Work Redesign and Taylorism

The main design principle of modern formal organisations-central to which is a hierarchical structure of authority in which specialized office holders fulfil specified responsibilities according to codified rules and procedures. This process involved a more calculated way of thinking and led to the rapid development of scientific and technological thinking and with regard to work organisation it was felt that by careful calculating the most appropriate way of achieving tasks could be set and the efforts of large numbers of people could be co-ordinated and controlled and large and complex jobs done.

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Taylor’s scientific management principles are still in evidence here and in the USA. The fast food restaurant is a prime example of principles of industrial manufacturing being applied to service work. Labour in such restaurants is ‘highly rationalised’ and the goal is the discovery of the best, the most efficient way of grilling a hamburger, frying chicken or serving, Ritzer (1993). As Ritzer comments McDonalds, the best known fast food business did not invent these ideas but combined them with the principles of the assembly line, to contribute to the ‘creation of mcdonaldization’.

Beymon (1992) claims that industrial manufacturing principles of mechanisation, rationalisation and routinization are applied not only to fast food service work but also to banking, retailing and other services. From my own experiences of working in a fast food restaurant I would say that Taylor’s principles are very much still in use but that there is not much evidence of any kind of job enrichment for the employee, you would work where you were told And wouldn’t leave that station until you were told which didn’t make it a very good place to work. Conclusions and Summary:

The practise of job design or redesign during the last half century has developed on the basis of theories of scientific management and/or human relations. Although redesigning jobs could be seen as beneficial to the employee I believe from a managerial point of view it is only done to achieve higher labour productivity.

References: Books David Knights (1985) Job Redesign (Gower Publishing Aldershot) Ivan T Robertson (1985) Motivation and Job design (Pitman publishing London) Mike Southon (2002) The beermat entrepreneur (Pearson publishers London) Tony J Watson (1995) Sociology work and industry (Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd London).