Criticism of Scientific Management (Taylorism) – Essay

Taylor was criticised by various scholars among which most important are Oliver Sheldon, a British Management thinker, Miss Marry Parker Follett an American business Philosopher,

Sam Lewisohn, Elton Mayo, Peter Drucker and others. They charged that Taylor’s scientific management was impersonal and under emphasised the human factors. This criticism led to a series of experiments in industrial sociology and psychology.

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The classic Hawthorn experiment of Elton Mayo and other research studies on human relations and group dynamics in industry rejected Taylorism. Apart from these Taylors work was criticised on the ground.

1. Taylor was criticised on the ground that he was excessively utilitarian and impersonal, paying too little attention to the human element and that in his schemes, wages of labour did not increase in direct proportion to productivity increases. His scientific management was considered to be autocratic or at best paternalistic.

2. The Taylor’s philosophy were generally lazy and try to avoid work has also been disputed. It is evident from Brown’s analysis that ‘work is a essential part of mans life, since it is that aspect of life which gives him status and binds him to the society. When they do not like it the fault lies in the psychological and social conditions of the job, rather than the worker.

3. Another criticism of Taylor is that he did not properly understand the autonomy of the work. His emphasis on the minute division of the work and the specialization was severely criticised on several grounds.

(a) The work gets depersonalised, the worker becomes a mere cock in the machine and the relation between the worker and executive become remote as a result of which he lacks the sense of participation in the work more than everything the worker finds no outlet to exhibit all his abilities and potentialities.

(b) Secondly it may be bad to automation of the worker which may have psychological and neurological Consequences.

(c) Thirdly, Taylor’s division of work, people in planning and executive division, has severely been criticised. It is argued that in such a situation it is difficult to develop proper team spirit and if planning is totally diverted from execution it is difficult to secure the participation of the workers in the progress of the firm.

Despite ‘the limitations and adequate understanding of human psychology sociology and the anatomy of work Taylor work remain supremely important. The contribution of Taylor can be summed up as under:

(a) He was the first to apply scientific principles to the problems of management.

(b) He was the first to state that it was the duty of management to tell the workers what was expected of them and also to specify the way in which the job is to be performed.

(c) He was the first to advocate the mental revolution on the part of both employers and employees.

(d) He was the first to give us systematic experiments on time and motion study.

(e) He was the first to recognize the need to separate the planning of work from its execution.

(f) He was the first to innovate the concept of the use of “functional foreman”.