Discuss the relevance of Fredrick W. Taylor’s contributions to the contemporary Nigerian public sector.
Idris Jamo: BUAD 801. Distance Learning Centre Ahmadu Bello Universisty, Kaduna, Zaria.
Phone: 08160992383. Email: [email protected]
Dawari Akobo. MBA Student, Registration Number: DP17MBA0967.
Phone: 08167161055. Email: [email protected]
The classical management theory were developed in three streams namely, scientific, bureaucratic and administrative management theory and they were founded on similar assumptions and mostly concerned with increase in efficiency and production with little or no concern for human relations. The major proponents of classical management are Fayol and Weber’s. The respective founders of Administrative & Bureaucracy theory, each school of thought developed sequentially and tended towards addressing limitations in the scientific management theory. The study of public administration has been approached from various angles, but for the sake of the task of this assignment the Mechanical Approach is paramount. The Mechanical Approach is the early approach to the study of public administration. Its main advocates were L.D White, W.F Willoughby, Taylor and Warner (ABU, 2016; NOUN, 2015). These thinkers concentrated there attention on the question of achieving efficiency in public administration. Taylor believed that the problems of efficiency were alike in private industry and public administration. He held the view that one could discover the best way of principles of managing everything. His method was to breakdown workers, experiment with different methods and procedures, and finally adopt those which proved most efficient. He was concerned with mechanical efficiency and viewed administration as a technical problem. The basic idea underlying the mechanical approach is the administration is a mechanical organization and that we can find out certain principles which will make the organization function efficiently. According to his approach, efficiency is axiom number one in the value scale of administration. The mechanical approach may therefore be also called efficiency oriented approach or scientific management approach with little difference of emphasis (ibid)
Scientific Management Theories: Frederick Taylor (1911) identified various features that are important in the management of the organization with the intent to minimize management by rule of thumb and replace it with timed observations leading to the one best practice. In his view, work at the time was awkward and inefficient and managers were expected to instruct while employees perform duties as allocated within the organization. This encouraged the breaking up of tasks in the organization into sub-tasks and also helped to optimize the performance of tasks. To motivate performance, managers were encouraged to motivate employees through financial rewards and ensure sustenance through systematic and continuous training of workers in the best practice to increase productivity and work performance.
From an economic point of view, Taylorism was an outstanding success and yielded significant improvements in productivity particularly in the industrial era (Wren and Bedeian, 2009). Also alongside Taylor’s work in the 1920s was Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s motion study. This study arose from the need to reduce motions from bricklaying at a construction site; The Gilbreths succeeded in reducing the motions from 18 to 4 and then proposed each worker focus on own work, prepare for the next level and train successors (Redding, 1994). Today, some of Taylor’s and Gilbreth’s postulations are still globally relevant in the area of quality control especially in production based and very large manufacturing organizations around the world.
Scientific Management is targeted at removing one of the fundamental causes for dull times in organizations. When dull time is eliminated productivity, efficiency, and profitability will increase. This will in turn bring higher wages for employees and more revenue to the organizations. In adopting scientific management principles to increase productivity and efficiency, management must work according to scientific laws, and specific procedure. This entails making every activity in the public sector to be preceded by preparatory acts of management. This means that, every employee should be taught what is required of him in terms of objectives and target to be achieved. The employee should be assisted by supervisors; and under no circumstances should the worker be coerced by supervisors, or be left alone on his own without management support (Ibrahim, 2007). When staff are thought exactly what is required of them, and receive management support, they are likely to can perform their work better and faster, thereby increasing efficiency and improvement in performances. Scientific management involves goals and objectives settings, which are necessary for improving performances. In Nigeria, this may require the need to have a total reorientation. A total reorientation is needed; where by every public institution must have identifiable goals and objectives every year. The goals and objectives should be broken down into quarterly and monthly objectives that are quantifiable, measurable, and achievable; with time has time frame within which it must be accomplished (Ibrahim, 2007; Akintayo, et al, 2016).
Also each department or unit of should have its own objectives that are drawn from the general objectives of the center. Employees should therefore draw their daily objectives from their divisional or units objective. As soon as individual objectives are developed, action plan would then be drawn, where by each objective will be stated and the resources required to accomplish each objectives, the time frame upon which each activity must be accomplished, and the person that is responsible for accomplishing the task. When this is done every individual employees will know exactly what is expected of him. Every employee would understand how his job can contribute to the achievement of the wider organizational objectives and goals. Every employee can quantify his value to the organization. Every employee should know how his performance will either negatively or positively affect the overall performance of the organization. And also, every employee should easily determine on hourly basis and in quantitative terms what the organization will gain if he puts his best effort on the job and vice versa. Application of Scientific Management methods yields significant improvements in productivity. For example, Taylor’s shovel work study at Bethlehem Steel Works has succeeded in reducing fatigue and increasing employee productivity. Taylor’s wage incentive systems, (the piece rate) can be used in the Nigeria setting to recruit hourly workers, notably students in the university library to do professional and Para-professional jobs. Wage system, based on hourly rate, can be adopted in the Nigerian public sector to provide better and improved services. Such services can be quantified on hourly basis (Akintayo, et al, 2016; Ibrahim, 2007; Adegboye, 2013).
The Scientific Management theory also focuses its attention on improving productivity through careful study of the worker, the task, and the work place. It systematically analyzes human behavior at work, break down each task into its smallest unit and figure out the best way to do each job. The aim is to ensure that employers and employee work for greater efficiency and productivity which will result in higher wages for employees and higher turnover and profitability for the organization. This also can be applied in the Nigeria public sector and information science settings. The Scientific Management theory also emphasizes on, “studying the work place”. This is useful, as it will provide the management with information that is necessary to make the work place conducive for employees to perform any given task (Ibrahim, 2007).
It is therefore suggested that the Nigerian public sector should follow the tradition of Scientific Management theory by F.W Taylor, which has as one of its ideals, a waste-free system, with high productive outcome that is perfected by human efficiency through the application of science in the management of organizations. There is a great deal of certainty that, the problems of inefficiency which is a characteristic of the Nigerian public sector in could be surmounted through the use, and the application of the principle of scientific management. Through the application of Scientific Management theory of F.W. Taylor, it is possible to eliminate waste and “confusion” that is inherent in the Nigerian public sector (ibid).
The methodical study of cross-cultural research in management science helps in understanding which Western management practices are transferable and which is not. A thorough understanding of the dimensions of culture above and how it influences management processes and its effectiveness in any given industry is critical to managers. Bearing in mind that the management process can be described in line with classical theorists as a way in which the manager carries out his functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling; the cultural mindset and changes within any given system will influence how all the functions above are perceived and performed. The challenge of the applicability of Western management theories in Nigeria is very real and the introduction of new African philosophies in management is long overdue (Akintayo, et al, 2016). Furthermore, the classical management theory of which F.W Taylors SM follows is known for its rigidity and authoritarianism because managers do the thinking while the workers only do the job. In situations where there is ethnicity, corruption, nepotism, silence and abuse of the federal character, there will be increase in level of dissatisfaction and disengagement among employees which manifest itself in absenteeism and turnover and other undesired behaviors (Ibrahim, 2007).
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