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Taylor Motivation Theory

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Business Studies

Frederick Taylor is the key theorist that developed Taylor’s scientific management theory. This motivational theory concentrates on analysing workflows to find the best way tasks can be performed to maximise efficiency. The scientific study of finding the best method is called the ‘time and motion study'.

Key Aspects of Taylor's Theory

Taylor’s motivation theory implements factors such as division of labour and employee specialisation to an individual task.

Taylor believed that employee motivation was only limited to monetary achievements. Therefore, to motivate employees Taylor’s theory suggests that instead of paying employees a fixed salary they should receive performance-based pay.

The 5 key aspects of Taylor's theory include:

Taylor Motivation Theory, 5 steps of Taylor’s scientific management theory, StudySmarter5 steps of Taylor’s scientific management theory, StudySmarter

Key principles of Taylor’s scientific management theory

There are four key principles that scientific management theory is created upon. They are identified as:

1. Scientific methods

The meaning of this principle is that the techniques that are created to perform a task are scientifically proven. Additionally, the science principle means that ways of doing a job should be constantly developed to make work more effective and efficient rather than sticking to the old ways.

2. Clear division of responsibilities

This means that the business manager should divide employees to specialise in one task rather than perform multiple tasks. This will ensure that one part of the project is completed and that employee is an expert in performing that task.

3. Performance-based pay

Managers should establish bonuses for high performing employees. This should motivate employees to exceed their set targets and be recognised for their hard work.

4. Rigid hierarchy and strict surveillance of employees

This way employees are aware of their responsibilities as well as know whom to report to in the workplace. Managers are responsible for training employees and monitoring their performance that ensures that employees achieve their set targets.

Advantages and disadvantages of Taylor’s theory

As with every theory, Taylor’s scientific management theory has both advantages and disadvantages.

Taylor Motivation Theory: Advantages

  • Increased production - The employees are strictly supervised by their managers and have set targets to achieve therefore the productivity of employees are likely to increase. As well performance-based pay is an additional motivation for employees to perform better.
  • Being in control - The rigid hierarchy system and employee specialisation in an individual task allows managers to have good control of employees. Therefore, managers are always aware of what their employees are doing.
  • Cost of production is reduced - The scientific management aims to always find the best technology and most efficient ways in which tasks can be performed. This allows large scale production and reduces per-unit costs.
  • Payment system - The pay per performance system is beneficial for higher-performing employees. As employees efforts are recognised and hardworking employees will have a better standard of living.
  • Decreased inaccuracy - The way of performing a task is scientifically tested and the best method is established. As well as the employee becomes an expert in performing a specific task. Due to this, the likelihood of performing a task inaccurately is likely to decrease.

Taylor Motivation Theory: Disadvantages

  • Costly method - Establishing a scientific management theory will require a lot of investment from the organisation. The procedure of scientifically testing each method, planning and training staff will require a lot of funds.

  • Control of employees - This can also be a drawback as control of employees must follow activities that are set by the managers. This makes work repetitive, does not allow employees to be creative and reduces their motivation.

  • Alienation - As employees are mainly focused on how to better perform the task and increase their performance results. Employees are alienated from social interactions and collaborations with colleagues.

  • Increased unemployment - Due to the technical approach and specialisation of task execution employees can be easily replaced by technology. This can increase the unemployment rates.

  • Deskilling- Due to the task specialisation and complete responsibility taken by managers, employees are not trained to perform any other task apart from the one that they are specialised in. Therefore employees may not have the skills to perform other duties in the business. As well as they may forget their previously attained skills as employees will not be practising them.

Benefits of Taylor’s theory

There are quite a few benefits for businesses and their employees when implementing Taylor’s scientific management theory. The key benefits include:

  • Per unit, the cost is reduced - This is due to using the latest technologies, scientifically proven methods and division of labour. Which allows large scale production and reduced per-unit costs.

  • Better quality products - As staff is specialised to perform a specific task and scientifically proven methods are implemented the products are likely to be produced at a higher quality.

  • Increased wages - This is the benefit for hardworking employees as their efforts will be recognised by the managers. And this will motivate employees to perform better in their roles as well as bring better results to the organisation.

What is Braverman critique of Taylor’s theory?

Harry Braverman is one of the key critics of Taylor’s scientific management theory. Braverman systematically criticised Taylor’s theory. The key points that Bareverman criticised were:

Disskiling of employees - Baverman argued that making employees specialise in a particular task makes them deskilled. The employees may lose important skills that they previously had by the loss of opportunity to exercise them. As well as deskilled workers can be easily replaced by other employees or new technology.

Separation of conception and execution - The separation of scientific method development and workers, makes employees alienated. A procedure of performing a task is developed by managers, not employees themselves, meaning that the methods of performing a task may not fit employees.

