Comparing Taylorism and Fordism

Despite the similarities between Taylorism and Fordism, at their core, they are different philosophies and espouse different approaches to controlling, leading, organizing, planning and coordinating.Before embarking on a discussion of each author’s approach to the tasks of management, it is worth devoting some attention to the background and setting under which each selection was written. Taylor wrote Principles of Scientific Management, during the time of President Roosevelt, and was born of a perceived need to preserve the country’s natural resources. Its objective was to contribute towards improving national efficiency, in order to avoid unnecessary wastage. Taylor’s view was that this efficiency cannot be attained by relying on extraordinary people who may happen by chance. The solution, according to his theory, lay in the institution of a scientific system that will ensure this efficiency, even if ordinary people implemented it. Taylor viewed fundamental principles of scientific management as applicable to any organization and undertaking. Ford’s autobiography, however, was written after the First World War and close to the advent of the Second, and thus dealt at length with the issues of the times – war, socialism, labour and capital. These matters shall provide a useful context within which to view the selections.Controlling is the manner by which management directs workers to achieve company objectives within the time allotted and using the resources allocated. Management imposes control by using its authority, and for this reason, it is responsible for any undue lapses in control. Under scientific management, control is integrated into the design of the management system rather than commanded from above. Control over the employee is exercised by motivating him to perform well, not only because of the lure of higher wages but more so because of the realization that maximum prosperity for the employee is attainable with the maximum prosperity for the employer.