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QuestionContribution of Taylor to modern day management practice
AnswerFrederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) was a prominent engineer and management consultant whose theories are still well known today. He developed Scientific Management, which aimed to improve efficiency through careful design of workplace processes and procedures, and strict monitoring. His approach promoted standardisation and management control, reducing autonomy of workers. It was aimed at increasing productive efficiency, and fitted well with the growing importance of mass production and assembly lines (such as Ford’s moving line in 1913). Taylor's approach set a standard for dealing with employees that proved to be highly influential. The piece-rate pay mechanism, for example, was adopted by many factories in the 20th century, and this may be attributed to Taylor popularising it. Over recent decades Taylor’s approach to workers has been criticised for being condescending and uncaring. It is theorised that the approach will demotivate workers and result in disengagement and poor performance. So, these aspects of Scientific Management are losing influence. However, the focus on standardisation and of developing best-practice work methods is still highly relevant and popular. Standardisation is still considered to be one of the main ways to achieve efficiency. The Lean approach to operations management is heavily influenced by Taylor's approach, as was stated by Shigeo Shingo a key developer of Lean. This approach is becoming increasingly popular as a way to create cost and performance improvements, and so through this Taylor is still contributing to management innovation. The approach of measuring and monitoring activities to assess performance has also carried on as a popular management practice, and is used in most businesses. This is partly influenced by Taylor, alongside others such as Deming.
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