This is an essay about scientific management in McDonald’s operation, I believe the largest fast food McDonald’s is the most successful model on scientific management. Scientific management is a branch of classical approach; Taylor said scientific management is standardisation which means people in organization should be uniformed by company rules or policy which are some written documents. Scientific management is a very important part in management area, since look at the history of management. People are living in different groups such as school, factory, hospital and company etc.
If there is no group to organize people’s life, then our society won’t be developed so far. But only organize people is not enough, we also need to manage those people to do their job more efficient. So scientific management is a system learns from previous experience. The reason we using McDonald’s example in this assignment, because it’s the largest fast food organization in the world and also it the most successful case for scientific management. McDonald’s management system is perfectly following scientific management system from producing to selling, even though McDonald’s brother never studied ‘scientific management’ (Eric, 2001, p. 9). McDonald’s is the largest franchising cooperation in the world, so it must deeply understand the concept ‘copy’ and ‘standardization’. In the rest of the essay I would like to write this topic with indentify four key scientific management concepts, and how they applied in McDonald’s case. Also I am going to discuss four critical arguments according to those four concepts. Treat people like a machine is one of the concepts in scientific management. By my own understanding, this concept means letting people to do the same job again and again to maximising organizational profit.
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As Hawthorne said management system of treating people like a machine will improve the productivity efficiently. ( Campling, J. , Poole, D. , Wiesner, R. , Ang, E. S. , Chan, B. , Tan, W. , & Schermerhorn, J. R. , 2008, p 95). People working in McDonald’s must follow its instruction to do the job, normally one person in one position. People don’t have to move too much steps in their work place. McDonald’s has their own ‘Made for you’ system, which means they make fresh when you order.
For example, when custom order a ‘big mac’ combo, people who making buns will toast the bun and pass it on to the person who making burgers, and wrapping it up ready for the custom. People who dose fries will put it into the box, finally people who in the front counter puts all these together for the customer. Everyone in McDonald’s just dose their job and pass it to the next. Each person repeatable does their own job for that shift. So working in McDonald’s doesn’t need too much skill, but a highly repeatable job, and this is the main point of scientific management.
Efficient achievement of clear organizational goals is another main concept of scientific management, as Taylor said ‘management should maximum benefits for both employers and employees’ (Campling, J. , Poole, D. , Wiesner, R. , Ang, E. S. , Chan, B. , Tan, W. , & Schermerhorn, J. R. , 2008, p 91 ). Therefore, employer’s benefit is getting maximum profit by minimum cost. Scientific ordering people to do the job is the essential element in scientific management, for example, two people equally to do one project may not do it efficiently.
However, if we order one person to do the main part, the other one as the supporter then the result would be more efficient. That is scientific distribution. In another word, the managers need to clearly understand organizational goals and efficiently achieve it no matter what method they use. (John, 1982, p 159). In McDonald’s case, their goal is making maximum burgers in certain time; therefore, scientific management instead of people management is the only way to reach this goal. In New Zealand, more and more 24hrs McDonald’s opened in last 5 years, I remember in 2002, McDonald’s in New Zealand normally open from 7am to 10pm.
From 2005, McDonald’s started using ‘Made for you’ system; this is a classical scientific system since employee must follow particular instruction making the food, therefore, this system save 80% waste compare with before. The big saving is also the profits for the organization. In other way, this improves the efficiency of the achievement. Every organization has its own policy and procedures; they are standardising and consisting the company by these policies and procedures. Policy and procedure are some written documents.
Organize a small group may use people management, since there is a certain size to limit; however, if only use people management to manage large company like McDonald’s won’t be that easy. Scientific management will be perfectly suit large organization; McDonald’s is the most successful case in the management world. McDonald’s regulate each product in certain cooking time, for example, 3 minutes for fries, chicken patty for 100 seconds, 9 pieces 10:1 patties each grill, and 6 for 4:1 patty. So every crew in McDonald’s learning all these procedures by doing their job.
