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Taylorism Is An Outmoded And Outdated Form Of Technical Control

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Taylorism Is An Outmoded And Outdated Form Of Technical Control Perfected by Henry Ford, Taylorism was developed in the early 20th Century and was a revolutionary outlook on scientific management. Its aim was to make the workplace a science, taking all control away from the worker and placing total power in the hands of management. By observing workers behaviour and how long it was taking for tasks to be completed he believed he could say how much an average worker could produce under optimum conditions. Using this he devised a means of detailing a division of labour in time-and-motion studies and a wage system based on performance. At the time and throughout the last century Taylorism was and has been "the only" way to manage, but is it now outdated and irrelevant. I hope to be able to provide some of the arguments for and against this viewpoint and give examples of Taylorism. First, what exactly is Taylorism? Simply Taylorism is the breaking down of the production process into simple, menial tasks to the extent that even the most unskilled worker can be efficient. He researched these methods knowing that management lacked the knowledge to maximise production and that workers were not efficient. Taylor spoke about rewarding good men i.e. ...read more.


Taylorism is scientific management but how scientific is it? In Websters' book there is a case where a businessman complained about how slow his secretary worked and asked, "How many times a minute should she be able to open and close a file drawer?" The workers handbook's answer would be "Exactly 25 times." Times for other open and close operations would be .04 minutes for opening and closing a folder, and .026 minutes for opening a standard centre desk drawer (Webster, J 1990). Another example of the scientific nature of Taylorism can be seen in UPS, the parcel company. Management have said that workers should walk at 3ft per second, packages should be carried under the left arm and that drivers should step into the van with their right foot first whilst holding the keys in the middle finger of the right hand. These are two classic and blatant time-and-motion pigeonholing that leads to the de-humanizing of the worker. This pigeonholing can be classically seen in some of today's big business, especially in fast-food chains. McDonalds, the most classically discussed example, where there is absolutely no autonomy for the worker; they have no option about what to do. Machines are set to cook quarter-pounders in 107 seconds and fries in 150 seconds. ...read more.


The salesperson must have the freedom to react to the customers situation and what they say. There would be no way of, for example, telling sales staff that this type of person must have this product or that the sale must be complete in x minutes. It would be impossible to implement as, unlike McDonalds, every customer is different with different needs and without talking these needs cannot be ascertained to result in the sale of a product. Even shops are individual, while common theme run from shop to shop, where products are placed and how they are displayed is up to the mangers discretion and not controlled by main management. So to conclude; Taylorism is a very restrictive practise which leads to the de-humanising of the worker and complete management control. However it is an extremely efficient and productive system. I would say that in certain business environments, like McDonalds, it is the only way to manage that would produce effective results. However nowadays individuals require job satisfaction out of their roles and to that end Taylorism is outdated as it allows no sort of autonomy and thus make working very dull. To that end I cannot conclude either way; Taylorism is very effective in the food sector where customers are indistinguishable from each other but would be highly ineffective once individuals needs must be catered for. ...read more.

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