To question whether scientific management is underestimated in the organisation of modern businesses is to misjudge the complexity of modern-day work practices. As scientific management is simply defined as 'an approach ...emphasising the scientific study of work methods to improve worker efficiency' (Management: A Pacific Rim Focus, 2001, p.36), it can be concluded that such a simplistic, inhumane approach does not belong in the 21st century.
A much broader theory is the classical viewpoint, 'a perspective on management emphasising finding ways to manage work and organisations more efficiently' (Management: A Pacific Rim Focus, 2001, p.36). This definition, providing guidelines that are less rigid and restrictive, is perhaps more likely to be accepted into the modern workplace.
For the effectiveness of scientific management to be analysed entirely, both the advantages and disadvantages must be examined and evaluated. The positive aspects of this theory when applied, are increased production and efficiency, and, theoretically, 'maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with maximum prosperity for each employee' (The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911, p.3)
The problem is that scientific management can also lead to 'overspecialised jobs, resulting in worker resentment, monotony, poor quality, absenteeism and turnover' (Management: A Pacific Rim Focus, 2001, p.37). The use of task allocation dehumanises the worker, and overemphasising cost reduction and scale economies may damage the quality of service.
An important aspect of the scientific management approach as it was first created includes Frederick Winslow Taylor's four principles of scientific management:
1.Scientifically study each part of a task and develop the best method for performing it.
2.Carefully select workers and train them to perform a task using the scientifically developed method.
3.Co-operate fully with workers to ensure they use the proper method.
4. Divide work and responsibility so management is responsible for planning...