Each of them follows the procedure and supervisor’s instruction to make sure keeping the same standard of McDonald’s all around the world. The result of the costing price dropped with a huge number since people clearly follows the procedure; so today custom can enjoy the same quality of service at any McDonald’s in the world. People like making decision by their feelings, however, intuitions are not always right. So compare with that, systematic analysis is more accurate and efficient in the organization. Systematic analysis is a main and key period of scientific management.
The main job is the communication between analyser and customers. Back to McDonald’s case, people who work in marketing department need a research of what’s hot and what’s not of their products, and then they need to get information from customers, frontline employees and some publics. So after analysis the report, they get a proper result much more accurate than just feel from the daily experience. Nothing is perfect, even though scientific management is a great management system it still having some disadvantages in some situations.
Treat people like a machine is the classic sign of scientific management, personally I worked as a part timer for McDonald’s for one year, I have to say this management system is great for efficient performance, at the mean time it makes me feel really like a machine not a human. By the way, they pay minimum wages but actually hard works. So I wasn’t enjoy working there at that time, that’s why fast food organization like McDonald’s always has high staff turnover rate; because they don’t treat people properly so young people like us only go there for money and some experience. Made for you” system give mistake rate a big drop, but old employees still missing the old system a lot. Before ‘MFY’ came into McDonald’s, we feel McDonald’s like a big family, we like to asking front counter people how many burger they need, and how many fries we need to prepare; but now it all controlled by computer, there is no communication, no decision making and no interaction at all. Sometimes I found I lost myself, I am just a burger making machine. One key concept of scientific management is copying; repeating work is the main responsibility of workers.
It is good on keeping low cost of mistake, but people stay in the same environment and copying same working from the past. This restricts innovation and creativity from both managers and workers. McDonald’s main menu hasn’t been changed for over 30 years; it’s hard for them to create new products. Also it will be a huge cost of getting a new line of new products because each product in McDonald’s has its own production line; such as special machine for buns, regulation on oven size, same size of patties and so on. (Kincheloe, 2002, p. 59).
Standardizing is an important element of creating global brand; managing big organization all around the world must keep them on same standard, and then people trust this brand. Customer keeps the company running is the basic concept for any business. Keep good standard is the most important guarantee for the company; however customer may get tired of eating same food in a long term period. Policy and procedure are two key things to keep the standard of the company, good policy and procedure will reduce cost and mistake, but also decrease employees’ skill development and regulate them to know more inside McDonald’s.
This could make people unsatisfied with their job. (Pica vet, 2009). Since McDonald’s opens everywhere in the world, each country has different culture and background, too much policy and procedure will restrict their development in certain countries. Systematic analysis is doing well in McDonald’s case; it’s a great idea in management. Things are always good and bad, systematic analysis gets information and after select useful information it makes result. From science point of view, that’s more accurate than experience management.
In contrast, people who become manager levels depend on their experience more than the ability of systematic analysis. Business is a real world, it is a real practise. So sometimes manages make decision from their past experience are more efficient. This essay is around scientific management concepts and how it applies in McDonald’s operation. Scientific management is a system using data analysis and build a scientific production line to get maximum profits for both employer and employee.
The essay introduced four main concepts of scientific management including: treat people like a hand rather than a people; Focus on efficient achievement on clear goal; standardising through policy and procedures and using scientific analysis rather than intuitions. The final part of the essay I discussed four arguments based on those four concepts, it shows both advantages and disadvantages in real life. Reference Campling, J. , Poole, D. , Wiesner, R. , Ang, E. S. , Chan, B. , Tan, W. , & Schermerhorn, J. R. (2008). Management (3rd Asia-Pacific Ed. ) Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons. Eric, S. 2001). Fast food nation: the dark side of the all American meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. John, E. K. (1982). Scientific management, job redesign, and work performance. London; New York: Academic Press. Jonathan, R. t. ( 2005 ). Organization theory and public management. Belmont, Calif: Thomason/ Wadsworth. Kincheloe, J. L. (2002). The sign of the burger: McDonald’s and the culture of power. United State: Temple University Press. Picavet, E. (2009). Opportunities and pitfalls for ethical analysis in operations research and the management sciences. Omega; Dec 2009, Vol. 37 Issue 6, p 1121-1131, 11p.