5 Operations Improvement

Map5Session Synopsis

Scientific Management, proposed in 1911 by Frederick Taylor, was the dominant approach to management through the 20th century. The “science” of “Scientific Management” was a belief that analysis and experiment could identify the best methods. Critics of Taylorism argued that the use of even more sophisticated techniques, including psychology and ergonomics, could lead to the best method. It was only when Quality Circles were seen in Japan that an alternative approach emerged based on allowing employees to be invovled in methods improvement. The most widely viewed approach drawing on invovleing broad expertise in methods improvement is now Six Sigma.

Session Objectives

  • Be able to contrast “Quality Management” and Scientific Management approaches to organisational improvement;
  • Be able to explain the rise of Six Sigma

Text Book

BS1 Vol. 1, pp 581-620.


Young Hoon Kwak, Frank T. Anbari, (2006) Benefits, obstacles, and future of six sigma approach, Technovation, Volume 26, Issues 5–6, May–June 2006, Pages 708-715.

Online Resources

What is Six Sigma, GE Brochure.

Taylor, F. W. (1911) The Principles of Scientific Management.

Taylor, F. W. (1911) Shop Management.

Key Terms

  • Scientific Management;
  • Quality Circles;
  • Six Sigma
  • Knowledge Management.