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Scientific management and its applicability in Bangladeshi industrial establishment

Despite many such criticisms, today’s managers use the concepts of scientific management when they analyse basic work tasks to be performed, use time-and-motion study to eliminate wasted motions, hire the best qualified workers for a job, use adaptive robotics to boost worker efficiency and design incentive systems based on output
Md. Moinuddin Chowdhury
Scientific management and its applicability in Bangladeshi industrial establishment

The second half of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of a new industrial age in America with the expansion of the machine industry and the end of slave labour, when what is now meant by capital did not exist. Modern capital did not develop before the formation of limited liability joint venture business in 1862.

The emergence of joint venture business in the financial system separates the capitalist from the investor and creates a division between capital and management. In this context, the company no longer has a shareholder, the employers become mainly salaried managers. As a result of these changes, American investors have built large businesses that have undoubtedly played an important role in America's economic development in the nineteenth century. During this time the most dramatic initiative in America was the development of railways and its importance and size continued to grow. The managers of these large organizations soon encountered new types of problems, which Henry Poor, the editor of the American Railroad Journal, appeared to solve. He invented the basic management principles of large business organizations. H. Poor thought that railway managers needed to be guided by three principles - organization, communication and information. The most important of these principles is organization, that is, the deliberate division of labour. In terms of communication, Poor refers to a reporting system through which the management will be informed about the working of the railways. By information policy he means report analysis for overall development. From 1854 to 1856, Daniel C. McCallum, the superintendent of the Erie Railway, worked closely with Henry Poorer, and he was the first to put Poor's recommendations into practice. He used his keen mind and clear imagination to solve the institutional inefficiency of the then railways. Basically, it was a problem of control. At the time, railway managers noticed that large railways were inefficient and unprofitable, but McCallum believed that they could be operated efficiently if proper and well-thought-out rules were followed. Gradually, industrial establishments such as railways grew in size, and new markets created complexities. In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, managers began to realize the management problems of these fast-growing industries. To this end, the managers of the industrial establishments started discussions to solve various problems where they presented various reports to the companies like the American Mechanical Engineers Association. The number of publications on management was low at that time which was mainly published in engineering journals. Examining the early books, it was found that one of the major management problems was related to the wage system, which was in fact a problem of worker efficiency. As a result of the industrial revolution, the importance of this problem increased and managers realized that the direct supervision capacity of large organizations was gradually declining. So, they began to take encouragement as an alternative. Henry R. Towny, president of Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company, was a proponent of this new management idea. Through his efforts, modern management methods were introduced in the factories of this company. Towne began to apply the skills management methodologically in the 1870's, which is why the editors of 'Industrial Management' and 'The Engineering Magazine' claim that Towne was a pioneer in scientific management. Towne emphasizes in his writings that the management of a factory and the engineering management of an industrial enterprise are similar in importance. He introduced the doctrine of 'profit sharing'. Towne's plan guarantees a fixed wage for each worker. In his essay written in 1921, he differentiated between the scientific management of 1921 and the scientific management of 1886. Here he specifically mentions the introduction of industrial management courses in universities and technical colleges and recognizes FW Taylor as the leader of the scientific management movement. That is, Towne created an environment and atmosphere where it was possible to introduce scientific methods later. While Towne was busy developing his company's own ideas, Captain Henry Metcalfe was trying to solve the complexities of managing the Frankford weapons factory. After taking over management there, Metcalfe soon discovered that the traditional methods of organization and control used in the industrial world were in fact ineffective and futile. In 1881, as a solution, he invented a new control system. F.W. Taylor and the American Management Association recognize Metcalfe’s talent. Taylor admits that he owes Metcalfe for some of the ideas. On the other hand, the American Management Association thinks that the system invented by Metcalfe is equally effective in the present age. In 1891, Frederick Halsey presented an important article to the American Mechanical Engineers Association. In this article, he presented his thoughts on wages. He agreed with Towne’s ‘profit sharing’ doctrine and then devised the ‘Halsey Premium’ plan to overcome various weaknesses. The plan calls for a specific time frame for each task. In 1881, new progress was made in the field of management. Realizing the need for management education, Joseph Wharton, a capitalist from Philadelphia, donated a million dollars to the University of Pennsylvania to open a department. In this department necessary education and training was given for the recruitment of youths in management work.
