F.W. Taylor- 5 Principles of Scientific Management

F.W. Taylor was an American engineer as well as a consultant. He is known for his work on Scientific Management Theory. His theory, of scientific management, is also known as Taylorism or the Tylor system. This theory was developed in the early 20th century, and aimed to improve productivity and efficiency in the industrial setting by using the scientific method to the study and design of work processes. The theory focused on maximizing workers’ productivity through careful analysis and optimization of tasks, work methods, and the division of labour.

Rise and Growth of Scientific Management

F.W. Taylor introduced the Scientific Management theory during the initial years of the 20th century. He mentioned this theory in his famous book called Principles of Scientific Management, which was published in 1911. He was not the first person to use this word, Before Taylor’s contributions, figures like Charles Babbage, Henry R. Towne, Frederick Halsey, and Henry Metcalf had independently developed and employed diverse scientific management methodologies and approaches. Though the term “scientific management” was first coined by Louis Brandies (1910). later on, Tylor used this word to give a complete and systematic explanation of scientific methods and techniques for promoting the organisational efficiency and economy. Hence, he came to be known as the “Father of Scientific Management”. after the theory of Taylor, many management thinkers came and contributed ideas on scientific management, among them H.L. Gantt, H. Emerson, F.B. Gilbreth, L.M. Gilbreth, C.G. Barth, S.E. Thompson, M.L. Cooke, and H.K. Hathaway. Both industrial and governmental organizations’ administrative philosophy and practices were greatly influenced by the scientific management movement. It originated in the USA and moved to other nations, such as the former USSR, where it evolved into the Stakhanovite Movement between 1920 and 1940.

Contributions Of F.W Taylor

He was the first to emphasize the value of operating a business using the Scientific Approach as opposed to the Hit and Trial Method.
There are Some important books of F.W. Tylor are

  1. A Piece-Rate System (1895)
  2. Shop Management (1903)
  3. The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)
  4. The Art of Cutting Metals” (1915) – Co-authored with M. E. Thompson

What is Scientific Management?
The application of scientific systemic, objective, and logical principles and techniques to a range of managerial tasks is known as scientific management. Science is applied to every aspect of management.


  • The four headings below help us comprehend Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory:
  1. Identification of reasons for reduced production
  2. Assumptions of Scientific Management
  3. Principles of Scientific Management
  4. Elements (Techniques) of Scientific Management

Identification of Reasons for Reduced Production

  • Taylor identified two major reasons:
  1. Soldiering
  2. Initiative and Incentive based Management
    SOLDIERING: This refers to the tendency of the employees to restrict the work output.

Natural Soldering: It is restricting of output due to inherent qualities of individuals like laziness, shyness, incapability, etc.
Natural Soldering can be corrected by persuasion or threat
Systematic Soldering: Reduction in the output, done deliberately by the workers or the employees.

  1. Incentives were paid to the workers for attendance rather than the work done.
    Hence, the workers were afraid of losing work (if the productivity was higher and the work got completed earlier

Initiative and Incentive based Management

Earlier, the organizations were run in an unorganized and unscientific manner. This unorganized and unregulated way was known as the Rule of Thumb
Managers were lazy and Didn’t take up their responsibilities (planning, directing, etc.) seriously.

  • The labourers did the work for incentives (salaries) and had to take initiatives on their own
    Hence, this was called Initiative and Incentive based management
    Taylor advocated that the management should take up its responsibilities seriously.

Assumptions Of Scientific Management

1.The functioning of an organization can be improved with the application of scientific methods.

  1. An effective worker is someone who follows management directives without needing to take independent action.
  2. Every worker is an economic man and is motivated by monetary factors.

