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Scientific management theory was developed in the early 20th century by Frederick W.

Taylor. We will be exploring the primary principles of scientific management and some of its key contributors. You will also be given a chance to reinforce your knowledge with a short quiz.

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Applications

Scientific management theory is important because its approach to management is found in almost every industrial business operation across the world. Its influence is also felt in general business practices such planning, process design, quality control, cost accounting, and ergonomics. Your knowledge of the theory will give you a better understanding of industrial management.

You’ll also understand how a manager can use quantitative analysis, an examination of numbers and other measurable data, in management to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations.

Theorists

The founding father of scientific management theory is Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915). He was an American inventor and engineer. His two most important works were Shop Management (1903) and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911).The husband and wife team of Frank Gilbreth, Sr.

and Lillian Moller Gilbreth contributed to the theory. This duo continued the practice of time and motion studies started by Taylor, believing they could find the best way to perform each task studied.

Definition, Principles ; Contributions

Scientific management theory seeks to improve an organization’s efficiency by systematically improving the efficiency of task completion by utilizing scientific, engineering, and mathematical analysis. The goal is to reduce waste, increase the process and methods of production, and create a just distribution of goods.

This goal serves the common interests of employers, employees, and society.Scientific management theory can be summarized by Taylor’s Four Principles:

  1. Managers should gather information, analyze it, and reduce it to rules, laws, or mathematical formulas.
  2. Managers should scientifically select and train workers.
  3. Managers should ensure that the techniques developed by science are used by the workers.
  4. Managers should apply the work equally between workers and themselves, where managers apply scientific management theories to planning and the workers perform the tasks pursuant to the plans.

To further the development of Taylor’s theory, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth performed time and motion studies. They broke task motions down into parts they called therbligs. Decreasing the therbligs required for a task increases the efficiency of task completion. The couple was also concerned about worker welfare, with Lillian Gilbreth contributing to the development of industrial psychology.

Lesson Summary

We have learned that scientific management theory is a theory of management founded by Frederick W. Taylor and supplemented by others, including Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The theory uses engineering, science, and mathematics to reduce waste and increase the efficiency of the methods and process of production.

A frequent tool used in this theory is a time and motion study, where you break a work task down into its component parts and determine the most efficient motions to complete the task. You can see the influence of scientific management theory in such modern management techniques as cost accounting, process design, quality control, and ergonomics.

Learning Outcomes

As the lesson concludes, assess your readiness to:

  • Perceive the importance of scientific management theory
  • Name the theory’s founder and notable contributors
  • State and outline Taylor’s four principles
  • Emphasize the contributions of the Gilbreths

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