The end of the American Civil War marked the beginning of a new industrial age in the American business world. The industry expanded to meet the growing needs of the people of the western countries and the process of hiring suitable people in the field of technology was felt. During this time the gap between the management and the working class in large businesses widened and the emergence of the managerial class in the industry became more pronounced. It was during this time that individuals like Towne and Metcalfe began to develop and implement an integrated management approach. It reviews each task, each part and each problem in terms of its relationship with other parts or with the whole activity. At the same time, Towny called on the managers to form an organization and at the same time to publish a magazine to exchange their decisions and opinions. This was the time to achieve the perfection of management thinking. Frederick Winslow Taylor appeared at this birth of new expectations in the field of management. Taylor was the first to introduce a new concept of overall management. Taylor believes that employees need to adopt a new philosophy and approach to management rather than managing it through strict discipline. His ideas were created in the 1878's, through accumulation of experience while working for Midvale Steel Company and various business establishments. During these years he first identified various defects in the work of a number of factories.
Management will assume responsibility for tasks that are more suitable for management than employees, whereas in the past almost all or most of the responsibilities were assigned to employees. Taylor said that scientific management doctrine is formed by these four principles of management and it is not mechanical, but much more doctrinal and philosophical. In this way the work of every worker or individual is pre-planned. Employees will be able to know today how much work they will do tomorrow. After fixing a certain standard of work, it is decided how to perform it in the best way. In other words, in this system, the best way to perform a certain quality work is determined and the concerned workers or workers are trained to perform it. The person who is skilled in that work is assigned to that work. Taylor emphasizes the study of time and motion. He called for the introduction of a 'differential piece rate' to encourage workers to work.
The subject of scientific management is not free from criticism. Many critics have commented that the application of scientific management in the industry is extremely costly. Many blame it on rising production costs. Scientific management cannot be applied economically in small businesses. Another major complaint is that scientific management makes workers monotonous, mechanical and immobile. In fact, he is incapable of doing anything else. According to some, it is undemocratic, because as a result of this system, the workers have to depend entirely on their work-based boss. They do not have the right to act as they wish. In scientific management, the employer may show injustice and mistreatment to the recruits, for which dissatisfaction is observed among the workers. Although incentive methods are followed to pay them, they are deprived of a fair share. Many critics believe that the use of machinery instead of manual labour in scientific management reduces the employment opportunities of many workers and increases the problem of unemployment. Scientific management does not condone collective bargaining. Therefore, in this system, the workers cannot join the workers' union to present and realize their own demands. Management has no right to say anything to improve their lot. Drucker harshly criticizes the separation of business organization planning and executive functions. According to him, planning and executive functions should not be performed by two groups of people who are not related to each other. Scientific management has a pessimistic view of human nature. The traditional ‘X Theory’ concepts have been reflected in the doctrine. Industrial psychologists believe that, apart from individual differences, psychological studies alone may not always yield the right results. It is difficult to determine the correct scientific and psychological method of monitoring the speed and timing of workers. Scientific management speaks of a best way to perform a task but psychologists think that there can be more than one alternative method of performing a task. Work styles and skills can vary from person to person. The financial impetus of scientific management in terms of employee motivation is incomplete.
Despite many such criticisms, today’s managers use the concepts of scientific management when they analyse basic work tasks to be performed, use time-and-motion study to eliminate wasted motions, hire the best qualified workers for a job, use adaptive robotics to boost worker efficiency, and design incentive systems based on output. The ideas of scientific management that began with Taylor dramatically increased productivity across all industries, and they are still important today. Indeed, the idea of engineering work for greater productivity has enjoyed a renaissance in the retail industry. Some supermarket chains in America are using computerized systems based on scientific management principles to schedule employees for maximum efficiency. A Harvard Business Review article discussing innovations that shaped modern management puts scientific management at the top of list of 12 influential innovations.
It is not yet possible to get a fully clear idea about the application of scientific management in the industrial establishments of Bangladesh. A study conducted by Mr. Ziaul Haque Mannan, Professor, Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, attempts to determine the extent to which scientific management tools are used in the operational activities of Bangladeshi firms. In particular, the reasons for not using scientific management tools and the advantages and disadvantages of this study have been realized by the followers of Bangladesh. An experimental survey was conducted in this effort where 192 operational managers were experienced in operational activities. These managers were selected from various government, semi-government, and multinational organizations. In addition to field surveys and field observations, a number of managers were interviewed to understand barriers to the use of management tools in management activities. It is estimated that the use of scientific management tools in the operational activities of various projects and / or operations is minimal. With the exception of a few international organizations, most of the other organizations rarely use these tools. The results of the survey show that 143 (74.5%) of the total respondents are using scientific management tools in one way or another. On the other hand, 49 respondents (25.5%) stated that they did not use any equipment. Research shows that the majority (60.1%) of those using scientific management tools are using a simple bar / Gantt chart to schedule their project work. A significant number (46.8%) were also seen using the PERT / CPM scheduling strategy. The use of forecasting technology is significant (44.6%). In the study, the researchers said that the barriers to the use of the scientific research tools described by the respondents were unknown to them or to their team members. “There are also a significant number of people who think that these tools don't need to be used or that they will complicate things,” he added. It is not possible to say in one word whether the results of this study of Prof. Mr. Ziaul Haque is an overall reflection of the scientific management of industrial establishments in the whole of Bangladesh. However, the research work is undoubtedly a very valuable creative gift for those involved.
