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    I provide my opinion about an analyse of benefits and drawbacks of the concept of ‘bloody Taylorism’ in understanding Foxconn's system of management. What is your opinion?
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    Introduction
    Foxconn Technology Group has so far become one of the largest and most profitability manufacturers in the electronic industry, which produces almost 40 % of the electronics items in the world. However, it attracted considerable public attention not for its high efficiency of the production process and good quality products, but due to a series of suicides in 2010 in the China, leading to an international outcry. Since then, an increasing number of scholars began to doubt the applicability of the management mode that is known as the scientific management by the upper level of managers, adopted by Foxconn. Taylor (2004) believes that the fundamental purpose of scientific management is to seek maximum labour productivity, and the highest working efficiency is by the common prosperity of employers and employees. Therefore, the most important means to achieve the highest efficiency is to use scientific, standardised management methods instead of experience management. This essay is to argue that the although Taylorism can be used to partly explain the management practices and working conditions of Foxconn in China, it still has some disadvantages and needs to combine with other theories, such as organisational culture.
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    This essay is organised as follows. First, it gives the fundamental definition of Taylorism. Then, it describes the contents in detail of Taylorism and uses scientific management to understand the measures in Foxconn. Third, it points out the drawbacks of Taylorism in Foxconn and adds a new theory of organisational culture to fulfil the original scientific management. Finally, it gives a comprehensive conclusion of Taylorism in Foxconn with some limitations and suggests for further studies.
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    Taylorism (Scientific management)
    Scientific management raised by Frederick Taylor, which is also called Taylorism, was one of the earliest attempts to successfully combine science, standardisation and management. It is a theory to analyse and inspect the working procedures of firms in order to maximise the outputs by improving the efficiency of the economy. Grachev and Rakitsky (2013) claim that the most significant attribute of Taylor’s scientific management is that it is pre-shaped by the industrial and political environment. It seeks maximum efficiency which is based on common prosperity for employers and employees. Taylor (2004) himself summarised that the central issue of scientific management is to improve labour productivity, and the method used to achieve the highest efficiency is to apply scientific management instead of the traditional management. Taylor's scientific management is the essence of accurate research and scientific knowledge to replace the individual's judgments, opinions and experience (Wagner-Tsukamoto,2008). In addition, comparing scientific management compared with the traditional management, the prior one is relying on developing operational procedures in a scientific way and improving management, while the other is to struggle for physical strength and time; the first one is stimulated by money, but the other depends on hunger policy (Phillips and Ilcan,2003). Briefly speaking, Taylorism is a procedure to divide work into different tiny possible skilled elements, and each small task should be standardised to achieve maximum efficiency.
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    Using Taylorism to analyse Foxconn

    According to Bluedorn (1983), the main contents of scientific management include 1. Make work quota; 2. In order to increase labour productivity, workers must be equipped with first-rate workers; 3. Implement standardised management; 4. Separate the planning function from the executive function and change the original empirical work method into a scientific working method; 5. Adopt different piecework systems; 6. Both workers and employers must come to a "spiritual revolution"; 7. Carry out exception principle on management control. These seven measures are designed to ensure that management can achieve its fundamental goal, that is, to improve efficiency. In the case of Foxconn, which is a production-intensive enterprise, the single product profit margins are very low, so, the only way to make the firm obtain considerable profits is to produce enough high-quality products in a limited time. Based on the case study, this article will be divided the contents of scientific management into three parts to analyse Foxconn's management practices and working conditions, named the scientific design, standardisation, and economic man separately.
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    The pursuit of high efficiency