Monopoly over knowledge - The workers become undifferentiated individuals who can be easily controlled by the management. Employees are trained to perform simple tasks while managers have all the knowledge and power to make decisions.

Taylor’s theory in business

In the business context, Taylor’s theory is used by larger organisations that generally implement bureaucratic structures. Examples of types of organisations are manufacturing plants, car industries, some hospitals and fast food chains.

The business example that has incorporated Taylor’s theory into their practice is Mcdonalds.

In Mcdonald’s every worker is divided into separate tasks. Such as groups of people are divided into the burger-making process, which includes grilling the meat, adding salad, condiments, etc. Other employees are specialised to perform tasks such as taking orders etc. Another group of employees are responsible for customer service and handling payments.

All workers work under the strict supervision of a manager and perform tasks that they are assigned. As well as scientifically proved the best method is used to perform a task most efficiently. For example, to decrease customer waiting time new self-service technologies were implemented. These technologies have replaced tasks that could be undertaken by human labour.

What are the differences between Herzberg and Taylor’s theories?

There are key differences between these two theories:

First, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory consists of both motivation and hygiene factors. The motivation factors are implemented to employees to engage and motivate them towards work. While hygiene factors are essential and employees expect to receive them in every workplace.

Motivation and hygiene factors are measured by levels the higher the level of each factor the more satisfied employees will be with their workplace.

Taylor Motivation Theory, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, StudySmarterHerzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, StudySmarter

The Herzberg theory is different from Taylor’s theory because Herzberg theory believes that employees are motivated by factors other than money such as achievement, praise, interest in work and responsibility. While ‘hygiene’ factors such as money do not exactly motivate the workers but are essential to avoid employee dissatisfaction. While Taylor believed that workers’ motivation is limited to monetary gains.

Moreover, Taylor’s theory concentrates on investing in new technologies and scientific methodology to make work more efficient. While Herzberg’s theory concentrates on investing in employees to increase their engagement, motivation towards work and improvement of working conditions. This is also believed to be beneficial to the organisation as employee performance will increase.

Taylor’s scientific management theory believes that workers should be assigned to small and manageable tasks, be control and perform their tasks exactly as they were told. On the other hand, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory concentrated on employees engagement and motivation at work. Therefore the tasks are assigned to employees so that employees are interested in work, have an opportunity to develop in their careers, have a responsibility and are praised for their achievements.

Taylor Motivation Theory - Key takeaways

  • Taylor’s theory is summarised in four key principles that include: 1) Scientific methods are used to discover the most efficient way to perform a task 2) Clear division of responsibilities 3) Performance-based pay 4) Rigid hierarchy and strict surveillance of employees.

  • The key advantages of Taylor’s theory are Increased production, managers are being in control of their workforce, the cost of production is reduced, the performance-based payment system being introduced and reduced inaccuracy.

  • The key disadvantages of Taylor’s theory are that this management system is a costly method and the control of employees may reduce their creativity and motivation towards work. Moreover, workers are alienated, Unemployment increases as workers can be easily replaced by new technologies and employees are deskilled.

  • The Braverman is the key critique of Taylor’s scientific management theory. The key points that he critiqued the most were deskilling of employees, Separation of conception and execution, monopoly over knowledge.

  • Taylor’s scientific management theory is still used today in manufacturing industries, some hospitals and fast food chains. A real-life example of an organisation that continues to implement this method is Mcdonald’s.

  • The main difference between Taylor’s and Herzberg theories was that Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory stated that employees are motivated by other things than money and Taylor’s theory states that employees are motivated only by monetary gains.

Taylor Motivation Theory

Taylor’s motivation theory is the scientific management theory that follows the notion that employees should be specialised in performing one specific task, be directly supervised by managers and that employee motivation is limited to monetary gains.

The key differences between Taylor’s and Herzberg theories were:

  •  Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory stated that employees are motivated by other things than money and Taylor’s theory states that employees are motivated only by monetary gains.
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates on investing in employee motivation and engagement while Taylor’s theory raises importance in investing in new technology and scientific methodology. 
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates that employees tasks are adjusted that they bring motivation and engagement to employees while Taylor’s theory focuses on controlling employees and assigning them to specialised tasks.

The four principles of Taylor’s scientific management theory are: 1)Scientific methods are used to discover the most efficient way to perform a task 2) Clear division of responsibilities 3) Performance-based pay 4) Rigid hierarchy and strict surveillance of employees.

Final Taylor Motivation Theory Quiz

Question

What is the meaning of Taylor’s scientific management theory?

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Answer

The scientific management theory is created to give managers guidance on how to manage and motivate employees. Taylor’s theory stresses that employees should be assigned to perform one specific task, scientific methods are used to find one best way to perform a task, managers directly supervise employees and employees are paid based on their performance. The main motivation factor for employees is monetary gains.

Show question

Question

Who is a key theorist of the scientific management theory?

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Answer

The key thinker of this theory is Fredrick Taylor.

