Taylor believed industrial productivity was poorer than it should be because of intentional absence of the workforce and unscientific design of work practices by management. He believed workers could be forced to work harder by motivating them with a higher wage, financed by higher productivity, which may well be achieved by strictly monitoring the worker’s each movement which would make it impossible to slow down without being noticed (Dale, 1998).In order to achieve the highest productivity, Taylor planned that instead of dropping the number of “unproductive” workers to a minimum, about 25% of all workers should be committed to supervising, monitoring, measuring and accounting. One of the world’s largest multi-national corporations in this day and age relies on labour management techniques that were developed at the start of the 20th century. Where ever you are, you will get the standard tasting burger, covered with the same relish, in the same bun, served in the same packaging.In any McDonald’s out of the 28,000 branches in 120 countries, when you order a big mac and large fries you know exactly what you are going to get.
Consistency is one of McDonald’s strongest selling points (Noon & Blyton, 2002). McDonald’s can be described as a well-maintained machine in nearly all aspect of its functions, from the customer interface to the centralised planning and financial control (Morgan, 1986) and the employees are treated as components of this machine. Each employee is given simple training on how to carry out a number of tasks which involve little judgement and leave minute room for discretion.Every one is given specific instructions on what to do, how to do it and what to say. They have precisely-timed, computer-controlled equipment that cook the burgers, dispense the drinks, heat the pies, record the order and calculate the customer’s change. McDonald’s has developed a variety of machines to control its employees.
When a worker must decide when a glass is full and the soft-drink dispenser needs to be shut off, there is always the risk that the worker maybe distracted and allow the glasses to overflow.Thus the sensor has been developed that automatically shut-off the soft-drink dispenser when the glass is full. (Ritzer, 1993: 105-6) While the logic of Taylorism is perfect, the condition of work it produces is often dehumanising, and miserable: a set of highly segmented tasks, with no chance for employees to use their own judgment, and the scheme of close supervision to monitor their work performance (Edward, 1979), this lead to strong criticism against, scientific management methods.At the Bethlehem Steel Corporation were Taylor started to apply his ideas on scientific management, there was strong criticism from the workers who found the work boring and required little skill. Regardless of this criticism Taylor attempted to increase the implementation of his ideas in the steel corporation. Nevertheless, fear of mass redundancies convinced the management to ask Taylor to restrain his actions.
However Taylor’s attitudes in his methods were too strong and he would not allow management interference and in the end he was parted company with immediate effect. Scientific management was also applied in other countries with similar criticisms and hostile reactions (Mullins, 2002). The ideas of scientific management were also adopted in the American Watertown Arsenal- to be followed more or less instantly by a strike of moulding workers. The strikes led to an investigation of Taylor’s methods by a House of Representatives Committee which reported in 1912.The conclusion of the committee was that scientific management has some positive techniques and offered helpful organisation suggestions, however it gave production managers a dangerously high level of controlled power. A the same time a survey between the workers showed a broad level of hatred and hostility, by both union and non-union members, to scientific manager methods.
Due to this report Taylor’s methods of time study were banned in defence establishment by the committee (Mullins, 2002).