Running Head: SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT THEORY 1
Scientific Management Theory
Views, Considerations, and Applications
Prof. C. DeAtley
HA510-01 Organizational Development for Healthcare
June 27, 2011
SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT THEORY
Frederick Taylor, considered by many to be the Father of Scientific Management Theory, defines it as “the systematic study of the relationships between people and tasks for the purpose of redesigning the work process for higher efficiency.” (Dunn, 2010). The synthesis of this theory began in the late 19th century and became well established in the 1940s. This ...view middle of the document...
(Sturdy, 2008) For example, in performing a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) due to cancer, the instructions are very specific and must be precisely followed. These instructions form the basis of what is considered to be the standard of care for performing this procedure. If a surgeon was to run into problems on the operating table and complications develop, a review panel will want to know whether the surgeon deviated from the standard of care. And if it is determined that such a deviation from the standard did occur, it forms the basis of a malpractice suit. In fact the word malpractice, means deviation from the standard of practice. An anesthesiologist, while performing an epidural block on a woman in labor, is required to follow a series of steps that, if done, as instructed, should result in the safe administration of the pain medication. So while a doctor may possess esoteric knowledge about a particular procedure, it becomes irrelevant during the performance of the procedure because, the bottom line is that the doctor has to follow a given set of orders to accomplish the task. To this effect, Frederick Taylor’s statement, as harsh and as unsavory as it may sound, is valid.
In an era of managed health care, in which time is indeed money, the need for established protocol is vital and elements of the scientific management theory are seen once again. For example, it has been estimated that the average time a doctor spends with a patient is 7 – 10 minutes. So when a patient visits the doctor’s office, the receptionist prepares the patient’s chart, updates insurance information, if necessary, collects the copay, and hands the chart over to the nurse or medical assistant, who in turn, performs the patient’s vital signs. The patient is then ushered into an examination room where additional information pertaining to the visit is obtained by the medical assistant. When the doctor arrives, he or she has the necessary information and may ask a few more questions, perform a physical examination and write out the patient’s plan. And this procedure is repeated for each patient in a repetitive, yet, effective manner that will boost the medical office’s level of productivity. It becomes obvious from this example, that when procedure is not followed, it will lead to chaos, disorganization, loss of precious time, and a subsequent decrease in productivity.
While I agree with various aspects of the Scientific Management Theory, there are areas where I strongly disagree. Because of the pressure imposed on medical staff by managed care to maximize the number of patients seen per day, there has been an associated increase in patient dissatisfaction and even an increase in medical errors. This, I, believe, is one of the major drawbacks of this style of management. The emphasis should be on quality, and not quantity, of medical care. Investors are looking for a return on their investments, and while some areas of medicine are very...