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'Despite the rhetoric of employee engagement, organisations still want to exert tighter control' (Evans 2013).
Critically evaluate this statement, by exploring the continuing use of scientific management (ie Taylorism) despite the wide promotion of 'people-centred' management theories.
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From managerial control to job crafting, there has been a very positive switch from conventional management to scientific management. Taylor believed that to improve organizational efficiency, it is essential to increase managerial control in the organization. He emphasized the fact that making people do the work is not as powerful as optimizing the work that people do. Since then, Job design and re-design have been the talk of the town for several years. The above-highlighted statement throws light on the constant dilemma that is faced by the concept of employee engagement and its implications in organizations.
Critics were against Taylor's idea of scientific management because they felt that it ignores the whole 'human' aspect. Workers would merely be considered machines which performed certain tasks. However philosophical this may sound, one cannot deny that there has to be a difference between man and machines. This is how the idea of human values and employee engagement came about. Technical expertise is important but that does not mean human motives and intentions can be ignored. Workers need to be actively engaged in activities that are designed for their welfare. Management theories began to incorporate more people-centric approaches. But Taylor continued to speak of scientific management. He gave simple examples like that of a doctor or a surgeon who is trained to make precise incisions and work in a certain manner (Marteen 2014).