5 Principles of Scientific Management

  1. Science Not Rule Of Thumb
    The obsolete hit-and-trial method or rule-of-thumb approach should be substituted with a scientific examination and analysis of every component of a task. This ensures maximum effectiveness. There is just one ideal way to build the standard working approach and investigate the conventional method through work-study.
  2. Harmony, Not Discord
    There ought to be complete harmony and a proper understanding between management and workers, fostering collaboration towards achieving organizational goals. To get harmonious relations, Taylor stresses on Mental Revolution. Give up the Attitude of Opposition. Build positive feelings.
  3. Mental Revolution: This principle is not only about the change of attitude and belief but also about the change of mindset for the management and workers towards each other. The involvement of scientific means will lead to a radical way of thinking for both the organization and its staff. It is considered that, if this mental revolution doesn’t take place, real scientific management cannot come into existence. The most effective change is the one that the organization makes when it aligns with its workers. It is argued here that the business can become more effective when both upper and lower management levels agree on the same ways of thinking.
  4. Cooperation, Not Individualism
    Instead of individualism, management, and employees should work together. It’s a continuation of “Harmony, not Discord.” Competition should be replaced by cooperation. Management insists” on a paternalistic Style of Management.
  5. Development Of Workers To Their Greatest Efficiency And Prosperity.
    The success of industries greatly depends on the capabilities of their workforce. Scientific management emphasizes the critical importance of nurturing workers to attain peak efficiency. Hence, management should concentrate on enhancing workers’ abilities to maximize their efficiency and success. This includes providing scientific training to enhance their skills and performance.

Elements (Techniques) of Scientific Management


  • This technique aims to find out the one best way of doing a work
  • A job at the shop floor is divided into small activities or motions
  • Afterward, the most effective sequence of actions is identified.
  • Standards of work methods are set, taking into consideration
    the tools and equipments, raw materials, hand and body
    movements etc.

•Previously employed to establish the standard duration for completing tasks.

  • A stop watch is used in this technique
  • All the activities are sequenced in such a way that the job is completed in the minimum time possible
    ► Objective of Time Study:
    1) Determine the Number of Workers to be employed.
    2) To frame a suitable Incentive Scheme.
    3) To determine Labour Costs.

Payment on the basis of standards set by motion and time studies.
To solve the problem of systematic soldiering in an organization.
Payment on the basis of performance of the worker (instead of attendance):
Low piece rate up to standard.
Large bonus at the standard.
Higher piece rate above the standard.


  • According to this principle, the managers should be interested only in the exceptional cases in an organization:
  • Exceptional cases: Workers whose performance varies from Standard performance
    Workers are unable to meet the targeted output.
    Workers exceeding the targeted output.

Foreman = Supervisor

  • Functional Foreman = Specialized Supervisors
  • A worker is supervised by EIGHT Functional Foreman
    Hence, Taylor rejected the concept of Unity Of Command
  • Out of these 8, 4 are responsible for planning and the other 4 are responsible for execution
    Qualities of a Good Foreman :
    Taylor specified NINE qualities of a Good Foreman:
  1. Education
  2. Special or Technical Knowledge
  3. Manual dexterity and strength
  4. Tact
  5. Energy
  6. Grit
  7. Honesty
  8. Judgement
  9. Good Health

Fatigue Study
This entails determining the required amount and frequency of rest intervals to complete a task. The worker must provide brief rest intervals in between to enable him to regain lost stamina. Observing worker while performing the job, noting downtime, when their efficiency level starts falling. Ex- MNCs Power Nap.

Impact of Scientific Management :
  • Introduced more effective use of labour, material, and managerial capabilities
  • Promoted harmony and cooperation between workers and management
  • Focused on the elimination of waste (in material, time, effort, and skills
CRITICISM of Scientific Management

•Scientific Management Theory focuses solely on the lower level (shop floor), hence referred to as a partial theory of organization.

  • Treated workers as machines and neglected their human side. Hence, called Mechanistic theory
  • Underestimated and oversimplified human motivation. Assumed man to be motivated by economic factors only. Hence, called the Monistic theory of Motivation
    -It is opposed by March and Simon as ‘Physiological Organization Theory’
  • It is opposed by Labour unions as the concept of Mental Revolution was anti-trade unions
    -It is opposed by managers as it increases their work and responsibilities