    The biggest breakthrough of Taylorism is that it is the first theory to develop management following an empirical management to scientific management transform in history, and Lucas, Kang and Li (2013) mention that science in Foxconn reflected scientific targets of work and differential piece-rate management so that the company can reach high production efficiency.
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    One of the scientific management practices is making work quota. In order to deal with "grinding workers," Taylorism implement quota management is regarded as the primary measure of scientific management of enterprises (Taylor, 2004). In the case of Foxconn, the completion time of each procedure is the result of repeated study of the time and actions of the best workers, and then to calculate a scientific day workload standards of each step in the whole assembly line that should be finished by seconds refer to the yield function (Chan, Pun and Selden, 2013). Lucas et al. (2013) point out that to set the work quota, Taylor is based on the issue that the first-class workers maintain a long time stable speed without threatening their health, which is not based on assault or sustained tension, but on workers can continue to do the job for a relatively complete work cycle which is sustained at the normal speed. Through a detailed examination of the individual's work, Taylor can determine the best time to complete a job after determining every step and action to do something. With this information, managers can determine whether the workers do a good job and implement a more effective monitor. Furthermore, it can promptly remind the slack work of employees in order to ensure the production of high efficiency (Bluedorn, 1986). Taylor (2004) emphasizes this development of science for each element of a labors’ work instead of the old rule-of-thumb method, which is the mode Foxconn used to ensure the high efficiency as well. In addition, refer to the requirements of Taylorism, enterprises need to establish a specific departments or institutions to set quotas, but in Foxconn, such institutions do not exist. Consequently, although it seems to save the cost of management, it may take more time to transfer when product updates and the original procedures of the product are needed to change because of the loss of professional managers (Wagner-Tsukamoto, 2008). Hence, the practice of production quota can promote the efficiency of enterprises and can be explained by scientific management.
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    Besides the work quota, another management practice in Foxconn to ensure the high efficiency of production is the implementation of the differential wage system. Within eight hours of normal production, Foxconn's workload is measured daily, called daily workload, and overtime out of the normal eight hours is calculated in hours (Lucas et al., 2013). However, since basic wages are low in normal working hours measured in days, the employees of Foxconn choose to work overtime to get additional overtime allowance, which can lead to higher incomes than other companies in the same industry (Ngai and Chan, 2012). Compared to the traditional piece-rate wage system, Taylor's differential piecemeal system can better mobilise the enthusiasm of employees. First, the standard system it designed is through scientific research and multiple trials. As in the production process of Foxconn, when the employees are under this management practice, they made the choice of doing the overtime jobs rather than strike or riot, because it is within the acceptable level of the body to bear to improve staff efficiency (Schuler, Jackson and Tarique, 2011). At the same time, it can solve the problem that the past employees may base on their experience and estimates to control the production speed. Secondly, the wage rate is different from the original one. For example, if Foxconn employees are able to complete all assigned quota assignments at the time of overtime jobs, their wages will be calculated at a higher wage rate; conversely, if he fails to meet the prescribed quota, it will be calculated at the lower wage rate (Ngai and Chan, 2012). This can encourage employees to complete the required tasks more efficiently. In addition, the system emphasizes that all workers, regardless of position and type of work, are calculated on the same basis of their skills and the amount of contribution they do, which makes the employee feel fair and motivates them to work more efficiently (Nyland, and Bruce, 2012). When the workers are under fair treatment, they will be more heroic, franker, and more honestly, so they will work happier and create a mutually supportive relationship between workers. Overall, once the workers are willing to work and work actively, the productivity can be guaranteed.
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    High-quality assurance

