Essay 3 Essay question: Illustrating your analysis with examples discuss the influence of scientific management on the design of work in the modern organisation, making reference to both its strengths and weaknesses in relation to its impact on organisational design. (Word limit: 1,500)
Scientific Management is a management theory developed by US engineer Fredrick Taylor. His description has five principals. The use of scientific methods for describing the ideal way of completing a task, choosing the best individual for the job described based on their physical and mental abilities, educate and train the employee to complete the defined tasks precisely, ensure employees follow the tasks by providing financial incentives and transfer organisational and planning responsibility from the employee to managers.(Boddy, 2017). This essay will discuss the influence of scientific management over the design of work in modern organisations and refer to both strengths and weaknesses of the model in relation to organisational design. DEFINED PROCEDURES It can be argued that the scientific management has greatly influenced the design of work in modern organisations due to increased quality of goods and services. As workers are educated and trained to follow precise instructions, they can become specialised due to this and from repetition of the tasks involved. This can be beneficial to companies in the food industry such as Mc Donalds, for example not serving over or undercooked food. This could lead to increased sales as Mc Donalds may be perceived as higher quality by consumers seeking out products that offer greater value for money. The result may be that organisations are influenced to put a greater emphasis on quality measures when designing work, for example Mc Donalds hairnet policy for all food handlers, (Mc Donalds, 2019), showing how scientific management largely influences the design of work in this organisation in effort to increase quality. This can be seen as a positive impact on organisational design as it can result in a high level of formalisation in the organisation resulting in tasks being highly standardised which in this case keeps quality uniformly high among all employees at all restaurants. TASK CREATION Another large influence of scientific management on the design of
work in modern organisations is the reduction of wastage caused by inefficiencies in the organisation. The use of scientific methods to calculate the ideal way in which to complete a task can lead to increased output per worker.
For example, Toyotas total quality management involves input from all employees to ensure quality is high throughout the manufacturing process. (D.B,2013). This results in a reduction in defective products that would otherwise cost money in wasted raw materials and time as employees are equipped to identify and locate potential problems. In this case Toyota decided that the ideal way to complete a task was to incorporate quality assurance techniques alongside the main task resulting in a significant reduction in wastage for the business. This has led to scientific management greatly influencing the design of work for Toyotas employees as they are encouraged to monitor quality constantly due to the many benefits that arise from providing high quality products. This can be seen as having a positive effect on organisational design as span of control can increase for managers. As all employees are involved in quality assurance at all stages of production, managers have increased control over business operations as they can more easily fulfil business objectives such as profit maximisation through reducing cost by reducing wastage. FIANCIAL INCENTIVES Ensuring employees follow predetermined tasks buy providing financial incentives is another way the use of scientific management techniques in an organisation can greatly influence the creation of work. The method of piece rate which involves a system where employees are payed at a fixed rate for each unit produced. (businessdictionary, 2019). In addition, Taylor suggests that workers are naturally lazy and are motivated by financial benefits (EPM, 2018). A piece rate system would allow workers to generate a higher income for more units produced providing incentive for workers to produce more leading to an increase in efficiency for a business as workers output per person has increased. This would lead to managers consideration of pay when designing work to be highly influenced by scientific management theory as too low may lead to reduced productivity while too high may lead to diminishing returns of productivity increase and a rise in production costs. This can be seen as an advantage to organisational design as managers span of control over the organisation can again be increased. This means that managers can influence the efficiency of workers by increasing pay showing how managers can have greater control over business operations. UNDER UTILISING WORKERS
However, one way scientific management models influence on the design of work in modern organisations may be limited is the underutilisation of workers due to hindered the ability to apply their own discretion when completing tasks. While this may benefit some organisations such as armed forces where orders are expected to be followed without challenge, to contrast, an organisation such as Apple encourages employee contribution so the models influence over the design of work may be limited in this example. Apple’s chief design officer said “a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk.”, (Hess, 2017), about their new headquarters. The building is described as a “democraticworkspace” (Hess, 2017) where employees can collaborate to share ideas between individuals with differing specialities. This can allow workers to develop new ideas of how to tackle the tasks of their job leading to more efficient use of time. This indicates that aspects of scientific management may have reduced influence on the design