It was necessary to implement planning into an organisation in Taylor’s time due to the large-scale industries. The ‘large-scale industries’ (Kouvuri, D, 14/11/02) consisted of mainly immigrants who were uneducated and unskilled which led to the assumptions of workers being lazy and not putting effort into their work. This is why it was important for Taylor to introduce his scientific approach to management to control them for financial incentives, as money was the motivator.Taylor’s theory can be compared with the ‘traditional Marxist perspective’ (Kouvuri, D, 28/10/02) as it explains exploiting and alienating certain groups similar to ‘Taylorism’ alienating members. An important barrier to Scientific Management was the limited education of the lower level of supervision and of the workforce. A larger part of the factory population was composed of recent immigrants who lacked literacy in English. In Taylor’s view, supervisors and workers with such low levels of education were not qualified to plan how work should be done.
Taylor’s solution was to separate ‘planning from execution’ (Cossette, P, 2002).The main argument against Taylor is his ‘reductionism’ (Pugh, D, S, 1997: 153) approach to work, which dehumanised work. The methods that Taylor adopted were directed solely towards the ‘uneducated’ (Kouvuri, D, 28/11/02). This type of behaviour towards working appears barbaric in the extreme to the modern reader, however, his ideologies of working methods were perfect for working practices in the 19th century where immigrants needed to be told what to do.
The constant fear of redundancies within the workforce was a valid argument during Taylor’s methods amongst employees and other organisations.Much has happened since Taylor developed his method of scientific management. Lack of education is no longer reason enough to separate the planning function. The balance of power between managers and the workforce has changed. Where in Taylor’s time it was heavily weighted against the workers.
Unionism (or the threat of it) has profoundly changed that balance. A basic image of scientific management was that employees were not highly educated and thus were unable to perform any but the simplest tasks. Modern thought is that al employees have intimate knowledge of job conditions and are therefore able to make useful contributions rather than dehumanising the work and breaking the work down into smaller and smaller units to maximise efficiency without giving thought to the job satisfaction of working.People today have rights and are able to choose a job, which satisfies them in terms of a good rate of pay, prestige, job security, friendship with workmates, opportunities to be creative, a degree of independence and responsibility. Generally satisfaction is the greatest for individuals who have the greatest freedom to choose a job, and these will be those who have had the opportunity to acquire the most widely accepted range of qualifications and skills.
The working environment today has improved considerably in comparison to the 19th century. Factors, which have improved, include lighting, ventilation, state of furnishing and equipment.Taylor and McGregor’s management theories are present in today’s society. ‘Pizza Hut’ (Hannagan, T, 1998: 187) has adopted McGregor’s theories X and Y. It recognises the importance to achieve its strategic objectives, which are to be UK’s favourite restaurant and brand its needs to be the UK’s favourite employer. Pizza Hut aims to gain employee satisfaction by providing rewards through good performance and motivation of employees by satisfying their needs and wants.’Taylorism’ is present today within ‘Nike’ (Kouvuri, D, 10/10/02) who exploits and alienates workers and employs a margin of underage kids and also ‘McDonalds’ (Morgan, G, 1996: 27) whom is able to provide the best example of ‘Taylorism’.
The firm was able to perform outstandingly building itself a ‘solid reputation’ (Morgan, G, 1996: 27), as it recruits a no unionised labour force that will be happy to fit the organisation as designed.Interest in Taylor was widespread among the managers (in his time and after his death) not only in the U.S but also in France, Italy, Germany, Russia and Japan, which shows the effectiveness of his theory. Approaching the end of the ‘industrial revolution’ (Kouvuri, D, 28/10/02), Taylor’s ideas provided a catalyst for increasing the output of American factories beyond the promise of technological advances alone.After Taylor’s death in 1914, scientific management spread throughout the world, and it has influenced everything from advice to housewives on how to do chores, to how Japanese (and later America) cars have been made. Taylorism has also shaped the structure of ‘American education’ (Cossette, P, 2002).
