The Science and Practice of Management – A. Hamilton Church
Copy Right:1914, Published 1918
“Two tasks are set for the worker in any science. One of these is to enrich the chosen field by the discovery of new facts and the statement of new experiences. The other . . . is to arrange the facts already known in ‘the ‘best order and to bring out the relations between them as closely as possible. Whenever progress in the first of these tasks has been rapid, the second becomes the more necessary, for it offers the only possible way of attaining mastery . . . and of bringing the science as a whole into a convenient and serviceable “form.” — Wilhelm OSTWALD, ” Fundamental Principles of Chemistry.”
In the spring of 1912, in conjunction with Mr. L. P. Alford, editor of the American Machinist, I undertook an at attempt to reduce the regulative principles of management to their simplest terms — that is, to express them in the broadest and most general way — and thus to provide a basic classification for administrative activity on which a detailed structure could subsequently be built up. We found that all the different working principles common in manufacturing could be reduced to one of three main groups, viz. :
(1) The systematic accumulation and use of experience.
(2) The economic control (or regulation) of effort.
(3) The promotion of personal effectiveness.
These regulative principles were afterward endorsed and adopted in the majority report of the special committee appointed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to investigate the new systems of management — a fourth principle, namely, the “transfer of skill,” being added to them by the committee.
I contributed a series of articles to The Engineering Magazine (January-June 1913), in which the application of these principles was worked out. These articles were termed “Practical Principles of Rational Management”, because at that time the peculiar feature of the modern system seemed to be the introduction of reasoning into management, as opposed to the old rule-of-thumb school.
Two Elements in Management: Determinative and Administrative
The first of these is the Determinative element, which settles the manufacturing policy of the business — what to make — and the distributive policy — where to sell and by what means. The second is the Administrative element, which takes the policy as determined, and gives it practical expression in buying, making, and selling.
Of these two elements, which are not infrequently combined in small businesses, the first — the Determinative — represents the higher and scarcer faculty.
The time has, perhaps, not yet come when we may reduce the Determinative element to a body of principles, or even working rules. It contains, today, too many unknown and variable factors. This book, therefore, makes no attempt to deal with this aspect of industry; it covers the element of Administration alone, and only one division of administration, namely, manufacturing. The administrative problems of Selling and Distribution are excluded from consideration in its pages.
Management, or rather administration (eliminating the determinative element), is an organic affair.
what is meant by the term “organic”. The analogy of the human body gives the simplest illustration: the work of the great and lesser “organs” of the body, the heart, lungs, brain, etc., is independent yet coordinated. One of these organs may be working at a higher efficiency than the others, or vice versa, but on the balanced working of the whole set depends the health of the man, and his efficiency for whatever he wants to do — riding, walking, writing a poem, or dictating a business letter. Some
of these organs may fall into a state of inefficiency without marked results being at once visible, or again some one of them may be permanently lowered in efficiency without hindrance to particular kinds of work. But with each there is a point beyond which organic inefficiency cannot go without disaster.
Thinking along these lines, the author’s attention was given to determine, if possible, what organic elements were to be found in industrial activity.
What we do find are groups of activities common to all industry, which groups are organic; that is, they perform specific functions in a specific way. Like the organs of the body, they are independent, yet closely co-ordinated.
Two great intellectual processes: Synthesis and Analysis
THE problem of management, broadly regarded, consists in the practical application of two great intellectual processes. Whatever the end aimed at, whether the conduct of a military campaign or the manufacture of an industrial product, the processes involved are those of analysis and synthesis. In proportion as analysis is keen and correct, and synthesis is sure and unerring, so will be the resulting efficiency.
The neglect of analysis and the forceful use of synthesis are typical of the successful businesses of the past. The strong, shrewd, ‘practical’ man could afford to neglect a careful analysis of his problem, because he had a very large margin of profit to draw on. His wastes were great, his lost opportunities many, but he knew nothing about them and cared less, because his operations were successful in proportion to his expectations. If his profits were not, as we can see now, as large as they should have
been, they were at least as large as those of everyone else.
During the last fifteen years there has been a considerable development of the art of analysis in the problems of management.
