Many of the guidelines Taylor and others devised for, improving production efficiency appear today to be common sense. For instance, one can say that it should have been obvious to managers in those days, that workers should be carefully screened, selected and trained before being put into a job.
To understand the importance of scientific management, you have to understand the times in which Taylor, the Gilbreths, and Gantt lived. The standard of living was low. Production was highly labor intensive. Midvale Steel, at the turn of the century, may have employed 20 to 30 workers who did nothing but load pig iron onto rail cars. Today, their entire daily production could probably be done in several hours by one person with a hydraulic lift truck, but they didn’t have such mechanical devices. Similarly the breakthroughs Frank Gilbreth achieved in bricklaying are meaningful only when you recognize that most quality buildings at that time were constructed of brick, that land was cheap, and that the major cost of a plant or home was the cost of the materials (bricks) and the labor cost to lay them.
What did Henri Fayol and Max Weber contribute to management theory?
Henri Fayol and Max Weber were two important individuals who helped to develop general administrative theory. We mentioned Henri Fayol as having designated management as a universal as a universal set of activities – specifically planning organizing commanding, coordinating and controlling. Because his writings were important; let’s take a more careful look at what he had to say.
Fayol wrote during the same period that Taylor did. However, where as Taylor was concerned with management at the shop level and used the scientific method. Fayol’s attention was directed at the activities of all managers, and he wrote from personal experience. Taylor was a scientists; Fayol the managing director of a large French coal mining firm was a practitioner.
Fayol described the practice of management ass distinct from accounting, finance, production distribution and other typical business. He argued that management was an activity common to all human undertakings in business, in government, and even in the home. He then proceeded to state 14 principles of management – fundamental or universal truth – that could be taught in schools and universities.
Max Weber was a German sociologist. Writing in the early part of the twentieth century, he developed a theory of authority structures and described organizational activity on the basis of authority relations. He described an ideal type of organization that he called a bureaucracy characterized by division of labor, a clearly defined hierarchy, detailed rules and regulations and impersonal relationships. Weber recognized that this ideal bureaucracy didn’t exist in reality but, represented a selective reconstruction of the real world. He used it as a basis for theorizing about work and the way work could be done in large groups. His theory became the design prototype for many of today large organizations.
Fayol’s Fourteen Principles of Management:
1) Division of work: This principle is the same as Adam Smith’s division of labor. Specialization increases output be making employees more efficient.
2) Authority: managers must be able to give orders. Authority gives them this right. Along with authority, however, goes responsibility. Whenever authority is exercised responsibility arises.
3) Discipline: Employees must obey and respect the rules: Every employee should receive that given the organization. Good discipline is the result of effective leadership, a clear understanding between management and workers regarding the organization’s rules and the judicious use of penalties for infractions of the rules.
4) Unity of Command: Every employee should receive orders from only one superior.
5) Unity of Direction: Each group of organizational activities that has the same objective should be directed by one manager using one plan.
6) Subordination of individual interests to the general interest: The interest of any one employee or group of employees should not precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole.
7) Remuneration: Workers must be paid a fair wages for their services.
8) Centralization: Centralization refers to the degree to which subordinates are involved in decision making. Whether decision making is centralized (to management) or decentralized (to subordinates) is a question of proper proportion. The task is to find the optimum degree of centralization.
9) Scalar Chain: The line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks represents the scalar chain. Communication should follow the chain. However, if following the chain creates delays, cross communications can be allowed if agreed to by all parties and if superiors are kept informed.
10) Order: People and materials should be in the right place at the right time.
11) Equity: Managers should be kind and fair to their subordinates
12) Stability of Tenure of Personnel: High employee turnover is inefficient. Management should provide orderly personnel planning and ensure that replacements are available to fill vacancies.
13) Initiative: Employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort.
14) Esprit de Corps: Promoting team spirit will build harmony and unity within the organization.