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Scientific Management Theory

Response for ‘Compare and contrast the contributions of scientific management and the human relations movement to modern management theory and practice’.

In present epoch, there are various management theories and practices applied by modern management to provide with effective business practices. Management practices follows emerging trends in organisations which results in industrial revolution through which people belonging to rural as well as urban places benefits through it. As said by F.W Taylor, “Management is the art of knowing what you want to do and then seeing that it is done in the best and cheapest way.” (Ali, 2014) There are many theories that not only help management in organising workplaces but also assist in creating effective ways to mange people. Mayo’s Human relation movement and Taylor’s scientific management theory are the two most popular theories that are practiced in today’s organisation as they consist of all the desired elements required for successful operations (Tanuja, n.d.). This essay will identify the importance of both theories by focussing upon their features and finding out the reasons behind their growing popularity among cotemporary management’s. This essay will compare and contrast both the theories to find out which theory proves better in managing business environment efficiently.  

Scientific management was founded by Fredrick Winslow Taylor in nineteenth century which instantly brought a revolution in labour market. Businesses and its management were transferred immediately however, following it many criticisms were also recognised in early twentieth century regarding inflexibility and inhuman work principles. After it, many modern operational theories were developed who wanted to drop Taylors from management practices (Taylor, 1911). However, Taylor’s principles still provide management with strong base that makes scientific management theory indispensible part of management practices. Taylor’s primary intention behind development of this theory was to enhance work productivity through human for which he adopted scientific approach. According to Taylor, work can be optimised by making regular inspection from management side and adoption of technologies to achieve work efficiency (Su, 2017).


Human management, in earlier years were done through experiences gained by former generations or with own knowledge. Work efficiency and control were maintained improperly since there was no fixed principle to be followed. These made management practices distorted and thus revolution was required extensively. In order to make things more organised, Taylor introduced scientific management theory that made organisations realise enhanced profits in shorter time period. Four major principles were laid in his theory in which first principle stated that development of work related science is necessary and therefore, Taylor summarised employee and work-related knowledge. According to his second principle, referencing is required to be done for finding appropriate people for particular work (Taylor, 1911). Under this principle, he developed training programs to bring development among workers. Taylor also made staff recruitment layouts and made management’s clear about delegation processes. Taylor believed in motivational factors that bring work efficiency among employees and thus he introduced incentive in the form of payments and reward structure. According to the third principle, cooperation between management and employees shall be made to ensure that the work is carried according to the mentioned criteria. With his third principle, organisations are able to recognise effective work models through which organisational goals are considered by both, employers as well as workers. His fourth principle specified that change shall be done according to business needs and employees as well as management needs to participate in change process to bring effective transformation from traditional practise to scientific approach. Previously people were responsible for their part of duty but after implementing scientific management in their work practices, the duty of individual’s were combined with each other and thus more integrated form of work place was created (Dogan, 2011).

Human Relation Movement Theory


Human relation movement of Elton Mayo was commenced during 1930’s in Hawthorne plant. Under this theory, more emphasis was given upon human working conditions to bring work efficiency. Mayo made two classified groups according to their work levels that made clarification for working groups. Many authors further criticised Mayo’s principle as his theory lacked mentioning the process of group classification and conditions in which clarifications shall be made. According to human relation movement, work force simulation can be increased by other non economical factors also and thus his theory focused more on human relationships rather than evaluating them in terms of money. Mayo also supported team work and cooperation between management and workers through building of socially developed relations (Worren et al., 2002). External as well as internal communications affects social relationships for which businesses needs to maintain friendly relation with outside world also. Through it, entire workforce gets motivated as employees get inter connected to achieve organisational effectiveness and peace in workplace. Developed and integrated team formation was main motive of human relation movement that protested against dictatorial relationship between workers and employers. Through human activities and humanitarian atmosphere, organisations could gain advantage by enhanced work productivity. However, this theory also came with a drawback as this theory made organisations change its work principle entirely. This theory focussed more on human and workers whereas industrial productivity was made tributary. Since it was a new concept then, managers needed to be trained according to new business practice and thus became time consuming process during its application (Rose, 2005).