Show question

Question

What are the key principles of Taylor’s theory?

Show answer

Answer

There are four principles of Taylor’s scientific management theory. That includes: 1)Scientific methods are used to discover the most efficient way to perform a task 2) Clear division of responsibilities 3) Performance-based pay 4) Rigid hierarchy and strict surveillance of employees.

Show question

Question

How is Taylor’s scientific management theory is beneficial for businesses and employees?

Show answer

Answer

The key benefits of this theory for the company and employees are that per-unit costs are reduced due to the large scale production. Better quality products are produced as employees are each specialised to perform a specific task and wages are higher for the hardworking employees.

Show question

Question

What are the key advantages of scientific management theory?


Show answer

Answer

 The key advantages of Taylor’s theory are:

  • Increased production, 

  • managers are being in control of their workforce, 

  • The cost of production is reduced,

  • The performance-based payment system 

  • Reduced inaccuracy. 

Show question

Question

How is being in control identified as an advantage?

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Answer

This is an advantage for managers as they can have control of employees and be exactly aware of their work performance. For managers, it makes it easier to monitor employees.

Show question

Question

What are the key disadvantages of Taylor’s scientific management theory?

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Answer

The key disadvantages of Taylor’s scientific management theory are: 

  • This management approach is a costly method 
  • Control of employees may reduce their creativity and motivation towards work.
  • Workers are alienated
  • Unemployment increases as workers can be easily replaced by new technologies 
  • Employees are deskilled

Show question

Question

 Who is the main critic of Taylor’s theory?

Show answer

Answer

 Harry Braverman

Show question

Question

What are the critiques of Taylor’s theory?

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Answer

 The critiques of this theory are:

  • Deskilling of employees, 
  • Separation of conception,
  • Execution, monopoly over knowledge. 

Show question

Question

What type of business follows a scientific management theory?

Show answer

Answer

The scientific management theory is usually implemented in businesses that follow a bureaucratic management structure. Examples of industries include manufacturing plants, car industries, some hospitals and fast food chains.

Show question

Question

 How does Mcdonald’s use Taylor’s theory in daily operations?

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Answer

Mcdonald’s is a real-life example of an industry that follows scientific management theory in its daily functions. That includes workers being divided into separate tasks to make a burger. For example, one worker grills meat, another puts condiments, packs and other workers are responsible for serving customers and handling payments.

Show question

Question

What is the meaning of Herzberg’s theory?

Show answer

Answer

 Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory consists of both motivation and hygiene factors. The motivation factors are there for employees to be engaged and motivated to work. While hygiene is an essential factor that employees expect to receive in every workplace.

Show question

Question

What are the key differences between Taylor’s and Herzberg’s theories?

Show answer

Answer

The key differences between Taylor’s and Herzberg theories are:

  •  Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory stated that employees are motivated by other things than money and Taylor’s theory states that employees are motivated only by monetary gains.
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates on investing in employee motivation and engagement while Taylor’s theory raises importance in investing in new technology and scientific methodology. 
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates that employees tasks are adjusted that they bring motivation and engagement to employees. While Taylor’s theory focuses on controlling employees and assigning them to specialised tasks.



Show question

Question

Taylor’s motivation theory suggests that employees should be paid a fixed salary.


Show answer

Answer

False

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Question

Taylor believed that employee motivation was only limited to ___ achievements. 

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Answer

monetary 

Show question

Question

Taylor's theory suggests that...

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Answer

employees should receive performance-based pay.

Show question

Question

Establishing a scientific management theory is typically costly. 


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Scientific management increases per-unit costs.

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Answer

False

Show question

Question

___ is one of the key critics of Taylor’s scientific management theory.

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Answer

Harry Braverman

Show question

Question

Herzberg's theory believes that employees are motivated by factors other than money such as achievement, praise, interest in work and responsibility.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

This theory consists of both motivation and hygiene factors. Whose theory is it?

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Answer

Herzberg’s 

Show question

Question

Due to the task specialisation and complete responsibility taken by managers, employees are not trained to perform any other task apart from the one that they are specialised in. This is called...

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Answer

deskilling.

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Question

Taylor's motivation theory typically increases employment.

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Answer

False

Show question

Question

According to Taylor's motivation theory, business managers should...

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Answer

divide employees to specialise in one task.

Show question

Question

What is a disadvantage of Taylor’s theory? 

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Answer

Increased unemployment

Show question

Question

What is an advantage of Taylor's theory?

Show answer

Answer

Increased production

Show question

Question

___ theory concentrates on investing in employees to increase their engagement, motivation towards work and improvement of working conditions. 

Show answer

Answer

Herzberg’s 

Show question

Question

___ theory believes that workers should be assigned to small and manageable tasks, be control and perform their tasks exactly as they were told.


Show answer

Answer

Taylor’s  

Show question

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