of work in companies that require high levels of innovativeness within employees as the collaborating and sharing ideas is key to achieving that goal to negate the disadvantage of what would otherwise be reduced competitiveness of the company due to reduce innovation. The impact of strategic managements influence on the design of work on organisational design shows limitations in this case as the reduced ability of workers to apply their own insight to a task can reduce employee innovation in their tasks which could business reduce competitiveness in the long term. TRANSFER OF PLANING AND ORGANISATION Another way the scientific models influence on the design of work may be reduced in some organisations is how workers are trained to follow specific and defined instructions to complete a task leading to a fragmentation in the organisations structure. (Reddy, 2019). The fragmentation can be seen as managers taking over control and responsibility of organising and panning from the employees. (Boddy, 2017). This in turn can have the effect of little to no involvement of workers in the creation of procedures that they have to follow meaning that if they find a better way of completing a task, they may be discouraged from sharing the ideas. This can lead to workers becoming disengaged from their work resulting in the demotivation of employees. This may lead to a reduction in its influence in certain organisations. For example 3M is an American conglomerate manufacturing company, they follow a policy of “fifteen percent time” where workers are allowed 15 percent of their payed work time to go towards “daydreaming, doodling or experimenting with ideas”
(Makarov, 2018) influencing the design of work to contain a focus on innovation within all employees in the company. This principle forms the backbone of 3M’s corporate culture stating that mistakes are likely however if a person is mostly right the mistakes are not as serious in the long term as management dictating to employees how to complete their job. (Black, 2016). This shows how scientific managements influence on the design of work can be limited in certain organisations where innovative behaviour is encouraged from employees. In this case the impact of strategic managements influence on the design of work on organisational design shows limitations, as responsibility of planning is transferred to managers it can reduce the ability for workers who may have valuable insight leading to neglecting a resource that can help to develop more specific, relevant and detailed plans to benefit business operations. MANAGER FOCUS It can also be claimed that scientific managements influence on the design of work can lead to demotivation of the workers that an organisation employs, these workers may feel undervalued and alienated due to mangers focus on performance and productivity. (Reddy, 2019). Meaning that its influence may be reduced in some organisations. This is seen in the organisation Foxcom where workers have spoken of “immense stress, long workdays and harsh managers who were prone to humiliate workers for mistakes, of unfair fines and unkept promises of benefits.” (Merchant, 2017). In this case, scientific management can be seen to have a negative influence on the design of work in the organisation due to detrimental impact on employee wellbeing. This is not only a moral argument but economic to as workers who feel undervalued are more likely to take time off work leading to high absenteeism in the organisation leading to a reduction in productive output of an organisation. (Mitrefinch Inc, 2019). Showing how scientific managements influence on the design of work may be reduced in this case. The impact of design of work on organisational design shows limitations in this case as demotivation of workers caused by managers could negatively affect the chain of command structures ability to control and enact policy and goals. CONCLUSION The scientific managements models influence on work discussed varies in strength, while its impact on organisational design can be a net positive to showing limitations. The influence is great in areas that can be of benefit such as improved quality of a good or services, ways to reduce the wastage in organisations to improve efficient use of resources, and how the
use of piece rate pay can increase the motivation of employees by providing financial incentives, in contrast the influence is reduced in areas that can be negative for certain organisations such as reduced ability for workers to innovate due to demotivational factors arising from fragmentation of work across the organisation or limited ability to apply own discretion when completing a task.
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Hess, A, 2017. The science and design behind apples innovation obsessed new workspace. [online] Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/13/the-science-anddesign-behind-apples-innovation-obsessed-new-workspace.html [Accessed 30 October 2019]. Makarov, I, 2018. 9 ways your company can encourage innovation. [online] Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/318584 [Accessed 31 October 2019]. McDonalds, 2019. Hair net Policy. [online] Available at: https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/help/faq/18657-what-mcdonalds-hair-netpolicy.html [Accessed 30 October 2019]. Merchant, B, 2017. Life and death in Apple’s forbidden city. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/foxconn-life-death-forbiddencity-longhua-suicide-apple-iphone-brian-merchant-one-device-extract [Accessed 31 October 2019]. Miterfinch, 2017. 9 underlying causes of
employee absenteeism in the workplace. [online] Available at: https://mitrefinch.com/blog/9-underlying-causes-employeeabsenteeism-workplace/ [Accessed 30 October 2019]. Reddy, C, N.D. advantage disadvantage scientific management theory. [online] Available at: https://content.wisestep.com/advantage-disadvantage-scientificmanagement-theory/ [Accessed 31 October 2019].