After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Introduction to Scientific Management 2. Opposition to Scientific Management 3. Basic Approach.

Introduction to Scientific Management:

The early decades of this century witnessed the emergence of Scientific Management. This school of thought attempted to introduce a rational, systematic approach to work and to the management of work. In his early writings F. W. Taylor referred to his ideas as Task Management. In 1910 Louis Brandeis coined the word Scientific Management. F. W. Taylor got recognition as the Father of Scientific Management. He wrote a book on ‘The Principles of Management’ in the year 1911.

The primary emphasis of scientific management was on planning, standardizing and improving human effort at the operative level in order to maximize output with minimum input. Taylor believed that managing should be based on objective assessment of facts, on measurement and not on guess work. Scientific Management is the result of applying scientific knowledge and the scientific methods to the various aspects of management and the problems that arise from them.

Taylor thought that by maximizing the productive efficiency of each worker, scientific manage­ment would also maximize the earnings of the employees and employers. The upshot of the scientific management movement was a mechanistic view of the transforma­tion process as well as a mechanistic view of the worker’s role in the system.


Scientific Management could be summarized as:

(i) Science, not rule of thumb,

(ii) Harmony, not discord,

(iii) Cooperation, not individualism,


(iv) Maximum output, in place of restricted output, and

(v) The development of each worker to his greatest efficiency and prosperity.

Opposition to Scientific Management:

Scientific Management was an innovation and, as such, received tremendous opposition. During Taylor’s life time and in spite of support of other pioneers in the field such as Louis Brandeis, James Dodge, and Henry Towne, opposition to this change retarded the spread of the basic idea of scientific management in the beginning. Primary resistance, instead from workers community, came from management itself which was not prepared to discard old rules of thumb in favour of scientific approach (i.e., scientific manage­ment).

Another cause for opposition was the feeling that scientific management treated workers like cogs in a well-oiled machine and that the system destroyed humanistic practices in industry. Later on when, with the use of scientific management, greater efficiency was achieved in industrial operations and productivity increased, principles of scientific management started spreading rapidly throughout the industry.

Basic Approach of Scientific Management:


(i) Analyse work scientifically. Investigate all aspects of work on a scientific basis rather than using rules of thumb.

(ii) Provide specific guidelines for worker performance.

(iii) Develop one best way of doing a job (using Time and Motion Studies).

(iv) Select workers best suited to perform the specific tasks,


(v) Train and develop each workman in the most efficient method for doing the job.

(vi) Divide the work so that workmen and management share almost equally in the daily perfor­mance of each task; workers do their jobs as per the standards laid down and Management does planning and makes sure that all aspects are ready at the right time so that the resultant efficiency is high.

(vii) Achieve support and cooperation from workmen by arranging conditions, services, guidance and by giving them greater economic rewards which in turn are obtained through increased efficiency and productivity. Scientific Management removed the worker’s discretion in planning, organising and controlling of his own task performance. Rather, Scientific management required that, management should plan, organise and control task performance.

Management should:


(i) Standardize methods,

(ii) Adopt best implements and working conditions, and

(iii) Obtain cooperation from workmen (by paying them extra) so that work can be done faster.