Compare and contrast the Human Relations School of thought with Taylorism.

Essay by johnlancasterUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2006

download word file, 9 pages 3.0


Since the end of the 19th century, when factory manufacturing became widespread and the size of organisations increased, people have been looking for ways to motivate employees and improve productivity. This essay will focus on two of the earliest management approaches of Taylorism and the Human Relations School. First the central tenets of both models are outlined giving examples of how they are still applied in contemporary society. This is followed by a comparison of the two theories, which seem to be opposed at first glance, but are in fact similar in their basic approach. Finally, the relevance of both approaches for today's managers is evaluated by identifying the option to bring them together as a basis for an overall Human Resource strategy.


Taylorism is a management approach initiated by Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915), an American engineer. Taylor was concerned with inefficiency in manufacturing operations, in particular with the phenomena of "loafing" and "systematic soldiering", i.

e. the collusion of workers to restrict their output. He believed that the way to achieve higher efficiency would follow from detailed control of the work process by management and the decomposition of work into routine and predictable tasks .

Taylor introduced some basic principles to serve managers as a guideline. Firstly, the use of scientific methods to determine the one best way of doing a particular task . This is also known as the school of Scientific Management which argues that business decisions should be taken on the basis of fact and scientific principles, e. g. time and task study, instead of guesswork. Secondly, the systematic selection of the person with the most appropriate qualities to do the specified job and continuous training of the worker in the most efficient techniques . Thirdly, a clear functional division between management, which plans...