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Scientific Management and the Human Relations Approach

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Scientific Management and the Human Relations Approach

Scientific Management and Human Relations


Name: Muhammed Bilal Uddin

ID number: H00140702

Word Count: 1410

There are various methods of running an organization and all seem to have their strengths and shortcomings. A company’s success to a great extent depends on the method they choose to use. According to Grey (2009) the two leading methods are Scientific Organization and Human Relations Theory, which can greatly improve a company’s efficiency in regard to their employees, which will lead to an improvement in the company’s overall productivity. Grey suggests that both the theories have the same end goal but their ways of achieving those goals differ to a certain extent.

Scientific Management, which is also known as Taylorism was theory formulated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the late 1800s and was considered very influential in the early 1900s. The theory involves the analysis of workflow to improve economic efficiency and productivity of the work force, it also involved using incentives to encourage workers. Frederick Taylor was an Engineer who worked in the steel and iron industry, it was during his time there when he developed most of his theories as he had means to test them by directly implementing them. Henry Gantt later perfected this theory.

The Human Relations Theory was founded by Elton Mayo. He carried out his experiments at the Hawthorne plant in the 1930s. He suggested that if the managers or employers cared for their employees and took an interest in their work it would motivate them greatly and have a positive result on their work. He also suggested that workers are the most productive in teams and were more productive and motivated if their managers and employers took their suggestions into consideration.

Chris Grey suggests that the differences between the methods are ‘tactical’. This suggests that the short term plans and tasks that need to be carried out differ while the long-term goals and accomplishments are the same

According to Taylor the organizational methods used during his time prevented workers from maximizing their output. Workers restricted their output so that they were able to work easier and not much was demanded from them. Taylor believed that the main objective of management was to ensure maximum benefit for the employer, which was then followed by the interests of the employees. He thought that all of this could be improved if he treated it as a science. This led to him coming up with principles of management that would help both employees and their employers to achieve maximum productivity and profit. Taylor said the job of each worker should be broken down into segments and the process for it should be figured out using what he called ‘scientific investigation’. Work should be divided among all employees and managers should cooperate with their subordinates. The development and training of workers should be carried out scientifically.

Mayo suggests that to attain its targets, an organization needs to respect and understand its employees and give them recognition where it’s due as this will provide them with non-monetary satisfaction and motivation. He claimed that workers were further motivated by their social needs being fulfilled and forming good relationships with co-workers and superiors.

Taylor was certain that money was the only thing that would motivate workers to carry out their jobs. Due to this he was positive that raising the monetary reward would lead to an increase in productivity and keep employees satisfied. According to Scientific Management workers are lazy and keep looking for ways to reduce the work they are given, but the only thing that can motivate them is monetary incentives. It also states that organizing, designing and planning are the responsibility of the manager while the performance is a task for the workers. According to Scientific Management not only will the workers be compensated for performing well, they will also be penalized for performing poorly. This would need the workers to be analyzed while on the job and be provided with set targets and objectives and a set reward that would be given once these were attained.

Mayo suggested that there were other forms of motivating workers besides monetary reward. His experiments carried out at the Hawthorne plant proved that social ties between the teams were strong enough that employees would place the team’s benefits above personal financial gain. (Web, 2008)

This contradicted Taylor’s theories and was more widely accepted as it had shown better results. The Human Relations Theory claimed that the social groups formed within an organization determined productivity. It suggested that if workers respected each other and accepted the notion that negative productivity could lead to them being excluded from these social groups, they would not let production levels dwindle and work to keep improving them. Due to this organizations would have to take the workers’ feelings into consideration.

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