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Factors influencing productivity management part 2

23 June 2009 One Comment by umar Farooq

An efficient and flexible management brings productivity in the organization. The organization establishes processes which include various concepts and approaches to make the organization productive. This article specifically caters the factors as the term management and productivity has been discussed in detail before.

The factors like efficiency and flexibility comes under scientific management, it is very scientific to achieve productivity in the organization. It is the Management concepts and practices based on principles laid down by Frederick W. Taylor in the 19th century, regarding primarily a scientific and systematic approach to the design of work and selection or training of workers. Efficiency is the key in scientific management when maximum output is achieved by utilizing minimum input popularly known as “doing tings right”. Flexibility on the other hand is a vast concept; it is an organization’s ability to adapt to changes especially in production.

Scientific management

Since management and productivity have a very strong relationship, without good management organizations will not be able to witness increases in productivity, which is why different management skills and techniques are applied. Frederick W. Taylor, also known as the “father” of management, was the founder of Scientific Management. Taylor’s obsession with inefficiency and incompetence led him to assert that blame lay on both managers and workers. As regards managers, their incompetence lay in their ignorance of how work should be designed, how much output requires to be achieved and lack of control on working practices. With workers, Taylor was aware that “soldiering”, in case of individuals, and “systematic soldiering”, in case of group members, were the problems restricting productivity. The term ‘soldiering’ means a person deliberately works below his capacity and in ‘systematic soldiering’ members of a group, along-with slacking on work themselves, pressure all other group workers into not doing their jobs properly. These were the hurdles identified by Taylor for all managers and workers.

In 1898, Taylor demonstrated what could be achieved using a ‘scientific’ approach to the design of work and to the selection and training of a worker, and the use of incentive schemes. Taylor introduced scientific methods of loading ‘pig iron’ into railway wagons using hand pulled trolleys. The iron was in blocks (called ‘pigs’), each weighing 92 lbs. and the average load in a day was 12 tons per man. Taylor described the men as steady workers but ‘slow and phlegmatic’. Nothing could induce them to work faster. Having redesigned the job to be done more efficiently, he selected a first class pig iron shifter; a Dutchman named Knolle but called Schmidt in Taylor’s account: a man with the same mental and physical characteristics as an ox. Taylor offered him more compensation for his work - a 60% bonus - and was thus, able to derive further efficient work from him. The iron was supposed to be shifted in $1.15 but Taylor offered him $1.85 to do the same job in lesser time. The bonus motivated Schmidt to finish the job quickly and by the end of the day he had shifted 47 tons of pig iron alone, a substantial increase in productivity!1

Taylor identified four principles of ‘scientific management’ which are summarized below: -

  1. The development of a science to replace the old rule-of-thumb knowledge of workers. A systematic analysis of work by managers would lead to the best way of working. He further emphasized the scientific design of work.
  2. The scientific selection and progressive development of the workmen in order to create the ‘first class’ worker, i.e. the scientific design of labor.
  3. The synthesis of the science and the scientifically selected and trained workmen. Managers and workers must cooperate under scientific management: the principle of ‘harmony’.
  4. The equal division of work between workmen on the one hand and managers on the other, Managers must be responsible for all the ‘mental’ work while workers should only stick to ‘physical’ labor.2

Taylor’s ideas were rapidly accepted and widely adopted in America, particularly in assembly line work. Scientific Management soon became an attempt by efficiency-oriented managers to replace modes of working based on custom, tradition and craft by methods based on the systematic analysis and design of work, and the close control of workers by managers.


[1] http://www.skymark.com/resources/leaders/taylor.asp

2 http://www.accel-team.com/scientific/scientific_02.html

One Comment »

  • saimawahid said:

    Dear Umar,

    This is a very nice attempt to explain management from a scientific perspective. In todays fast paced world, this approach can help the organizations save time and money. Once the orgnizations successfully develop some standard procedures, the work efficeny can be ealsiy measured.

    Saima Wahid

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