Management

Larger theme of economic efficiency

Scientific management is a variation on the theme of economic efficiency; it is a late 19th and early 20th century instance of the larger recurring theme in human life of increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas of what matters. Thus it is a chapter in a larger narrative that includes many ideas and fields, from the folk wisdom of thrift to a profusion of applied-science successors, including time and motion study, the Efficiency Movement (which was the broader cultural echo of scientific management's impact on business managers specifically), Fordism, operations management, operations research, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, logistics, business process management, business process reengineering, lean manufacturing, and Six Sigma. There is a fluid continuum linking scientific management by that name with the later fields, and there is often no mutual exclusiveness when discussing the details of any one of these topics. Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism, and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences. Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Philosophers associated with empiricism include Aristotle, Alhazen, Avicenna, Ibn Tufail, Robert Grosseteste, William of Ockham, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Robert Boyle, John Locke, George Berkeley, Hermann von Helmholtz, David Hume, Leopold von Ranke, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Popper. Operations management is an area of management concerned with overseeing, designing, and controlling the process of production and redesigning business operations in the production of goods and/or services. It involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient in terms of using as few resources as needed, and effective in terms of meeting customer requirements. It is concerned with managing the process that converts inputs (in the forms of materials, labor, and energy) into outputs (in the form of goods and/or services). The relationship of operations management to senior management in commercial contexts can be compared to the relationship of line officers to highest-level senior officers in military science. The highest-level officers shape the strategy and revise it over time, while the line officers make tactical decisions in support of carrying out the strategy. In business as in military affairs, the boundaries between levels are not always distinct; tactical information dynamically informs strategy, and individual people often move between roles over time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, operations management is the field concerned with managing and directing the physical and/or technical functions of a firm or organization, particularly those relating to development, production, and manufacturing. Operations management programs typically include instruction in principles of general management, manufacturing and production systems, plant management, equipment maintenance management, production control, industrial labor relations and skilled trades supervision, strategic manufacturing policy, systems analysis, productivity analysis and cost control, and materials planning . Management, including operations management, is like engineering in that it blends art with applied science. People skills, creativity, rational analysis, and knowledge of technology are all required for success.