?National Efficiency? Essay, Research Paper
By Miguel Angel Molina
Well, I?d like to begin my paper with some words of the ex-president Roosvelt whom by that time said, ?The conservation of our national resources is only preliminary to the larger question of national efficiency.? The quote was taken from the book called ?Scientific Management? by Taylor, from whom I?ll be taken most of the information, so he is consider the father of scientific management and his book, his bible. By efficiency we may understand, ?The ratio of the effective or useful output to the total input in any system.? And that is exactly what everything is all about, efficiency and effectiveness without caring about the ambit, it is what we look at home, work and in a wider sense, government. Get as much as possible, putting as less effort as possible, but we have to remember everything has got a price.
But now, the question arises. Is scientific management effective and efficient providing a solution managing others efforts? Well, the answer has to be yes, definitely. Federick Winslow Taylor a managerial guru developed a technique that is more effective in productivity, as well as in worker relations that any other management.
First of all, we have to understand what Scientific Management implies. Management by itself has an objective, to provide the maximum, both for the employer and for the employee. Some of us may think that it is not possible the coexistence of the employers and employees interests. Well, for Scientific Management these two interests are only one. It is there where this technique has its foundations, and this prosperity can be reached when the work, as Taylor would put it, ?is done with the smallest combined expenditure of human effort.?
One should think that it should not be very difficult for workers, to understand that ?maximum prosperity can only exist as a result of maximum productivity?, but the truth is that workers do as little as possible. This phenomenon is called ?soldiering?, and it is widely employed. For instance, in Mexico it is very common to hire a person, only for verifying that the workers are doing what they are supposed to do, the so often called supervisors. This implies another salary to pay and what is worse, the impossibility of reaching a high prosperity that will enable both employers and employees find this extraordinary efficient state.
Why is it then that workers do work slowly when performing their duties? Taylor has given three reasons. First of all because they think they will lose their jobs, blaming an increase in the output. Ladies and gentlemen, this is such a great myth that forms part of an educational an informative problem. Historical data proves that nothing is further from truth, and that any improvement made to machines or methods make in the end more jobs. Taylor gives the shoe industry example, and it is basically the same in every other industry. With all the improvements of technology the product gets cheaper, causing an increase in the demand and more people wants to acquire the products. In order to keep with the demand, more workers will be needed. We could go deeply in this particular subject only to find that ignorance causes much more disadvantages than any other thing.
Secondly we have soldiering, natural and systematic. The natural soldiering refers to the basic and universal take it easy; that is almost an instinct for humans whenever is possible. We have also the systematic soldiering, which takes place when we gather a group of workers. These people suffer a contagious phenomenon when they think, as Taylor would point it, ?Why should I work hard when that lazy fellow gets the same pay I do and does only half as much work?? Soldiering is a natural thing, and has its best part, when keeps the employers from knowing what are the capabilities of the workers, and how fast a work could be done.
The third reason, in which Taylor explains the why workers do work slow, in my opinion shall not be called like that. It is not properly a slow motion work, and because there are not waste movements, there?s a considerable increase in the output while a decrease in the activities that are not useful at all. In order to perform this kind of work, a gradual substitution from the rule of thumb to scientific management is required. And through this change, we?ll see how Taylor?s management is efficient when handling other people efforts.
The change from one managerial type to another involves certain changes. Some of these changes are so simple that certainly by the time we perform them we?ll be asking ourselves how didn?t we find this before. Some key points that have to suffer some changes go from given responsibilities, co-operation, and contact with the management.
It is possible to say that the roots of scientific managing are planning and transforming workers tasks into science. Managers shall give advice and behave as friendly and as helpful as possible, always planning and teaching. Furthermore through observation and picking up data placed a worker where he is best suited to be. Quoting Taylor once again, ?This close intimate co-operation between the management and the men is the essence of modern scientific? management. These changes will produce an increase in the wages. This increase, when performed with intimate co-operation with the management will remove all causes for soldiering providing us with a powerful weapon to handle other people efforts.
When comparing scientific management with other types of management some of them may seem useful when managing the effort of others. The ?initiative and incentive? management consists basically of giving incentives to those workers with initiative, by initiative we may understand hard work, skill, and good will. Supposedly this kind of management works pretty well, and so it is mentioned in ?The Principles of Scientific Management? even though it is an ordinary type of management. Here is another reason to believe why scientific management is superior to ?initiative and incentive?. From close experience, this type of ordinary management brings some problems with it. When giving an incentive, a subjective decision has to be taken, and workers may imply some favouritism for certain workers. At least this is a very common case in Mexico, where clientelism is an everyday word. This strengths even more the idea that scientific management is the best option when trying to foment workers initiative, because sci-man (Scientific management), obtains this initiative, that at the end could be called effort, with ?absolute uniformity and to a greater extent? .