There are few differences between two theories. Scientific management theory treated people in more robotic manner while Mayo’s entire focus was made in building human relationship. Taylor introduced incentive and reward programs to bring motivation among employees but Mayo’s theory believed that organisational productivity is determined by building human relation and not by other economical or technological innovations. Mayo believed that employee relation is the sole reason behind increased productivity and motivation in them and thus relationships shall be given more preference. Another difference identified is that scientific management theory made workers work under certain parameter and human resource departments are supposed to monitor and ensure that the work is carried in scientific manner. However Taylor encouraged employee participation here for providing work related information to other seniors in work place and thus allowed involvement of HRM with employees in decision making. Last difference identified is that scientific management encouraged on working as an individual in which they are made responsible for particular work whereas human relation movement totally depends on team performance and sound relationship among human (Dam & Marcus, 2012).

Comparison of the Two Theories


Both scientific management and human relation movement is extensively used in today’s contemporary management as they contributes management practices with critical work frames. Both theories have got few similarities also as both the theories primary consideration is to increase work productivity. Both theories also focus of workers improvement and provides with best suited ways. Again, motivational and integration principles in theories also shows similarity between them that makes difficult for present organisation in making choices between them. The principles laid in both theories made employees more dedicated towards their duty and workplace due to which utmost output can be realised. While Taylor assigned duties to employees according to their capabilities, Mayo encouraged working in groups. Under motivational principle, Taylor made incentive and reward system while Mayo believed more on making human relationship and other non-economical factors. However, the basic fundamental behind both theories is to deliver effective workforce along with making employees motivated and dedicated towards firm. Therefore, it can be said that both the theories contribute equally for bringing effectiveness in outputs for which modern management adopts them in their work practices (Laegaard & Bindslev, 2006).

Since management of firms are responsible for bringing success of in it, making a choice between scientific and human relation movement can be done as per situation. Both the theories verify to be applicable in contemporary management practice as they enhance work culture of organisations along with fulfilling the desired guidelines for effective management. Since scientific management is based more on strict regulations, it can make management more systematic. The amputation of traditional management practice can improve work culture by applying scientific approach in management practices. On the other hand, human relation movement highlights more upon workers relation with management and improving work environment through employee participation with management. The basic dissimilarity between both theories is that their work principles differ from each other along with ensuing different styles in motivation among employees of organisations.


According to present business needs, employees’ satisfaction does not remain limited in gaining motivation through relationships only but, providing them with other social needs also becomes crucial for companies. Living standards of people have changed and thus organisations have started focussing more on providing them with necessary elements so that workers does not get restrained from their job. The above mentioned theories contains all the necessary principles applicable in present business management’s and therefore are considered by management schools for its application. Since scientific management concentrates more on systematic alignment of work rules, it can be applied in higher levels of organisational managements whereas human relation movement can prove beneficial in those areas where dealing with factory workers and other petty works is pertinent. Moreover, after classifying similarities and differences between both the theories it can be said that they contribute equally to modern management theory and practices and shall remain reliable management practices in future also

References

Ali, S.M.S.A., 2014. Management Theory and Practice. Mumbai.

Dam, N.v. & Marcus, J., 2012. Organisation and Management; An International Approach. Netherlands.

Dogan, M.C.a.E., 2011. A Theoretical Approach to the Science of Management. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 01(03), pp.65-69. Available at: https://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._3;_March_2011/10.pdf [Accessed 25 May 2018].

Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M., 2006. Organisational Theory. Ventus Publisher.

Rose, N., 2005. Human Relations Theory and People Management. [Online] Available at: https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/9805_039184ch02.pdf [Accessed 25 May 2018].

Su, Y., 2017. Taylor Scientific Management Theory Carding and Significance of Organization Management. Social Sciences, 06(04), pp.102-07.

Tanuja, n.d. Classification of Management Theories: 4 Schools of Thought. [Online] Available at: https://www.businessmanagementideas.com/management/theories-management/classification-of-management-theories-4-schools-of-thought/4679 [Accessed 25 May 2018].

Taylor, F.W., 1911. The Principles of Scientific Management. [Online] Available at: https://la.utexas.edu/users/hcleaver/330T/350kPEETaylorSciManTable.pdf [Accessed 25 May 2018].

Worren, N., Moore, K. & Elliot, R., 2002. Human Relations. [Online] Available at: https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.137.9041&rep=rep1&type=pdf [Accessed 25 May 2018]

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