Sociology Index


The term scientific management is applied to a method of work organization where management implements a specialized division of labor and sets out detailed instructions for the performance of work. Scientific management is associated with the innovative methods introduced by Frederick Taylor to separate workers from their knowledge of the work process, to divide labor so as to pay only for the specific skill required to perform a narrow function and to establish management as the controller of work and the work process. Scientific management was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management.

Scientific management is the label Frederick Taylor attached to the system of shop-floor management devised by him. The main objective of scientific management is improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity.

Scientific management, culture and control: A first-hand account of Taylorism in practice - Oswald Jones, Aston Business School, UK. In this article I examine the changes that occurred in a large domestic appliance factory over a 12 year period. The appointment of a new managing director was the catalyst for many innovations in the plant including the ending of payment by results and the use of stopwatches by work study engineers. Despite senior managerial efforts to change the organizational culture those employed in the work study department continued to exert considerable influence over factory design and work organization. In the article I present a first-hand account of the way in which individual identity and subjectivity contributed to a distinctive subculture.

Ernst Abbe’s scientific management: theoretical insights from a nineteenth-century dynamic capabilities approach - Guido Buenstorf and Johann Peter Murmann. In this article we present our discovery of very different ‘scientific’ management principles that, roughly concurrently with Taylorism, were developed by German physicist-turned-manager Ernst Abbe and that are codified in the statutes of the Carl Zeiss Foundation created by Abbe. They exhibit striking parallels to resource-based and capability-based theories of the firm, and indicate managerial challenges that warrant further theoretical elaboration.

Scientific Management, Bureau-Professionalism, New Managerialism: The Labour Process of State Social Work - JOHN HARRIS. Summary: An outline is provided of radical social work writers' use of Braverman's labour process thesis on scientific management to account for developments in state social work in the late 197Os/early 1980s. The advocacy of a scientific management model in radical social work texts is tested against the existence of a bureau-professional social work labour process in the 1970s/early 1980s.