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Scientific Management

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The advent of the industrial revolution brought new ways to mass produce products in a more efficient and systematic way than ever before. It likewise revolutionized the way in which people were organized in order to maximize these new ways of production. Pragmatic concepts gave way to full fledge organizational theory which progressively provided more rational understanding of the phenomenon collectively known as organization. Taylor’s scientific management; Fayol’s administrative theory; The Weber’s bureaucracy and organizational structure and Simon’s administrative behavior underpin the core of what’s termed “the build-up of the industrial society”. The following essay aims to analyze the respective concepts and highlight the concept that most closely resembles my interaction and experience through organizational life.

In 1909, Frederick Winslow Taylor published his seminal work "The Principles of Scientific Management." where he proposed that by optimizing and simplifying tasks, productivity would increase. Contrary to the general practice of the day Taylor believed that productivity can be best optimized by increasing collaboration between workers and their managers. According to the text book, “since the employee and the handling of his work process was the starting point, Taylor’s approach is categorized as bottoms up approach.” In order to maximize efficiency of the production process Taylor, levering his background mechanical engineering, designed various methods to quantify the productive value of different activities; while at the same time documenting the correlation to the tools systems and slight variations that yielded the best output.

The so-called “match workers to their jobs based on capability and motivation, and train them to work at maximum efficiency” or “time and motion” (Wikipedia 2017) concept evolved into Taylor’s understanding that efficiency can be harnessed by matching the right profile to the right job. Although Taylor’s is the oldest of the four theoretical concepts in some ways some of the core practices continue to this day, primarily in technical and industrial environment where reliance on inter-related activities yields the most productive output. In time, Taylor’s overreliance on quantitative and process driving data gathering and its rigid concepts “the one right way” to accomplish a task led to criticism such as the fact it discounts or undervalue human input and flexibility that leads to creative new ways to achieve productivity.

Henri Fayol’s administrative theory essentially minds the gap left behind by Taylor by focusing on management, in other words, human aspects, as opposed to Taylor’s technical concentration on task performance. Through his take on scientific management theory Fayol succeeded in moving the narrative from the technical to the administrative process which are central to his theory expounded in the "14 Principles of Management" in the book "Administration Industrielle et Générale." (Wikipedia 2017) Fayol's "14 Principles." As an engineer and director of one of France’s largest mining companies at the time Fayol was in a position to gather careful details which he translated into his principles. One of its central tenets is that “coordination is based on a hierarchical pyramid structure in which the members of the organization are linked to each other and there must be clarity in the organizational structure.” Laegaard & Bindslev (2006). Furthermore, specialization or the careful segregation of groups of people into department is a more efficient way for activities to be leveraged most effectively. Although one of the earliest theories of management to be created, remains one of the most wide-ranging. He's considered to be among the most influential contributors to the modern practice of management.

Max Weber, known as the father of sociology, also developed a concept, left a significant imprint on the field of scientific management albeit from a broader perspective than his predecessors, Taylor and Fayol. Weber was primarily concerned with the role of bureaucracy in society. The bureaucracy as envisioned by Weber is described by hierarchical organizations or actions taken on the basis of activities which are recorded in written rules. These activities are led by bureaucratic officials requiring expert training and career advancement depends on technical qualifications valued by the organization, as opposed to individuals. Due to the increasing complexity of modern organization Weber determined that certain characteristics must be maintained to establish the level of order, which leads to productivity. Some of the bureaucratic characteristics can

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