The introduction of the premium plan with the widespread notice it attracted, emphasized the need for more accurate determination of times, and as this happened in the machine-shop industry, which is of all industries the most complex and varied both in its machines and its product, it was found that some new departure was needed.
To meet this need, the particular kind of analysis now known as ”time study” was rediscovered.
The observations made by time study very soon disclosed the fact that great inefficiencies existed in and between these various kinds of work which are involved in production of a given piece.
From time study to motion study (itself also a method of analysis reaching back to the early beginnings of the use of machinery) is a natural step. Having ascertained that unit processes are in fact made up of a series of steps, and having recorded these steps and allotted times to them, it was a natural development to apply criticism to the steps themselves. Why should this be done, and why that? Why should the man bend down to pick up the material rather than the material be lifted up to the man? Why? indeed! The moment questions of this kind got into the air, it very soon became thick with them. The work of Mr. Gilbreth on motion study must be regarded as the most original contribution to the science of management that has yet been made.
The routing of product and the lay-out of machines is, then, a further development of the instrument of analysis that has very important bearing on efficiency.
The only difference between modern types of planning and the older practice is that, today, it is recognized as a subject of analysis, and that the planning department, or by whatever name it is known, is not merely a haphazard outgrowth of the business, but is organized after a careful analysis of the needs of the plant, with special reference to the kind, urgency, and aim of the operations carried on.
The really important point is the correct and exhaustive application of analysis to the actual facts of the case, that is, to the nature of the product, of the machines, of the men, and of the officials. Only when these facts are exhaustively known, may the design of a planning department commence.
Analysis is not a constructive instrument. We can make nothing by its aid. It distinguishes, it provides very accurate knowledge, it eliminates, but it does not build. That is the task of synthesis.
What then is synthesis! What kind of activities are grouped under that head? In what does it differ from analysis, and in what practical ways is it applied? These are interesting questions and will be briefly discussed.
Just as analysis is the art of separating and dissecting, so synthesis is the art of combining. As a practical art it naturally precedes analysis, or more correctly it precedes conscious analysis. While the elements of a problem are simple, the mind, intent on its aim, analyzes unconsciously to a degree sufficient for its needs. But in proportion as the number of elements grows — and in modern industry they have grown to a very large number — then conscious analysis must be brought into play, not to supersede hut to supplement the operations of synthesis.
The main distinction between synthesis and analysis in this connection is that synthesis is concerned with fashioning means to effect large ends, and analysis is concerned with the correct local use of given means. The view taken by synthesis is a wide and comprehensive one; it surveys the whole field of action ; its great task is to determine ” what to do”. The view taken by analysis, on the other hand, is a narrow and limited one ; it concerns itself with the infinitely small. Its task is to say ‘how to use certain means to the best advantage”. Analysis builds up from the deeps. It may or may not its contribution to the whole.
But the synthetical side of management demands that every effort of analysis, like every other effort made in the plant, shall have some proportion, some definite economic relation to the purpose for which the business is being run.
The method of synthesis is to combine functions, that is, specific kinds of aim, in such a way that their co-operation produces some distinct and useful result. It is important to notice that industrial synthesis is not a mere combination of men, it is a combination of grouped activities or functions. It sets up a group of activities here.
It is evident therefore that the study of functions is of the greatest importance. But functions are a product of synthesis — analysis would never organize them nor coordinate them.
But in beginning synthetically we should not take this point of view. We should first ask what was the objective of the whole organization.Thereafter we should proceed by erecting groupings successively less and less comprehensive.
Manufacturing – Five Organic Functions
In a manufacturing industry, according to the writer’s examination of the subject, the objective of the whole, namely, production, is realized by a synthesis of five organic functions, which are invariably present in every type of industry, but to very different extent in each,
These five Organic Functions are:
- Comparison, and
Consequently we can say that production is a synthesis of Design, Equipment, Control, Comparison, and Operation.
