The Principles of Scientific Management: Management Study Material for CMR/MMR DGMS Examination

The Principles of Scientific Management

The Principles of Scientific Management was given by Frederick Taylor in 1911.

  • He is often called "The Father of Scientific Management".

This principle deals with modern organization and decision theory.

Fundamentals of Scientific Management

Principal of management should be to secure

  • The maximum prosperity for the employer and
  • The maximum prosperity for each employee.

The most important objective of both the employee and the management should be

  • The training and development of each individual in the company, so that
  • He can do the highest class of work for which his natural abilities fit him.

Taylor demonstrated that maximum prosperity can exist only as the result of maximum productivity, both for the company and individual. He refused the idea that

  • The fundamental interests of employees and employers are necessarily antagonistic.

According to Taylor, there are three reasons for the inefficiency:

  1. A material increase in the output of each man or each machine in the trade would result in the end in throwing a large number of men out of work.
  2. The defective systems of management which are in common use, and which make it necessary for each workman to work slowly, in order that he may protect his own best interests.
  3. The inefficient rule-of-thumb methods, which are still almost universal in all trades, and in practicing which our workmen waste a large part of their effort.

The Principles of Scientific Management

As per Taylor, the best system of management used that time was the system of "initiative and incentive". In this system, management gives incentives for better work, and workers give their best effort. The form of payment is practically the whole system, in contrast to scientific management.

Taylor's scientific management consisted of four principles:

  1. Science, Not Rule of Thumb: There is a science for each element of a man's work.
  2. Development of Each and Every Person to His / Her Greatest Efficiency and Prosperity: Management scientifically selects and then train, teach, and develop the workman.
  3. Cooperation, Not Individualism: Management heartily co-operate with the men so as to ensure all of the work being done in accordance with the principles of the science which has been developed.
  4. Harmony, Not Discord: There is an almost equal division of the work and the responsibility between the management and the workmen. The management takes over all work for which they are better fitted than the workmen, while in the past almost all of the work and the greater part of the responsibility were thrown upon the men.

Under the management of "initiative and incentive", the first three elements often exist in some form, but their importance is minor. However, under scientific management, they "form the very essence of the whole system".

As per scientific management, it is up to the management to determine the best method to complete each task through a time and motion study, to train the worker in this method, and keep individual records for incentive based pay.

Taylor warned about attempting to implement parts of scientific management without accepting the whole philosophy, stating that too fast of a change was often met with trouble, strikes, and failure.

Multiple choice questions for DGMS Coal and Metal Manager’s Examination

1. Scientific management is based on the assumption that:

A) The scientific observation of people at work would reveal the one best way to do the task.

B) Observation would reveal the workers need to be multi-skilled.

C) Workers can decide their own methods of performing tasks.

D) Workers would receive a set wage regardless of performance.

2. Which of the following best described Frederick W. Taylor?

A) His main concern was with workplace efficiency.

B) His main concern was with control over the workforce.

C) His main concern was work-life balance.

D) His main concern was working conditions.

3. Which of the following is not an aspect of Taylor's scientific management?

A) Time and motion study

B) Division of labour

C) Using craft skills

D) Separation of planning and doing

4. Which of the following statements is false about scientific management (Taylor)?

A)  Scientifically select workers and give them standardized tools to do their job

B)  Scientific management contrasted with most views of management at the time

C)  Workers should do the planning and the doing of the work

D)  Managers should make task assignments and set performance goals


  1. A

According to Taylor, Scientific management is based on the assumption that "the scientific observation of people would reveal the one best way".

  1. B

Although Taylorism is often, and correctly, associated with making work more efficient, many of Taylor's techniques stemmed from a concern for control over the workforce.

  1. C

Scientific management is based around a division of labour, where individual tasks are analysed in detail using a time and motion study, and where tasks are redesigned, the planning all done by management with workers simply doing as they are directed.

  1. C

Management plans and makes task assignments; workers carry out assigned tasks. An antagonistic relationship between management and labor usually existed at the time scientific management appeared. This system of management recommended cooperation between management and labor. It also recommended scientifically selecting workers and giving them standardized tools to do their job


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