 As a result of this study, it can be said that many of the officials of industrial organizations in Bangladesh use scientific management tools unknowingly. Even in the 21st century, the working methods, production processes and management methods of many industrial establishments in Bangladesh are still not completely modern and scientific. That is why they are not able to run with the desired efficiency. In particular, the management of state-owned enterprises is not efficient. Industrial companies are still lagging behind in terms of production volume and product quality. They are still plagued by severe diseases such as over-waste, unplanned speed, labor-fatigue, low quality goods and tools, unsettled industrial relations, inefficient production methods, faulty expenditures, and excessive production costs. In this situation, the application of scientific management in the industrial establishments of Bangladesh can still be considered essential. Undoubtedly, its implementation will increase management efficiency in the industrial enterprises of Bangladesh, it will help reduce waste and control production costs. If the cost of production is low, the purchase price of the product will be lower and the consuming people will benefit from being able to procure their necessities cheaply. This system will help in development through training of workers. As a result, unskilled workers in the mills of Bangladesh will become skilled workers. The implementation of scientific management will form the implementation and development of expertise in the industries of Bangladesh. The implementation of this system will result in an effective performance appraisal system, which will result in methods study, time study and determination of incentive wage rates which will help in adopting scientifically optimal measures in each case. It will be possible to apply the best production method in the field of production by method study. It will be possible to eliminate the unnecessary speed of goods, machines and workers through speed study. This will reduce the amount of waste and reduce the cost. As a result of the time study, a scientific time list will be prepared for the production and working units of the industries in Bangladesh and a certain number of products will be produced according to that schedule. In many cases the mills of Bangladesh are unable to produce and supply goods on time. The industrial establishments of this country often fail to hold on to the international market as they are unable to deliver the goods on time as per the orders of the buyers. The application of time-study will help to improve the system. It will be possible to determine the 'ideal work' for the workers of Bangladesh through fatigue study. As a result, the possibility of worker fatigue in the industry will be eliminated. Their efficiency and quality of work will increase. In most cases, industrial workers in Bangladesh are paid on a time-based basis. It is unreasonable to pay equal wages to skilled and unskilled workers. In most cases, wages are paid to industrial workers in Bangladesh on a time-based basis. It is unreasonable to pay equal wages to skilled and unskilled workers. Skilled workers are dissatisfied with this. It will be possible to improve this situation by implementing Taylor's 'Differential Piece Rate' wage system. If scientific management is applied in the industries of Bangladesh, it will be possible to standardize the raw materials, tools, factory environment and speed. This will increase production efficiency and reduce cost savings. It is necessary to end the bitter labor-management relationship with the industries of Bangladesh and establish friendly relations. That is why Taylor's mentioned mental revolution in the manpower of the industry is vital. Workers and employers should not quarrel over the distribution of profits or surplus, but should focus on increasing production and surplus with a liberal attitude. The conflict between the two must be turned into all-out cooperation. There are various problems in the application of scientific management in the industrial enterprises of Bangladesh such as large capital problems, cost of separate planning rooms, excessive expertise and consequent undemocratic system, injustice to the hired workers, loss in reorganization of industrial enterprises, monotony of workers and increase in unemployment. Craftsman problems, skilled labor problems, costly application of scientific management in small scale units etc.
Scientific management is considered an important classical approach. Beyond the various doctrines, managers today face the challenges of the twenty-first century. In the age of globalization and information-communication technology, I think those concerned should think about the extent to which the application of scientific management is possible in the industrial establishments of Bangladesh. The biggest thing is that the production efficiency of the organization as well as the welfare of the workers should not be neglected. Because one thing to keep in mind is that workers are no longer instruments, in the age of robotics they are now considered as one of the human resources or human capital. So, with that in mind, government, private capitalists and business associations need to work together to implement special aspects of scientific management. It is hoped that the application of the desired level of scientific management in the field of industry will lead Bangladesh on the path of prosperity and progress.

The writer is an Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Sankuchail Degree College, Burichang, Cumilla. Email: [email protected]

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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