The important point is that both the elementary and the highly developed condition in which we find this function, design has Again, the nature of the Equipment, and the method of its employment, may be entirely different in a paper mill, a foundry, and a soap factory ; but yet each must have equipment, and in each certain laws as to the use of such equipment must be observed in the same way. In each there will be a layout more efficient than any other, in each there will be decay and replacement of equipment, depreciation, maintenance and repair, etc., quite irrespective of the kind of equipment or its uses. On the other hand, the lay-out of equipment will be much more important in some industries than in others. Product that can be pumped through pipes, or conveyed on endless bands, is much more independent of physical lay-out than one which demands great effort to move it even a short distance. Every variety of equipment will have its own problems, but a large number of these problems are common ; that is, they differ in degree and not in kind. But in no case is equipment absent altogether exactly the same.
The function of Control is also obviously common to all manufacturing plants. Broadlv stated it is the function of the “boss”. But no industry exists in which control does not need intelligent organization
on its own merits.
Similarly, there is no industry in which the function of Comparison does not exist. For comparison deals with the record of quantities whether such quantities are expressed in time, money, degrees, levels, or other notation. It therefore includes testing, inspecting and cost accounting. Any data which are of significance at all, are only so by comparison. This comparison may be with previous or future work of the same kind, or it may be with standards. And such standards, again, may be specified standards set up by Design, such as limits, fits or dimensions, or may be comparisons between time allowed for a job, and time taken, or may deal with physical standards such as temperatures, pressures, degrees of vacuum, specific gravity and so forth. But all these cases postulate two things: (1) the observation and record; (2) something by which to judge the value of the observation and record. No industry is without need for some of these methods of comparison, while in many industries a very considerable development of the function is both proper and profitable.
The final Organic Function found in manufacturing is that of Operation. This comprises the exercise of manual skills, trades, and callings, usually by way of operating-machines, but not necessarily so. Operation is definable as the act of changing the status (that is, the form, dimension, or composition) of material in accordance with the specification of Design. In practical language it is the work of the
shops, but only the operative work of the shops. It does not include foremanship, which is part of Control; or inspection, which is part of Comparison. It goes without saying that Operation is a function present in every plant of every kind.
Industrial synthesis may be defined as the proportioning of means to ends. Analysis, in the same sense, is the study of the adroit use of certain specified means in the most efficient way. The difference is that in analysis we assume the means are as they are. In synthesis it is the choice, the relative effectiveness, the right proportion, the right kind of means that is in question. Synthesis is the physical (gross), analysis the miscroscopical examination of the problem. Synthesis chooses and combines, analysis discusses and reveals. It is evident that we are here in presence of two processes that need to complement each other.
The art of managing an industrial plant so as to effect production most efficiently must be recognized therefore as consisting of two parts. First, the right use of synthesis — determination of the kind of organic functions needed to be set up, their due proportion, their proper balance, and their internal organization; and secondly, the right use of analysis — the investigation of the minute steps, the small stages by “which product advances from stage to stage from the status of raw material to the status of finished goods. Of these two parts, the correct use of synthesis is by far the most important, as will be understood when it is realized that the systematic use of analysis is only now being introduced into industry. All the not inconsiderable triumph is of industry in the past were realized with a trifling use of analysis, and that mostly instinctive and unconscious.
To suppose that analysis is a method of management instead of an instrument of management is a fatal error, that has been becoming rather common of late. It seems desirable therefore to emphasize its due place, and to recall the fact that the results of synthesis remain those by which management will be finally judged in all cases.
THE VERY administrative act arises from an aim or desire to do something. Examination shows us that five separate varieties of aim are distinguishable in manufacturing administrative work, and that this an analysis is exhaustive, i. e., no aim or end exists in manufacturing that cannot properly be as-
signed to one of these categories.
Each of these separate aims should have, normally, its own separate organization for bringing about the results it seeks, and each may therefore be regarded as a true type of Organic Function, These functions have already been enumerated as follows : —
1. Design, which originates.
2. Equipment, which provides physical conditions.
3. Control, which specifies duties, and which orders.
4. Comparison, which measures, records and compares.
5. Operation, which makes.
These organic elements of administration are specific functions and not things. They are elemental facts; not tangible entities, but facts of observation. Thus they imply different kinds of mental activity. The art of organization consists in entrusting these different kinds of mental activity to the right persons, and in supervising their co-ordination. It is very important, therefore, that the scope and limits of each function shall be as sharply defined as possible.