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Frederick Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management


Frederick Taylor, an American engineer, was the founder of the school of the scientific management that is used by plenty of contemporary businesses in the field of the scientific labor organization (Boone & Kurtz 2012). It is of no coincidence that the engineer created that theory as he possessed the experience of the industrial enterprise technology and learned relationships between employees and managers.

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The relevance of the theme is caused by the fact that in modern conditions the importance of choosing the proper business management strategy, in particular, the staff has never been higher. In this regard, this paper reveals the topicality of the concept of scientific management of Taylor in the modern business world as it influenced on the development of management science and organizational theory a lot.

Brief Overview of Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management

Taylor’s theory is based on the proposition of the fact that to achieve the effective organization of the business, it is necessary to create a management system that would produce the maximum growth of labor productivity at the lowest cost (Taylor 2013). Taylor claimed that industrial relations, and above all, the subordination, in other words, behavior and communication of workers and management personnel has a direct impact on productivity growth (Weisbord 2011).

According to Taylor, there are five basic scientific management principles:

  1. scientific approach to the implementation of each component of the work;
  2. co-operation of managers and workers;
  3. systematic approach to training;
  4. division of responsibilities;
  5. strict surveillance of workers.

McDonald’s that Applies the Considered Theory

Among companies that follow Taylor’s theory, one might note McDonald’s. McDonald’s is a transnational corporation. Some estimate it as a source of fast and cheap food while the others consider it a restaurant of poor quality with unskilled employees. Nevertheless, the company has a good image including a high-quality service and rapid manufacturing process provided with the help of advanced technologies. Therefore, using the procedure of assembly line in food preparation, McDonald’s offers a standard product and performance quality. Each element of the working process is implemented within the framework of the scientific approach suggested by Taylor.

The fast-food industry is considered a competitive sector, and application of the Taylor’s theory is one of the factors that provide McDonald’s with the competitive advantage. In order to remain competitive, the company has developed programs and policies for employees and managers. As a result, the company follows the successful example of the organizational behavior all over the world. In terms of Taylor’s theory, managers and employees of McDonald’s act strictly according to instructions.

Managers provide guidance to employees pointing them to what should be done, thereby reducing the subordinate thinking and sluggishness. In this case, employees act like tools. In accordance with Taylor’s approach, company’s management also involves monitoring the implementation of labor operations and analyzes the information to identify the reserves of labor productivity growth. These management systems help the manager to keep an effective track of the organization ranging from employee management to organization process management (Technology and Globalisation n.d.). Consequently, it is managers who should be responsible for all the work performed by employees, whereas each of them is personally responsible for his part of the job.

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The management of McDonald’s also recognizes the importance of the selection of people who are physically and intellectually consistent with the work they do and stresses the significance of training according to the scientific management. In fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s, the customer’s satisfaction is a considerable factor. Consequently, it is considered that the motivation plays an important role, as the high level of customer service could be achieved only if employees are motivated and satisfied with their work (Sustainability 2016). Managers use economic, administrative, and socio-psychological management methods during training and working.

Speaking of the division of responsibilities, it is necessary to mention that every work operation is defined for the special employee, it is science-based, and needs to be done in the standard timely manner. Installed output norms allow the manager to monitor the relationship between the size of the salary of each employee and the results of his work constantly, as well as specific criteria (strength, agility, initiative, and ingenuity). In its turn, it allows choosing capable workers, placing them as an example to the rest to the general level of ability to work steadily increased.

Google that Goes Further

In order to achieve the objectivity, it seems appropriate to consider another company that is not functioning according to Taylor’s theory of the scientific management. According to Ritzer (2010, p. 34), the scientific management is a method used by managers to gain control over employees, a procedure that “produced nonhuman technology that exerted great control over workers”. However, in today’s business world, employees are encouraged to use their best endeavors, skills, and initiative to earn the highest return.

According to Wilson (2010, p. 125), “the economic prosperity brought about by Taylor’s techniques would, paradoxically, have produced just the sort of needs (needs for social contacts, recognition, and achievement) that his techniques could not fulfill”. For example, Google Company that is one of the leading companies in the world believes that society should move on to new theories and strategies of the labor organization. Google provides all employees with some degree of independence, and founders of the company also possess that freedom, too. Sometimes they suddenly come to the meeting, where they were not expected (Brandt 2011). Moreover, all Google employees are bright and extraordinary people. Therefore, the company’s products are always unique, original, and easy to use. In addition, Google offers some freedom expressed in working at desired time.

Ultimately, the success of Google depends on concerted actions of all team members each of which has specific responsibilities. Such commonality blurs the lines of communication within the company (Steiber 2014). As a result, anyone could ask a question to the authorities during the meetings that are traditionally held on Fridays, or play a table tennis with them. It shows that some aspects of Taylor’s theory, in particular, the responsibility division, remain.

As a matter of fact, Google’s management is characterized by a complete lack of discrimination, and preference is given not only to experienced but also to capable candidates (Mohdin 2015).The company is constantly expanding and opening offices in different countries. Here one could hear dozens of languages from English to Telugu. All that strategies has allowed building a successful team that supports Google users around the world.


In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that Taylor’s theory of the scientific management remains successful to some extent. However, there is a tendency of creation new management strategies that allow achieving even more prosperity as Google did.

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Boone, L & Kurtz, D 2012, Contemporary business, 14th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken.

Brandt, R 2011, The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders, Penguin Group, New York.

Mohdin, A 2015, ‘Google is now sharing its best internal HR and management advice with the world’, Quartz, Web.

Ritzer, G 2010, McDonalization, Sage, London.

Steiber, A 2014, The Google Model: Managing Continuous Innovation in a Rapidly Changing World, Springer, New York.

Sustainability 2016, Web.

Taylor, F 2013, Scientific Management, Routledge, New York.

Technology and Globalisation n.d., Web.

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Weisbord, M 2011, ‘Taylor, McGregor and Me’, Journal of Management History, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 165-177.

Wilson, F 2010, Organizational Behaviour and Work, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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