Management Semester 1 Coursework Essay

“Compare and contrast the attitudes of the Scientific School of Management thought (Taylor et al) with those of the Human Relations Movement (Mayo et al) with regard to people at work”.

Management is defined as ‘organisation and coordination of the activities of an enterprise in accordance with certain policies and in achievement of clearly defined objectives'(,2009) or put simply ‘Getting things done through people' as said by Mary Parker(1941). Throughout the history of management a few schools of thought have arised primarily the scientific school of thought and the Human relations school of thought. Both sought to increase productivity of a business but in different ways, one through an impersonal systematic approach, scientific and a more social, personal one, Human relations. This essay will compare and contrast both schools of thought citing advantages and disadvantages of both.

Frederick Taylor was born in 1856 in Philadelphia. He was an engineer who encouraged the idea of ‘Industrial efficiency', the idea of minimizing waste in order to maximise profit.

Elton Mayo, Born 1880 in Australia, directed the department of industrial research at Harvard University. Many people regard him as the founder of the human relations school of thought. His main findings were that from the Hawthorne experiment, a large experiment where workers were observed to see if an aspect of their behaviour would improve when they were being studied. The examiners manipulated the main variables of lighting, pay, and breaks during work, food during breaks and shortening hours. It was found that by manipulating these variables enough they could find the optimum output per worker.

The main tenets of Taylor were that he believed there shouldn't be a ‘rule of thumb', the idea managers should always make the worker perform to the maximum of their ability regardless of personal circumstances. Taylor seen the rule of thumb made workers seem as they were an obstacle between the business and profit whereas they were actually the key to making profit. He believed to counter this; a scientific school of management was needed as he saw if management was regarded as a science it could ultimately be mastered. Taylor came up with four main tenets which he seen as essential to managing a business. First he believed that all work should be broken down to the basics so as easy to understand by even the most uneducated worker, so it allowed no room for error or misunderstanding. Second he believed in the ‘scientific' selection of the worker, meaning only the best worker for the job would get the job so as to maximise profit. Thirdly, the training and development of the employee, so that they feel confident about the job they are doing and can work to the best of their ability. Fourthly he believed that work should be assigned accordingly, such as managers assigning the work and planning, the workers actually doing the work they are assigned to.

Mayo, with his beliefs based upon the Hawthorne experiment, found that the human relations movement could me more useful to a business. His main tenets were firstly that workers were more likely to be efficient if they saw themselves as part of a group. Secondly he thought that being in a group could cancel out the desire for better pay and better conditions. Thirdly he believed that unofficial groups could have a very large impact on the workers behaviour, formed either inside or outside of the workplace. Fourthly he believed in the need for managers to see the social needs of workers were met, psychological and ‘creature' needs.

Taylor was a major believer in the idea the sole motivator for a worker was the promise of financial gains. This led him to believe that if a worker was promised financial incentives this would increase his output. Taylor came to the conclusion all workers were lazy at heart and that money was the only way to actually make them work. Taylor made a system called the differential system where the worker would be treated almost as a child, where he is given a reward for something he does right such as meeting a target and is punished for anything he does wrong such as failure to meet a target or failure to carry out a task. When put into effect this meant that the worker had to be given objectives etc directly linking back to Taylors first tenet of scientific management.

Mayo's school of thought is almost the opposite of Taylors. Mayo thought that believing workers only cared about financial gains was incorrect as he used evidence from the Hawthorne experiment which showed precisely the opposite. Because he discovered that social groups could easily make productivity increase if manipulated correctly, over financial gains. If an organisation was to be built around human components, it was undesirable to treat them as machines and should take into consideration human needs and traits such as emotions and attitudes. Mayo introduced a system where people could feel happy about work and see it as a place to feel appreciated in a social atmosphere, not just as a cog in a machine.

The schools of management were both different in many ways yet similar in others. For example, in Taylorism, the role of the manager is to delegate responsibility and is seen as a very authoritative figure. This can be good as there is a clear set of boundaries and a ‘no nonsense' approach. However, it is highly impersonal and will most likely lead to low job satisfaction. In Human Relations, the manager is seen as a social figure, there to make sure everyone is doing well in the sense of co-operation and assisting growth and development of the worker. The manager also encourages the informal groups that happen in the workplace

Taylorism also believed in the differential system for motivational purposes whereas Mayo's was alot more personal relying on sociality to motivate. The differential system would mean targets are set individually and punishments are handed out individually. This could be good because of its personal approach, and will make the worker feel more appreciated if he gets a reward. However, it can also have the opposite effect, as the worker may feel they are being picked on if they are given a punishment often and their job satisfaction may be lower. Mayo on the other hand encouraged these informal groups, where the rewards could be handed out to everyone and could encourage a group mentality in order to carry out tasks to their maximum efficiency, the idea that everyone works for their own and everyone else's benefit. This could help give them a feeling of acceptance among the other workers which in due course can increase output and job satisfaction.

Taylor did not see the need for informal social groups whereas Mayo saw them as necessary to a business, and embraced them because he understood you could manipulate them to achieve the greatest output. The reason Taylor disliked the informal groups so much was because he saw the workers as no more than machines and the best way to maximise the output was to keep everyone as a individual with their own targets set by management. Mayo however embraced the idea seeing it as a way to help communication throughout the workers and to help co-operation among the workforce, where everyone works towards the same goal helping each other at every stage. A main reason for this was because in the scientific school of management, the worker is seen as a unit, there only to serve the organisation for a nominal fee. The human relations school sees the worker as more than a unit, but a influence upon other workers whereby output can be increased, through the forming of bonds into these informal groups.

Both schools of management had their differences, but they both share the ultimate aim of increasing productivity. If both schools of thought are implicated into a business's style of management, the results could be staggering; the common aim can be applied throughout different departments where both are on the same level of authority. This means you can take both ideas and tweak them until you have a perfect balance of the worker knowing they are there to serve the business but also as part of a group, both of which are essential to the businesses survival.

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