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soc 227 essay final.docx

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Gregory Bird

Humanistic Bureaucracy 1 Running Title: Humanistic Bureaucracy Humanistic Bureaucracy Neha Siddiqui 999091138 University of Toronto Mississauga Humanistic Bureaucracy 2 Introduction The Principles of Scientific Management are designed by Frederick Winslow Taylor. The object of these principles is to ensure an efficient workplace with high productivity levels. Taylor argued that there is a science behind managing a proficient workplace (Taylor, 1911, p. 24).In this paper I will examine the principles of scientific management and apply them to my work experiences as a customer service representative for student loans. Through this application I will argue that although Taylor’s theory of scientific management ensures efficiency, it also promotes the de-skilling and de-humanization of the workers in the workplace. Workers are not permitted to use their intelligence but simply carry out the jobs they have been specifically trained to perform. Also, the scientific management theory sets a high output level that must be met by the workers under any circumstances. This exploits the workers on human grounds. Critical Examination According to the principles of scientific management, the manager has control over everything and holds all of the responsibility. The manager’s decision is final and it is his or her job to ensure the working environment is functioning productively. This includes accumulating all the knowledge necessary about the job to guarantee productivity. Using the knowledge gained about the job, the manager has to form detailed rules and policies that workers will refer to in their daily routine (Taylor, 1911, p. 26). The manager must use scientific methods and calculate how the job will be executed most efficiently. Then the manager should reconstruct the process to the match the new and improved method which will ensure the highest productivity rate. While planning out the method to perform the task, the manager should use the best worker as a subject and build the procedure on the basis of his or her performance. This sets a high standard of performance that all workers must meet. Such preparation and planning sets a bureaucratic Humanistic Bureaucracy 3 environment in the workplace. It shifts focus from individual thinking to a methodical and systematic working style (Taylor, 1911, p. 27). It is also the management’s responsibility to provide workers with an in depth explanation of how to execute the job; a step by step guide that workers will refer to for assistance (Taylor, 1911, p. 27). There is a lot of focus on the specific technique of performing the job. The manager designs tasks for the workers well in advance with written instructions and the utilities that are to be used while performing the task. The manager must also provide the worker with an allotted time during which the task must be completed. If the worker completes the task using the proper technique and in the allotted time, he or she achieves a 30 percent bonus on the average wage as a pay incentive (Taylor, 1911, p. 27). Along with the descriptive guide, Taylor emphasized the importance of training the workers and developing them so they perform their tasks to the best of their abilities. To add to the management’s responsibility, the manager must closely monitor the workers while they are doing their jobs and prepare a report of their performance (Taylor, 1911, p. 27). This report determines whether there has been any progress or regress in their performance, which will in turn indicate whether they receive a bonus). Thus, the workers will not have any excuse to engage in systematic soldiering (working inefficiently, being unproductive). Taylor advocates that implementing these principles will guarantee high productivity levels and an increase in profit for the employer. Applying the principles of scientific management will result in a clear division of responsibility. The manager is responsible only for the planning and the workers are responsible only for the execution. Sociologically, the manager indulges in mental labour and the workers indulge in manual labour. The manager is dependent on the workers to get the job finished and the workers have no input or say in their job. According to Taylor, “the ideal worker was more Humanistic Bureaucracy 4 like a machine than a human being” (Bird, 2013, p.241). This fogs the distinction between humans and animals. Animals do not think. They do as they are trained. Similarly, the workers under the scientific management are treated as animals or mere physical beings. They work with their bodies, not with their minds. Also, the principle of scientific management suggests de- skilling the workers (Bird, 2013, p.68). There is a high division of labour (every task is fragmented in several tasks) in which every worker is specifically trained and specialized for one particular task. Therefore, workers do not get an opportunity to use their own skills set. They can only work as instructed, and like machines, do the same job every day with no variety, no opportunity to grow or to be promoted. Taylor assumed that the workers will be enthused simply by economic gain in the form of 30 percent bonus (Bird, 2013, p.69). However, along with economic incentives, workers need to be in a positive and friendly atmosphere which will result in a more productive state of mind. Scientific management pressurizes workers to work constantly and rapidly. Regardless of their personal circumstances, workers have to work to produce the maximum output. This is exploiting the workers and degrading labour. It dehumanizes the workplace. Technically, Taylor’s principles of scientific management seem to be efficient, but in actuality Taylor ignores the humane aspect of working. This causes low productivity and less profit for the manager. It also creates resentment between managers and workers. Rise in labour strikes and conflicts are of no benefit to any workplace. The principles of scientific management are extremely rational and as the Iron Cage Theory by Max Weber states: being too rational is irrational, it causes complexities in workplaces. Applied Analysis I worked as a customer service representative in a call centre for student loans in company A. My job was to answer calls from students inquiring about their student loan process. Humanistic Bureaucracy 5 My work experiences verified the principles of scientific management to some extent; some of the principles were present and some were not. The management at company A did not adhere to every responsibility that was outlined in the principles of the scientific management theory. The training I and the rest of my batch received was not sufficient enough for us to attend calls and solve the client’s queries efficiently.
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