    As one of the largest electronic components factories around the world, Foxconn’s products not only need to satisfy the high demand of customers but also need to ensure the high-quality of products, so as to maintain the long-term and effective cooperation with the client. Furthermore, because Foxconn adopts standardised management Mode, empowering Foxconn can ensure high-quality products with such effective measures. Kemp (2013) defines standardisation as a standardised system by which workers can master standardised operational methods, use standardised tools, machinery and materials, additionally, the working environment is standardised. After adopting production line, every employee is only responsible for a particular process, or even only responsible for a certain action, such as silicon wafer testing, the only action during the work is focusing on the silicon wafer on the line to test if it is satisfied with production standards. In order to make sure that everyone uses the correct method of operation, each action the workers take during the operation period need to carry on scientific research, and to replace the traditional empirical method. To make the action more efficient, each step should be divided into many actions, and then the action is broken down into motes, which means that action is composed of several elements of action, and then study the necessity and rationality of each mote, remove those unreasonable elements of action. Then the necessary components will be retained, according to the principle of economic rationalisation, hence to form a standard operating method by improving and merging steps (Jones, 2000.). Working-based standard action has been fixed, workers are only engaged in the implementation of functions, in accordance with the provisions of the standard in the actual operation, but cannot do it on their own. The reason that why workers are not being replaced by the machine is that they are more efficient than machines in this part or make lower cost than machines. Combining product quotas and differential wage uniforms, workers have to do better than machines in order to get the desired pay (Wagner-Tsukamoto, 2007). This step-by-step process of all subdivisions has been well-defined, so that every action is completed perfectly, accompanied by time constraints and foreman supervision, the quality of the product can be ensured.
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    Besides the implementation of standardised management, Foxconn picks the most suitable workers to the most suitable positions and training them also ensure the high-quality of products. Derksen (2014) says that the basic principle of human resource management is to balance workers' abilities and the work. The responsibility of the business management is to find the most suitable job for the employees, train them to be the first-class workers, and inspire them to do their best to finish the work. As in the Foxconn case, the worker with strength to let him do heavy work. And those workers who are careful, let them do careful jobs. In addition, Taylor (2004) also stated that in the new scientific management, the staff should be evaluated by managers and then assigned to the appropriate positions, rather than the staff pick the work by themselves. Management should continually examine each employee's unique personality and performance to identify their competencies, as well as focus on their own development and select appropriate staff to accept targeted training. Moreover, the excellent workers can give them promotional opportunities (Nyland, and Bruce, 2012). It is necessary to train a group of first-class workers in order to ensure the efficient and quality production.
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    Hierarchical management

    The management model of a company largely depends on the personal experience of his leadership. As Terry Guo was in the military service, he introduced the toughness of the army into corporate management, resulting in the militarization of management (Ngai and Chan, 2012). The companies like Foxconn, whose production process is relatively low and staffs are immaturity, are undoubtedly suitable to adopt this high order, low-level relationship system. In this mode of management, employees must unconditionally follow the instructions of their superiors, who will strictly monitor each production process (Derksen, 2014). According to Taylor's view of the "economic man", he believes that the main motivation of workers is economic, and what are the workers most concerned about is to improve their own income. Based on this view, the stringent requirements raised by the foreman for front-line staffs in the production of quantity and quality are to get win-win results, that is to say, employees produce more high-quality products to get more compensation. Meanwhile enterprises can achieve the profit-maximizing goal as well. However, this severity of this hierarchy completely ignores that the staffs have more physical and psychological basic needs, excluding the economic requirements, thus leading to the tragedy of a series of suicides and the phenomenon of ultra-high flow rate, and these are precisely the aspects of Taylorism that cannot be explained.
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    Other theories to fulfil the Taylorism in Foxconn
    Due to the scientific management can only explain Foxconn's high reputation for high efficiency and quality, and cannot explain the tragedy of the serial suicides that made it famous in 2011, the concept of organisational culture will be cited to remedy this defect (Xu and Li, 2013). Organisational culture is an organisation's unique cultural image composed of its values, beliefs, rituals, symbols, ways of doing things, etc. Briefly, it is the daily operation of the enterprise in various aspects. In the case of Foxconn, its organisational culture is the supremacy of interests, which means that all the actions should see to seek more profits as the starting point (Su and Yang, 2010.). The organisational culture is the soul of the enterprise, and its core is the spirit and values. Therefore, the staffs live as a machine and lose emotion under the Foxconn’s value, and employees will doubt the value of their own existence, which is one of the reasons that Foxconn has maintained a very high turnover rate. Chan (2013) also pointed out that Foxconn's work environment is very good, providing canteens and accommodation, and even equipped with gym and other living facilities, but under the organisational culture of supremacy of interests, employees merely want to complete the quota tasks to get the appropriate reward, without carrying out any unnecessary life activities. In addition, Taylorism emphasizes individual output benefits, and each person in the front-line of Foxconn is an independent existence to be responsible for a specific process, thus there is no the concept of collaboration. Even within the same dormitory, staffs are still short of communication, which also led to the enterprise lack of cohesion and a sense of belonging. Therefore, enterprises should be in the pursuit of high efficiency, based on the establishment of a cohesion of the people, and truly reflect the needs of employees of the corporate culture.
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    Conclusion
    Scientific management is a theory of management that adapts the science and standardization to management practices in order to improve the economic efficiency. Although Taylorism cannot analyse all the measures in the Foxconn, it still proves that Foxconn gains a big success in its production efficiency and high-quality goods by using the scientific methods mentioned in Taylorism, such us work quota, standardised management and excitant payment system. However, it ignores the pursuit of workers in the spiritual perspective, so scientific management should be fulfilled by other theories, like organisational culture, which analyse the company value in the spiritual level. In the future, both Taylorism and Foxconn should not only blindly pursue profit maximization and production efficiency, but also pay more attention to the essence of the real composition of the company, that is, the spirit of the pursuit of their own employees.
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    References

