F W Taylor was considered the father and leading advocate of what he called ‘Scientific Management’ and what is often referred to as today as Taylorism. Taylor saw that workers could be arranged in the workplace to improve efficiency and production. Under Taylor’s management system factories were managed through scientific methods, the main aspect being the division of labour. The division of labour was the best way to maximise efficiency in the workplace, it was a technique, which split the various tasks of a job into smaller components, thus meaning one worker would carry out one job and another worker would perform another.
Taylor also had to work out how he could change from old fashioned ways of work “Rule of thumb” to implement his new ideas of scientific without ‘upsetting’ the workplace, he knew that he would have to overcome the culture of the workplace which he described as the “Really big problem” which would consist of the complete revolution in the habits and the ‘how things are done around here’ attitudes of all those engaged in the workplace including managers.
Also with the division of labour Taylor needed to find out a way of separating the workers according to there education background which was one of his main points Being able to solve the managerial problems of depressed employee morale and performance, alternative solutions to job redesign were developed and applied. Because the limiting factors impose different constraints, different types of job enrichment were needed; the three main types are job rotation, job enlargement and autonomous working groups (AWG’s).
Job rotation was introduced as a means of preserving the interests of a job that was being undertaken. At its simplest it involves bringing together monotonous and usually unskilled jobs. A rota or schedule would then be set up and each employee would spend a limited amount of time on each job before moving onto another. The main advantage of using this method is that there is little need for retooling or restructuring of the jobs or working environment.
A slight disadvantage of this method could crop up amongst the employees at change over periods, the workstation could be left a mess or the job could be left uncompleted by the last worker. Another method of redesign was job enlargement, this involves widening to bring in additional skills and allows the employee to give more of their own input to the job and therefore gives the employee a bigger sense of achievement as they feel they have had a bigger contribution to the final product and this sense of achievement can be used for motivational purposes.
Watson (1995) states that ‘Autonomous working groups’ was the grouping of individual jobs to focus work activities on a general ‘whole task’ with work group members being given discretion over how the task is completed. This involved giving employees responsibility for basic managerial activities such as on deciding upon the methods of working and the scheduling and planning of work. In recent years one variant of autonomous work groups has become very popular, the idea of quality control circles.
These are made up of small groups of workers usually led by a foreman or senior worker who would regularly meet up to study and solve all types of production problems, such groups were intended to stimulate motivation and involvement on the shop floor. The original ideas of quality control circles was American, the basis being the notion of improved staff motivation through employee participation in the decision making process. This was such a popular method that in the 1950’s the Japanese soon began to use them in industry.
The effect that quality control circles had on production was the high commitment of the work organisation because it became clear that workers were devoting a lot more of there time (even outside working hours) to the analysis of work related problems. As part of a social movement to improve the quality of the working life the ideas of job design in industrial societies the ideas of job design were put together around the 1970’s and 80’s. Rose (1985) Littler and Salaman (1984) identified five main principles of good job design.