decisional small groups will decide instead of a single gang boss. Material reward comes after work satisfaction. Challenge and find a meaning through a self-motivation model. Rensis Likert identified the management types and divided them in four styles. The styles were the exploitative-authoritative, the benevolent-authoritative, the consultative and the participative. He ended that the most attractive one was the participative because it covers mostly the human needs and the major targets including increased productivity.

Groups with just few members are the decision makers and the trust among them leads to a higher level of motivation. Contingency approach extended to transform into Vroom’s expectancy theory. Vroom believes that each group and each situation requires a different approach. In some of the cases a group of people decides and in some others directly and exclusively the boss. The expectancy theory stands next to individual rewards and upholds the belief that what’s important for me as a reward it may not be for you since we are all unique.

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