Field of Organisational Behaviour as we know it today. This report will also outline Taylor’s early experiments, and show how they have been influential in the process of organisational behaviour. The concept of scientific management has influenced the study of organisational behaviour in many ways, it has affected the way individuals go about their day-to-day lives within organisations. Scientific management may be defined as “the name given to a series of approaches aimed at improving the performance of individual workers through the use of analytical procedures to lift workplace efficiency” (Davidson ; Griffin, 2003:41).
While organisational behaviour may be defined as “the study of individuals and groups in organisations” (Wood et al, 2001:4). Taylor’s first principle dignifies the standard expectations in an organisation, for example the rules each worker must follow in the procedure of completing their tasks, the work load must be reasonable and shouldn’t affect the performance within each employee, and working conditions must not be harmful to any employee. Selecting the workers for a specific job is now quite complex and complicated than it was when Taylor’s concept of ‘scientific management’ was developed.
Employees must undergo recruitment today, which is an improved strategy of hiring workers. Training workers has been a major issue for employees, employers, unions, and the Government, both at the State and Federal levels. Managers must also support their workers in result of minimum conflict and maximised performance. Taylor’s early work of scientific management proved many of the theories behind increasing productivity. Taylor was a strong advocate of job specialisation and in particular he had strong emphasis to vertical job specialisation.
Job specialisation may be defined as “the degree to which tasks in an organisation are divided into separate jobs” (Robbins et al, 2000:352). One of Taylor’s first studies was at a “ball-bearing factory where 120 women each worked 55 hours per week” (McShane & Travaglione, 2003:91). Taylor identified through job specialisation that he was able to increase production by some two thirds only using a workforce of only 35 women, only working 45 hours per week (Ibid).
Taylor advocated using vertical job specialisation so that detailed procedures and work practices are developed by engineers, enforced by supervisors, and executed by employees (Lattimore McShane & Von Gilnow, 2000:111) As a result of these studies Taylor was able to increase production within these organisations, through increased training and work incentives. One of Taylor’s other well-known experiments was the shovelling experiment where “Taylor found that the optimum size shovel for handling material carried 21 pounds of material.
He was able to increase productivity from 16 to 59 tons of material shovelled per day while the number of shovelers needed per day was decreased from 500 to 140” (Tosi et al, 1994:10). For organisational behaviour as we know it today, from these studies and results, organisations should be able to increase productivity but at the same time decrease their costs, but also be able to keep their workforce achieving an optimal level of production through wage incentives.
Taylor’s first principle of scientific management has influenced organisational behaviour in ways, which have involved the government as well as employers and giving owners of firms to carefully manage their own workplace. During the years Acts have been introduced to improve the working conditions of employees within organisations, and due to this many managers have redesigned their work schedules to incorporate better working conditions for all employees.
Several studies have shown that the introduction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1970 has influenced not only employees with having better working conditions but it has also influenced managers of organisations with the cost burden that these type of changes would bring about (http://www. cdc. gov/niosh/hhe/). One organisation that would come to mind, that is a firm believer in strong policies and procedures would be the retail giant, Kmart, a national retail chain store operating in each state.
Another principle includes selecting workers for the right job. Today applicants seeking work must go through the process of recruitment and selection, in order to have any potential chance of being selected for a particular type of job. Schuler et al (1991) defines recruitment as “the set of activities and processes used to legally obtain a sufficient number of the right people at the right place and time so that the people and the organisation can select each other in their own best short-term an long-term interests” (p.135).
After the process of recruitment has been completed, the selection of an applicant must take place. Selection may defined as “the process of gathering information for the purposes of evaluating and deciding who should be hired, under legal guidelines, for the short- and long-term interests of the individual and the organisation” (Schuler et al, 1991:142).
During Taylor’s days in the developmental stage of scientific management, the processes of recruitment and selection were not seen and that many of the workforce were “predominantly made up of inexperienced and untrained labour” (Wood et al, 2001:710) for organisational behaviour it is know quite hard for workers to find and obtain jobs if they are not fully qualified for the position, and managers should be made aware of this.
Kmart offers application forms each season to people and are required to be handed back on a due date. After all the applications are completed, the firm compares the potential applicants against the number of staff needed and cuts down the applicants and invites each applicant to an interview. The most successful applicants (right experience and education) will be selected for the positions.