In order to transform our ordinary management, we need to transform it into a science and therefore follow some steps that will allow us do that. Parts of these steps were mentioned above, but some further explanation is needed. Once it is a science then sci-man will allow us to handle the effort of others in the best possible way for the company interests.
Some steps have to be followed in order to complete this task. Taylor groups them in four. First to develop from traditional knowledge, by classifying and tabulating all this knowledge into rules, laws and formulas, a science for each element of the works that take place. This first point, I believe is the most important, and if this we do not develop a science properly, failure is quite guaranteed. Secondly as a manager you have to train, and teach workers what to do. As a third point, managers need to be as helpful as possible. And finally to divide work. As much as managers would not like this idea, work have to be divided as fair as possible. So briefly, when we combine initiative with some tasks that have to be performed by the managers, we get something very alike to scientific management, something that will provide us (as managers), with a more efficient way of handling the effort of others.
We have to remember that as managers get more involved in the workers field, the workers may do that as well. Common sense tells us that managers are entitled on the planning. Well, that indeed is true, but workers should be much more involved in this task. I think it is needed to mention that the good will of workers and managers is absolutely needed in the planning and preparing. We need to notice how important the planning is, so it is here where scientific management as itself takes place. By this, on the long run workers will be happier without feeling overworked, and employers will have reached their maximum which is prosperity.
Taylor performed, obviously, some experiments on this. Trying to verify exactly how effective his systems worked. Well, I found a quote that briefly says it all. When men perform hard day tasks, and for their efforts they get paid up 60 per cent more than their normal wages, and interest phenomenon takes place. This thing makes ?them not only more thrifty but better men in every way; that they live rather better, begin to save money, become more sober, and work more steadily.? This is absolutely fantastic, what better way of managing their effort. Well, as great as it may sound the interesting part is situated in the idea that if scientific management is not performed, as it should, then it can turn into a problem. Because when the employer paid more than 60 per cent, they began to work irregularly and presenting lots of problems. To conclude this idea, it is not good for the employers, that their workers get rich very fast. So, in order to work it is necessary to keep it as a science, and always under analysis and observation.
The change from another kind of management to scientific management should not only be concerned with things like speed, movements, formulas and laws, but also, and very importantly with a change in the mental attitude. As Taylor would put it in a testimony he had to give before the ?Special House Committee? in 1912. ?Scientific management involves a complete mental revolution on the part of the workingman engaged in any particular establishment or industry.? This change in mental attitude and in habits can be brought slowly and sometimes through lessons. Lets remember that managers have the duty of teach and prepare the employees. As an implied task, maybe the word may not sound very refined, but it is a truth and a ?brainwash? is necessary.
The problem of managing the effort of others, there is no places where the ?s? behind the word other would fit better. Scientific management when implemented in a place can not be for one, or some. It is a system that involves the entire group. Co-operation is absolutely necessary. And to have the entire company involved is almost a requirement.
Scientific management more than an invention, is a combination of elements that are not used in different kinds of management, this involves the use of formulas, laws and rules that are taken trough observation, analysis and classification. Without forgetting the ?brainwash? or mental revolution for employers and employees towards management, each other duties and the new and friendlier relation between bosses and workers. Science, harmony and co-operation will result in a maximum output and greater efficiency in work.
There is a basic difference and a great advantage between people who worked before and after scientific management was implemented. A person who has worked under this type of management is producing two, three and even four times as much as his fellows without scientific management, and this with a ?given expenditure of given effort?. When asked if scientific management could manage efforts, the answer was affirmative. And the increase in the productivity of human effort does not come by itself, but with an increase in the personal dexterity as well. And so Taylor explains it in his papers.
The effort of each person at the end has a personal expression. it is impossible to force others. Times of slavery are gone. But management can work pretty well in people?s minds. Scientific management has proven to be efficient and effective because it shows results, and results have the power of changing people?s minds in an impressive way. When the output is higher without putting more input, it is then beside other things, when the efforts are pretty well managed and ladies and gentlemen national efficiency is then reached.
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