Is management theory scientific?
Management theories are specific beliefs that have been formulated about a highly interpersonal and subjective area of organizing and managing human subjects. Calling management theories as purely scientific in the truest sense of the word can be erroneous because many of the current management theories did not necessarily undergo the strict and rigorous process involved in the scientific process.
Critically evaluate the contribution of Taylor and Toyota in management theory
When examining management theories, Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management theory and Toyota’s 14 principle theory will almost always be involved. Below is a discussion of the contributions of these two turning point theories in the way management principles are seen today.
Taylor’s Scientific Management
Locke’s (1982) study stated that “With respect to the principle of scientific decision making and techniques such as time study, standardization, goal setting, and money as a motivator, scientific selection, and rest pauses, Taylor's views were fundamentally correct and have been generally accepted.” (p.14)
Mintzburg (1977) acknowledges the importance of management policies to evolve, a fundamental principle that was present in Taylor’s theory. Organization theory and research on
Taylor’s methods, and the way of treating workers in relation to their best practice methods served as the main driving force behind the studies by Morgan and Anderson (Morgan, 1980; Anderson, 2007).
Another study which aims to discover the flaws on Taylor’s theories suggests that there are certain cultural elements and personal characteristics that should be included in any study about management and organization complexes (Hofstede, 1993).
Toyota and the 14 principle guide of the “Toyota Way”
A newer management philosophy called the Toyota Way has been popular because it has answered many of the basic humanistic considerations that were not present in the earlier theories from Taylor (Milgrom, 1992). A 2003 Harvard Business Review journal article by Christensen also builds on the premise of supporting and improving Toyota’s revolutionary philosophy. Nonaka’s (2008) book also mentions the 14 principles of Toyota Way and emphasized how adaptation of these methods and philosophies would result to multinational growth. Ballard (2003) also recognized the success of the Toyota way as a framework to follow for seeing individual workers strive toward development.
Hino’s (2006) book entitled “Inside the Mind of Toyota” also suggested that there are still more about the Toyota way that is still in Japanese and must be translated in order to help the rest of the world. Despite all the praises given to the so called Toyota way, there are also critics and detractors of this new popular management trend. It is actually a good thing that there are critics and supporters of every emerging management trend because they actually help in enriching management theories and making them more useful to the present management and organization schemes.
Management theories can serve as very useful guides for managers and administrators of small groups or organizations. Although most of these theories are rather subjective, a great deal of them can be reliable at times, especially when a management crisis looms in a particular organization. Humans may be rational most of the time, but there is still a part of them that is occupied by subjectivity. The subjectivity of human workers is usually attributed to their emotions. Because of their emotions, humans tend to get irrational and subjective at times, which makes it a perfect time to put management theories such as Taylor and Toyota’s to the test.
CM Christensen, M. R. (2003). Why Hard-nosed Executives should care about management theory. Harvard Business Review , 198- 204.
Glenn Ballard, G. A. (2003). Competing Construction Management Paradigms. Construction Research Congress .
Hino, S. (2006). Inside the Mind of Toyota. New York: Productivity Press.
Hofstede, G. (1993). Cultural constraints in management theories. The Academy of Management Executive .
Ikujiro Nonaka, R. T. (2008). Managing Flow: A Process Theory of the Knowledge-Based Firm. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
John C. Anderson, M. R. (2007). A Path Analytic Model of a Theory of Quality Management Underlying the Deming Management Method: Preliminary Empirical Findings. Decision Sciences , 637 - 658.
Locke, E. A. (1982). The Ideas of Frederick W. Taylor: An Evaluation. The Academy of Management Review , 14 - 24.
Mintzberg, H. (1977). Policy as a Field of Management Theory. The Academy of Management Review , 88 - 103.
Morgan, G. (1980). Paradigms, Metaphors, and Puzzle Solving in Organization Theory. Administrative Science Quarterly , 605 - 622.
Paul Milgrom, J. R. (1992). Economics, Organization and Management. Prentice Hall - International Inc.