The purpose of this paper is to use an inter-disciplinary approach to examine the relevance of F.W. Taylor’s principles to modern shop-floor practices in the context of a manufacturing organization.
Standard time study guidelines laid out by the ILO were adopted and random observations made between two operators independently performing an identical operation in the shop-floor premises of a particular factory.
It was evident from the study that modern management has developed the science for each element of the operator’s manual work, as postulated and proposed by F.W. Taylor. It was also evident that completion of the operation on time was necessary for the operators but not as important as the total number of jobs performed during the duration of the shift. These empirical findings highlighted the high relevance of F.W. Taylor’s principles to modern shop-floor practices.
The authors adopted time study observation as the single method to collect real data from real practices but this could be considered as a biased approach. Since the time study observation is a slow, time consuming, and expensive process of obtaining data, the authors restricted the study to only two operators. Further, the study was carried out in a real setting under several assumptions that may limit its wider applications and practical implications. The study findings suggest that measuring the operator’s performance in terms of time consumption and resource utilization is necessary but not sufficient to evaluate and improve his/her productivity because operators evaluate their performance in terms of the total number of jobs completed during the duration of the shift. Therefore, it is suggested that the managers on the modern shop-floor measure the output at the aggregate level for the given input, while developing new work methods as well as devising performance management and reward systems.
The study has contributed to the body of knowledge by conducting a complete assessment of F.W. Taylor’s first principle from its origin to its application in modern shop-floor practices. Also, the authors empirically examined the relevance of Taylor’s principles to modern shop-floor practices in the context of a manufacturing organization. The study supports the descriptive work of Freeman (1996), who envisaged the relevance of Taylor’s ideas to modern management practices; also, it gives a few directions to test behavioral operations theory in terms of using real operational data to examine an established organization theory (Gino and Pisano, 2008).
Vijai, J., Somayaji, G., Swamy, R. and Aital, P. (2017), "Relevance of F.W. Taylor’s principles to modern shop-floor practices: A benchmarking work study", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 445-466. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-02-2015-0019Download as .RIS
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