Taylorism and McDonaldization

Essay by anushka May 2004

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Scientific management or "Taylorism" is an approach to job design, developed by Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) during the Second World War. With the industrial revolution came a fast growing pool of people, seeking jobs, that required a new approach of management. Scientific management was the first management theory, applied internationally. It believes in the rational use of resources for utmost output, hence motivating workers to earn more money. Taylor believed that the incompetence of managers was the major obstacle on the way of productivity increase of human labour. Consequently, this idea led to the need of change of management principles. On the base of research, involving analysing controlled experiments under various working conditions, Taylor discovered basic principles that would influence workers' productivity. His ideas were further developed in post- Tayloristic movements like Fordism. Today, Taylorism is mostly applied in the rapidly growing service sector, especially in fast food and call centres.

Taylorism and Scientific management are the precursors for McDonaldization, which are processes of the fast food industry that have become the major organizing principle for other aspects of societies. Its main dimensions are efficiency, calculability, predictability and control.

The aim of Scientific management is to increase the productivity of human labour. Taylor believed that a science had to be developed for each element of a man's work, replacing the rule-of -thumb method. Managers would have to select, train and develop workmen, where as in the past, they had to train themselves. Taylor developed a number of principles by analysing controlled experiments under various work conditions. He considered the time and motion to carry out a specific task, the choice of tool and the payment for workers. Taylor would identify the fastest worker in the organization and he would examine his movements on the job, which helped Taylor eliminate useless...