• Scientific management recommends studying and testing different work methods to identify the best, most efficient ways to complete a job.
  • According to Frederick W. Taylor, the ‘father of scientific management’, managers should follow four scientific management principles.
  • First, study each element of work to determine the ‘one best way’ to do it.
  • Second, scientifically select, train, teach and develop workers to reach their full potential.
  • Third, cooperate with employees to ensure implementation of the scientific principles.
  • Fourth, divide the work and the responsibility equally between management and workers.
  • Above all, Taylor felt these principles could be used to align managers and employees by determining a ‘fair day’s work’, what an average worker could produce at a reasonable pace, and ‘a fair day’s pay’, what management should pay workers for that effort.
  • Taylor felt that incentives were one of the best ways to align management and employees.
  • Frank and Lillian Gilbreth are best known for their use of motion studies to simplify work.
1 of 8


  • Whereas Taylor used time study to determine ‘a fair day’s work’, based on how long it took a ‘first-class man’ to complete each part of his job, Frank Gilbreth used film cameras and micro chronometers to conduct motion studies to improve efficiency by eliminating unnecessary or repetitive motions.
  • The Gilbreths also made significant contributions to the employment of workers with handicaps, encouraging the government to rehabilitate them, employers to identify jobs that they could perform and engineers to adapt and design machines they could use.
  • Henry Gantt is best known for the Gantt chart, which graphically indicates when a series of tasks must be completed to perform a job or project, but he also developed ideas regarding pay-for-performance plans (where workers were rewarded for producing more, but were not punished if they didn’t) and worker training (all workers should be trained and their managers should be rewarded for training them).
2 of 8


  • Today, we associate bureaucracy with inefficiency and ‘red tape’.
  • Yet German sociologist Max Weber believed that bureaucracy, that is, running organisations on the basis of knowledge, fairness and logical rules and procedures, would accomplish organisational goals much more efficiently than monarchies and patriarchies, where decisions were based on personal or family connections, personal gain and arbitrary decision making.
  • Bureaucracies are characterised by seven elements: qualification-based hiring; merit-based promotion; chain of command; division of labour; impartial application of rules and procedures; recording rules, procedures and decisions in writing; and separating managers from owners.
  • Nonetheless, bureaucracies are often inefficient and can be highly resistant to change.
3 of 8


  • The Frenchman Henri Fayol, whose ideas were shaped by his 20-plus years of experience as a CEO, is best known for developing five management functions (planning, organising, coordinating, commanding and controlling) and 14 principles of management (division of work, authority and responsibility, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interests to the general interest, remuneration, centralisation, scalar chain, order, equity, stability of tenure of personnel, initiative and esprit de corps).
  • He is also known for his belief that management could and should be taught to others.
4 of 8


  • Unlike most people who view conflict as bad, Mary Parker Follett believed that it should be embraced and not avoided, and that of the three ways of dealing with conflict – domination, compromise and integration – the latter was the best because it focuses on developing creative methods for meeting conflicting parties’ needs.
  • Elton Mayo is best known for his role in the Hawthorne Studies at the Western Electric Company.
  • In the first stage of the Hawthorne Studies, production went up because the increased attention paid to the workers in the study and their development into a cohesive work group led to significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity.
  • In the second stage, productivity dropped because the workers had already developed strong negative norms.
  • The Hawthorne Studies demonstrated that workers’ feelings and attitudes affected their work, that financial incentives weren’t necessarily the most important motivator for workers, and that group norms and behaviour play a critical role in behaviour at work.
5 of 8


  • Chester Barnard, president of New Jersey Bell Telephone, emphasised the critical importance of willing cooperation in organisations and said that managers could gain workers’ willing cooperation through three executive functions: securing essential services from individuals (through material, non-material and associational incentives), unifying the people in the organisation with a clear purpose and providing a system of communication.
  • Barnard maintained that it was better to induce cooperation through incentives, clearly formulated organisational objectives and effective communication throughout the organisation.
6 of 8


  • Operations management uses a quantitative or mathematical approach to find ways to increase productivity, improve quality and manage or reduce costly inventories.
  • The manufacture of standardised, interchangeable parts, the graphical and computerised design of parts and the discovery of just-in-time management were some of the most important historical events in operations management.
  • Throughout history, organisations have pushed for and quickly adopted new information technologies that reduce the cost or increase the speed with which they can acquire, store, retrieve or communicate information.
  • Historically, some of the most important technologies that have revolutionised information management were the creation of paper and the printing press in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the manual typewriter in 1850, cash registers in 1879, the telephone in the 1880s, time clocks in the 1890s, the personal computer in the 1980s and the Internet in the 1990s.
  • A system is a set of interrelated elements or parts that function as a whole.
  • Organisational systems obtain inputs from the general and specific environments.
  • Managers and workers then use their management knowledge and manufacturing techniques to transform those inputs into outputs, which, in turn, provide feedback to the organisation.
7 of 8


  • Organisational systems must also address the issues of synergy, open versus closed systems and entropy.
  • Finally, the contingency approach to management precisely states that there are no universal management theories.
  • The most effective management theory or idea depends on the kinds of problems or situations that managers or organisations are facing at a particular time.
  • This means that management is much harder than it looks.
8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar Business Management resources:

See all Business Management resources »See all Scientific Management resources »