Scientific Management Is Outdated and Detrimental

Essay by yuxinying April 2004

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Scientific management theories, deriving from the early 20th century, have been commonly applied and influential in decades of managerial practices. The kernel of scientific management consists of "Time studies functional, specialized supervisions, standardization of work methods, separate planning function, the use of slide-rules and similar time-saving device and task allocation and large bonus for successful performance". (Singer Edwin James, 1970) It is just the outcome of specific industrial period and specific industrial categories.

To some extent scientific management does well fit in with the organizations whose dominant goal is to increase output. But along with the expansion of our business world as well as the advancement and huge transition of its structure, it inevitably results in great doubt for scientific management. Nowadays, markets have become far more global and dynamic, and the business environment turns more and more complicated and competitive. Employers and employees are faced with plenty of new opportunities and challenges.

Also, manufacturing and information technology is getting more sophisticated speedily. Scientific management could not be applied to the higher end of the market, as this undermines the actual situation that is expected. Meanwhile, many other factors like the nature of the products and services, the expectations of employees are also questioning about the effectiveness of scientific management. The imperfection and outmoded framework of scientific management will consequently be amended or even give way to some more practical, flexible and comprehensive management principles. In the following parts we will explore why scientific management is outdated and detrimental from three main aspects---business environment, division of labor and job satisfaction.

Main body:

Business environment:

Nowadays much of manufacturing is no longer labor-intensive; and high volume, low variety production has given way to high variety, low volume production. So the techniques of Scientific management, say, high volume and high rate...