Evaluating and Comparing the Scientific and Behaviourist Schools


Management is defined as getting activities completed by planning, organizing, actuating and controlling of the social and quantifiable resources vital in the effective and efficient attainment of objectives."

Management has no fixed definition of its own, but different authorities defines it in a different way.

Many theories are derived on management. Few of them are

• Classical Approach of scientific management by Frederick Taylor

•Administrative management by Fayol

•Bureaucratic organization by Weber

•Behavioral Approach by Elton Mayo

•Hierarchical needs by Maslow

Scientific school of management

The theory of scientific management came up with core ideas developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the late 19thcentury.His theory is also known by taylorism. It is a management theory that synthesizes and analyzes workflow processes, enhancing labor productivity. It basically emphasizes on increasing productivity through proper management.

Taylor was unhappy to see wasteful ways of doing jobs in several organisations. He was convinced that there was a science way of doing things. In order to develop scientific and systematic ways of doing things in an efficient manner, taylor started experimenting with his observations.

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His objective was to provide scientific basis for designing and performing jobs. He came up with detailed scientific study for each job to determine best and useful ways of doing it. He believed that management is science resting on well recognized and clearly defined principles. He persuade managers to adopt scientific and systematic approach to managerial difficulties in place of thumb rule or trial and error or any other disorganized method.

In today's world, applying Taylorism in managing business results in an improved way of performing organisational activities.

Following are principles of Scientific management :

1) Science not rule of thumb: Every element of job should be scientifically analysed to determine most efficient way of performing it.

2) Division of labour: Every person should be allotted work in which he is specialized and should be done with complete focus so that following work is done efficiently and effectively.

taylor specified that management should be involved in planning and rest of staff in converting plan into practice as per instructed by managers. In this taylor distinguished roles of management from those of workers.

3) Development of workers: Worker who lags behind in skills required for performing particular job should be trained accordingly in order to increase productivity. If a workers works on a job for which he is both mentally and physically fit, will enable him to earn higher wages and mental satisfaction.

4) Cooperation between managers and workers: There should be harmony in organization to ensure that work is done according to principles. Taylor advocated a complete mental revolution on the part of both managers and workers.

Following are certain techniques developed by Taylor :

Time Study: it is a technique desired to calculate standard time required to carry out job under specified conditions. It analysis job elements and time needed to perform each element. Taylor stated this study avoids guesswork and uncertainty on the effort.

Motion study: This study aims at eliminating unwanted activities which are irrelevant so as to reduce waste and workers effort for production in order to save time.

Scientific task planning: Manager needs to plan in advance according to the circumstances which may occur in future and take right decisions at right time in the right place. This may answer questions like what to do and how to do and when to do.

Standardization and simplification: predetermined standards are laid down to in order to ensure that workers are well aware of what they have to do and what their goals are.This helps in operating functions flexibly.

Functional foremanship: It is not possible for single supervisor to supervise all functions of organistaion. Taylor suggested every work should be divided among supervisors specialized in particular field to avoid chaos and ill managed work.

Taylor used Theory X, the style of management which emphasizes more on output instead of employees.

Behaviourist school of thoughts

"Behaviourial school is a group of management scholars trained in psychology, sociology and related fields, who use their knowledge to devise more effective ways to manage people in organizations."

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Human relation theory defines the interaction between managers and their subordinates.

Elton mayo, professor at western electric company, performed series of studies and explained, more attention paid to workers and their needs, helps in improving individual performance resulting to healthier production. These studies by Mayo were known as Hawthorne effect.

Mayo believed in motivating workers to make them realize their potential and persuade them to give their best for better of the organization. He concluded that informal process such as peer pressure and management style affects in motivating individual to work.

Beside Hawthorne effect by Mayo, Abraham Maslow created a pyramid of human needs after going through human motivation. He believed human needs are unlimited and keeps changing as previous one is satisfied. To motivate humans it is necessary to satisfy their needs which they have not yet met.

Individual tend to move up through hierarchy of needs. He categorized all needs of human in five different groups in hierarchal order.

Physiological needs: Food, Water, Shelter, Sex and rest are the most basic and obvious needs of every human. Organization provides this through salary payment and time break.

Safety needs: Once basic needs are ensured, human opt for physical and psychological safety, to create stability for themselves. Safety needs may be job security, savings account, life insurance etc.

Love needs: After they have secured their physiological and safety needs, they also need love and affection from other people. Organizations can help them in acquiring such needs by providing social interaction with customers and colleagues. It is also necessary for managers to maintain friendly environment within organization and sort out internal affairs.

Esteem needs: People also do look for respect and recognition from others. They need to establish themselves in society and earn respect and be confident about that they are worth something to others. Seniority and Job titles are instances of how management can satisfy people in this field.

Self actualization needs: in addition to above needs self actualization in one of the needs of humans and is placed top in hierarchy of needs by Maslow. This needs relate to personal requirements by individual for growth and development purposes. It shows one's standard and way of living.

Both the schools of management differ in their techniques used for the purpose of improving productivity

with their own principal and ideas. Prominent ones are discussed below

Scientific school of management's main focus was to increase output and maximize profits of the company by using fullest potential of employee while human relation movement wanted to establish better relations among workers within organization and motivate employees to raise their potential for benefit of the company.

According to Taylor, working practices proved to be barriers to increase productivity. "Rule of Thumb" method used in computing work and lack of proper management in directing employees were seen my Taylor as impediments to maximize productivity. He believed management could be improved if implemented in light of science.

He insisted that the main objectives of management should be to ensure that both employer as well as employee should get maximum advantage from their work. So he created certain scientific principles of management which would help in attaining those advantages if used.

On other hand Elton mayo saw all those difficulties and obstacles in different way and started experimenting, which are also known by Hawthorne experiments.

He believed, to achieve goals it is important for management to understand employee's non-monetary needs and their expectations and emotions as well and motivate them in regard to their needs.

And to also have good working conditions which persuades them to attend job regularly and work with interest and have harmony in business.

Under Taylorism work is divided into workers and allotted them within time limit to perform them. Certain objectives and terms are set on basis of what they perform those tasks. And if work is accomplished they are rewarded with monetary incentives and if are unable to complete them then they have to face


This practice of assigning work and accomplishing tasks disenables employees to participate in management activity such as planning and certainly reduces employee's creativity and innovativeness.

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This activity of assigning work by management and execution of such works by workers illustrates Division Of work. This also shows discouragement towards work in informal group.

Mayo believed that group interest and relations with supervisor were more important for motivating employees and were placed before financial rewards. So he persuades development of informal groups as those led to linkage, communication and cooperation among employees.

Hersey P. said "The groups can become powerful driving forces in accomplishing organizational

goals if they see their own goals as satisfied by working for organizational

goals." (2001)

Under scientific school, function of leader was to delegate work and exert pressure on workers to accomplish them while under behaviourial school, leader facilitated cooperation and coordination among workers and providing them with opportunity to grow and develop within themselves.

The dominant outcome of scientific management was that it aroused techniques for improving productivity at workplace while on the other hand human relation aroused innovative ideas to perform a given task.


It can be concluded that, though both schools of management had same organizational goal, that is increasing productivity, their ways of achieving were different from each other. Both the theories emphasizes on organizational excellence through better efficiency. This goal can be achieved by applying either of two theories or both. Taylor and Mayo both were applying scientific approach and both were successful in their researches with their evidence. But research has shown both sides equally important and right. So the good manager is the one who applies either of theories in the light of management with proper knowledge and resources available to him