How are Frederick Taylor’s four principles of scientific management relevant in business today? 

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Fredrick Taylor's four principles of scientific management are as follows: use scientific techniques to gauge the productivity of workers, assign workers jobs according to the interest and ability, supervise workers to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency, and give responsibilities to both managers and workers so that each carries out their duty without interfering with the other.

The principle of supervising workers is not relevant in business today because modern employees hate to be micro-managed. Using scientific techniques to test the productivity of workers is relevant because it complements the tech-savvy employee. In fact, there are applications in the market that can assist with that. The principle of assigning workers tasks according to their interests is relevant because modern employees are motivated by their passion and not money. This principle makes employees feel appreciated. The final principle of assigning roles is also relevant because modern employees want to feel independent even though they are employed. The fourth principle encourages the modern culture of intrapreneurship.

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Taylor's four principles of scientific management remain relevant today in a number of ways. First, evolving technology enables businesses of all sizes to more effectively measure and improve the performances of products, people, and processes. Resourceful managers, some more mindful of human motivation than others, are always seeking to improve profit margins. They are using science (technology) as a tool to do so.

Second, many successful businesses have long inundated workers into corporate culture before allowing them to begin their jobs. One of the most famous examples is the McDonald's "Hamburger University" in Illinois. Today, an increasing number of white-collar companies, especially tech companies, are offering paid training to students even in high school, sometimes encouraging them to skip college and begin working immediately. Many apprenticeships in blue-collar industries begin at age 16, combining a paid job with classroom training until the apprentice reaches the full salary level for his or her position.

The third principle, as in Taylor's day, is still a point of contention. Amazon, for example, drew criticism when a news article revealed that it tracks the number of orders each warehouse worker fulfills, the time it takes to fulfill each order, and even the time an employee spends in the bathroom. Though certainly scientific, this method drew criticism from many workers, who said they felt like machines. The basic idea, however, that management and employees should try to be on the same page, is as relevant as ever.

Similarly, the fourth principle also deals with management-labor relations. Again, the basic division-of-labor ideal expressed in the principle is sound. Yet parsing it out case by case and industry by industry is extraordinarily tricky. Companies that figure it out are typically among the most successful.

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Frederick Winslow Taylor's four principles of scientific management were:

  1. To replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods determined by a scientific study of the tasks involved.
  2. Select, train, and develop each worker rather than allowing them to train themselves "on the job."
  3. Cooperate with workers to ensure that the scientifically developed methods are being followed.
  4. Divide work among managers and workers in such a way as to ensure that managers are scientifically planning the tasks, and workers are actually carrying them out.

Taylor himself had difficulty implementing his policies. He thought of scientific management as a way to improve relations with labor through the cooperation described in his third principle. But many workers found the emphasis on economy of motion and  efficiency degrading. What Taylor discovered is what has driven many efficiency studies in business in years since. His methods were less than successful because they failed to account for human motivation. While business reformers have continued to focus on efficiency through training and different structural elements, many of which owe much to the scientific method employed by Taylor, they have also recognized (or successful ones have, anyway) that workers cannot be simply "sped up" like machines.

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