Scientific management, as the name implies, means the application of the scientific method for the solution of the problems of management. In its application, the scientific approach is used in meeting problems of all types instead of depending on tradition.
In view of the present day complexities and growing magnitude of management responsibilities, scientific office management is perhaps the best solution. It does not mean that office management is a pure science. It is the application of scientific principles to management decision-making.
In the words of Frederick W. Taylor, the Father of Scientific Movement, “the scientific management means knowing exactly what you want men to do and seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way” Scientific management is characterized by a scientific method of attack in the solution of business problems and the development of managerial techniques.
It looks, considers and evaluates customs and traditions, personal intuition and experience, and inductive deductive thinking.
Technique of scientific management involves the following steps:
1. Setting up of standard tasks through scientific investigation and research (time, motion and method of studies)
2. Analysis of operations to evolve the best method of doing the standard task.
3. Scientific selection of personnel and their training in the methods involved.
4. Standardization of materials, equipment and working environment for workers.
5. Introduction of specialization in the administrative and organizational set up.
6. Improvement of worker-management relations through good faith, perfect understanding and better incentive wage plans.
The principles and techniques of scientific management are equally applicable to office management and lead to increased productivity of labor. Elimination of waste of all types, whether men or materials, is aimed at. Elements of the Management
The four elements of office management are:
The office manager must be fully aware of the aims and objectives of the organisation in order to make correct decisions. If he knows the purpose of office, he will provide direction to the office activities and thus make it easy to evaluate the performance of different individuals.
The office environment is not only the physical environment but also the external factors such as the laws and customs of the community within which the firm operates. Efficiency of office personnel depends upon the perfect understanding of office environment. The environment is always changing and the officer must take decisions accordingly.
It is the most important element. The office manager must select suitable personnel and place them in appropriate jobs. They must be given proper training and then only they can increase their efficiency. To realize the desired objective of the office, the personnel must be provided with sufficient incentives to motivate them to contribute their efforts whole-heartedly.
It is a tool and includes materials, methods, machines and equipments with the help of which office activities are performed by the office employees. The office manager must know how to use these means in the best manner. The best use of means leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness in the work.
Departmentation is the process which is used to group business activities into units for the purpose of efficient administration at all levels. The process of organizing an enterprise consists of (a) dividing and grouping the work to be done and (b) assigning different duties and responsibility to different people.
In other words, the total activities of the business are divided into a number of functional departments, each entrusted with a particular type of business activity. A large business house has, therefore, as many sectional offices as there are functional or operating departments.
It is difficult to function for a business enterprise unless its activities are divided into group of functions, for example, production, purchasing, financing, accounting etc. These classified functions are performed by a group of specialized employees. A section is a group of workers under one supervisor.
There is a general office, under the control of the Secretary, which co-ordinates the activities of the functional departments as well as those of sectional offices.
Basis of Departmentation
Different concerns follow different bases of departmentation depending upon their size and nature of operations. The bases of departmentation usually followed by most business enterprises are:
1. Product Basis:
When a firm produces large number of products and the volume of business done in each product is sufficiently large, then internal organization may be formed on the basis of products handled or service rendered. One department is in charge of one line of products. For instance, a firm dealing with paints, chemicals, plastics and fertilizers, it may have four departments each dealing with one product.
2. Geographical Basis :
When an organization is large and geographically dispersed, departmentation on territorial basis may be made. For instance, a large Fan Manufacturing Company doing business in all the states of India may have separate departments for each state.
3. Functional Basis:
Most business enterprises, however, prefer to segregate their departments on the basis of the major activities or functions of the enterprise, viz. production, purchase, marketing, accounts etc. The various activities of the business enterprise are divided into a number of functional departments. Thus matters relating to production are dealt with by the production department, matters relating to accounts by accounts department and so on.
4. Customer Basis:
Under this basis of departmentation, activities are grouped according to the type of customers. For example, a large cloth store may be divided into wholesale, retail and export divisions. Each department specializes in serving a particular class of customers. For example, a large readymade store may have a separate department each for women, men and children.
5. Process or Equipment Basis:
Manufacturing activities may be sub-divided on the basis of their process of production. For example, production department of a textile mill may be divided on the basis of processes of production, like, designing, spinning, weaving, dyeing, bleaching etc.
Advantages of Departmentalization
1. An organization can avail benefits of specialization.
2. The efficiency of the management increases.
3. It is easy to fix accountability for the results.
4. Better control is facilitated.
5. It is easy to fix responsibility on workers.
6. It facilitates co-ordination.
The main purpose of the office is to provide efficient clerical work to the functional departments and the top management. For reasons of efficiency and economy and to secure specialization, various activities to be performed by an office are divided into different departments.
Each department of the office performs a specific function and the clerical staff attached to it becomes specialized in that particular function through constant dealing with the same work.
Thus departmentation leads to greater efficiency which reduces the cost of office. Generally, a modern office has cash department, accounts department, filing department, typing department, mail department etc.