In 1962 the historian ‘Raymond Callahan’ (Huczynski, A ; Buchanan, D, 2001: 364) wrote the best known account oh how scientific management has affected American studies. Much of the book recants the influence of Taylor ‘s ideas on educational administration, everything from how to make better use of buildings and classroom space to how to standardise the work of janitors.During Taylor’s time American society was going through a period of ‘stress and reassertion of puritan values’ (Dean, C, C, 1997) His theory was developed at the right time and right people as he was writing at a time when factories were creating big problems for management who needed new methods for dealing with the management challenges. Taylor’s theory is referred to as scientific management as he attempted to make a ‘science for each element of work’ (Hannagan, T, 1998:45) and restrict alternatives to remove human variability on errors. His focus was on efficiency.The problems with Taylor’s approach of scientific methods lead to lay-offs, due to available work being completed sooner. In ‘1912’ (Pugh, Hickson ; Hinings, 1971: 76) opposition to ‘Taylorism’ lead to strikes and to hostile members of congress asking for explanations of his ideas and methods.
The Scientific approach did not take into account the actual needs of people at work. Workers want satisfaction in their work and good working conditions where they feel they have a say in mattes which directly affect them but Taylor’s methods do not take these into consideration which results in workers to be less motivated to carry out the selected tasks.Taylor’s approach in contrast to McGregor’s approach created jobs but did not ‘stimulate motivation and performance’ (Huczynski ; Buchanan, 2001: 254). His methods are more likely to encourage absenteeism and sabotage than commitment and flexibility. Taylor’s theory can be criticised by his view of workers as ‘coin-operated beings’ (Morgan, G, 1996: 187), financial incentives are not the only thing workers need which Taylor ignored to understand.
McGregor’s theories establish the most basic need, which are ‘man’s physiological needs’ (McGregor, D, 1960: 17). These physiological needs include food, rest, exercise and protection from the elements. Man gives energy to his employer in return for wages to buy what he can to satisfy his physiological needs. With today’s higher standard of living, mans physiological needs are relatively met.In controlling employee behaviour, management can, on one hand, be very forceful and demand exact behaviour, but which would also bring forth undesirable behaviour from employees, which may include reduced output and interference with management objectives.
On the other hand, a soft approach by management will bring forth abdication to management and cause indifferent performance.Theory X view of people is usually thought of as having an unfavourable or bad view of others. This theory generalises the working class of America as ‘lazy, unreliable and inadequate’ (Morgan, G, 1996: 147). I believe that McGregor’s Theory X can describe the working class that is just starting out, those in their early teens, and older to middle aged people who are still in low paying jobs. Work is undesirable and disagreeable for teens because they usually have no job experience. The second group of people could perform poorly because if they have not yet succeeded, then they usually do not think that they ill ever move up in life in terms of better job prospects.With organisations’ success application of Theory Y, employees can ‘fulfil their higher levels of need’ (Pugh, D, S, 1997:192) in the workplace. They can fulfil their social needs of association and acceptance, their egotistic needs of self-esteem and reputation, continued self-development, creativity and their self-fulfilment needs of realising their full potential.
With the energy released by employees in the fulfilment of these needs, management will have successfully tapped into this hidden energy resource.In analysing both of Douglas McGregor’s theories, I believe a good manager should be able to exercise both off these view points towards their workers and not just categorise them in one column or the other. America’s working class is more than just one type of person, because of all of the age differences and various nationalities.
I do agree that these two theories can categorise the working class into two more defined groups of people, although there is no evidence to confirm that either set of assumptions are valid or that accepting Theory Y assumptions one’s actions accordingly will lead to more motivated workers. His theories were adopted ‘in America a few years later’ (Dean, C, C, 1997) by businesses as for his time they proved to be successful.The words of Douglas McGregor are of the ‘fore-fathers’ (McGregor, D, 1960: 163) of management theory and one of the top business thinkers of all time. McGregor’s vision of a more humanistic workplace may not have been widely accepted over three decades ago, but technological advancements that McGregor himself anticipated have ‘paradoxically helped companies’ (Morgan, G, 1996: 87) become more human.
Douglas McGregor’s book ‘The Human Side of Enterprise’ deflated Taylorism and described a revolutionary way to manage people.He was the first to apply the findings in behavioural science to the world of business. Based on what he had learnt about human behaviour, McGregor explored the implications of managing people in a different manner then tradition dictated. The nature of work today makes McGregor’s ideas more relevant then ever before as the human aspect of work is crucial to organisational effectiveness.