Taylor’s contributions marked a new era in modern management thought. Although, some analysts think that he did not invent anything new. Rather he just “synthesised and presented as a reasonable coherent ideas which had been germinating and gathering force in Britain and the US throughout the 19th century. He gave to a disconnected series of initiatives and experiments a philosophy and a title. (Urwick and Brech, 1945).
However, Taylor's philosophy was also widely criticised. Many thought that it had a narrow scope of applications and was only suited for shop floor level. It could be said that this theory was based on industrial management rather than management as a whole. The main argument against Taylor’s strategy was its dehumanisation. Workers were viewed as machines rather than human beings. The exact specification of the task along with a specified time allocation for doing this task left no room for a worker to think or excel as an individual. For this reason there was a great deal of opposition from workers and trade unions Breaking tasks into smaller and smaller units may well be a good idea as far as efficiency is concerned. However, repetitive action with no mental requirements soon becomes tedious and causes discontent among workers. The only motivation in this type of work management is monetary.
During the time where this study was devised, many factory workers were either immigrants with poor knowledge of English or other people with the lack of education. Much has happened since scientific management was developed and it can be argued that higher level of education among workers these days defeats the purpose of separating the planning function. Quite the opposite, nowadays it is thought that workers have an intimate knowledge of jobs they perform and therefore are able to make useful suggestions. Also the balance of power between the workers and managers has changed. It is now encouraged to work in teams and to contribute personal observations. Such work arrangements are much better for morale as well as overall work conditions and improve the relations between managers and workers.
Despite its shortcomings, scientific management is an important theory and as a concept of work-measurement and production control it completely changed the nature of industry. It gave rise to the development of departments such as personnel and quality of control, which did not exist before. With new technology being developed every day and companies trying to be as efficient and cost effective as possible, certain aspects of scientific management are still widely used.
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Zdroje: Braverman, H., Labour and Monopoly Capital: The degradation of work in the twentieth century, 1974, Friedman, G., Industrial Society, 1964, p.90, p.109, Grint, K., The Sociology of Work, 1991 p.121, Taylor F.W., The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911, Urwick Lyndall, Brech E.F.L., The Making of Scientific Management, London, 1945, Vol. 1, p.17