    Bluedorn, A.C., 1986. Scientific Management (comprising Shop Management, The Principles of Scientific Management, and Testimony Before the Special House Committee). Academy of Management Review, 11(2), pp.443-447.

    Chan, J., 2013. A suicide survivor: The life of a Chinese worker. New Technology, Work and Employment, 28(2), pp.84-99.

    Chan, J., Pun, N. and Selden, M., 2013. The politics of global production: Apple, Foxconn and China's new working class. New Technology, Work and Employment, 28(2), pp.100-115.

    Derksen, M., 2014. Turning men into machines? Scientific management, industrial psychology, and the “human factor”. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 50(2), pp.148-165.

    Grachev, M. and Rakitsky, B., 2013. Historic horizons of Frederick Taylor's scientific management. Journal of Management History, 19(4), pp.512-527.

    Jones, O., 2000. Scientific management, culture and control: A first-hand account of Taylorism in practice. Human Relations, 53(5), pp.631-653.

    Kemp, L.J., 2013. Modern to postmodern management: developments in scientific management. Journal of Management History, 19(3), pp.345-361.

    Lucas, K., Kang, D. and Li, Z., 2013. Workplace dignity in a total institution: Examining the experiences of Foxconn’s migrant workforce. Journal of business ethics, 114(1), pp.91-106.

    Ngai, P. and Chan, J., 2012. Global capital, the state, and Chinese workers the Foxconn experience. Modern China, 38(4), pp.383-410.

    Nyland, C. and Bruce, K., 2012. Democracy or seduction? The demonization of scientific management and the deification of human relations.

    Phillips, L. and Ilcan, S., 2003. ‘A world free from hunger’: Global imagination and governance in the age of scientific management. Sociologia Ruralis, 43(4), pp.434-453.

    Schuler, R.S., Jackson, S.E. and Tarique, I., 2011. Global talent management and global talent challenges: Strategic opportunities for IHRM. Journal of World Business, 46(4), pp.506-516.

    Su, Y.F. and Yang, C., 2010. Why are enterprise resource planning systems indispensable to supply chain management?. European Journal of Operational Research, 203(1), pp.81-94.

    Taylor, F.W., 2004. Scientific management. Routledge.

    Wagner-Tsukamoto, S., 2007. An institutional economic reconstruction of Scientific Management: On the lost theoretical logic of Taylorism. Academy of Management Review, 32(1), pp.105-117.

    Wagner-Tsukamoto, S., 2008. Scientific management revisited: did Taylorism fail because of a too positive image of human nature?. Journal of Management History, 14(4), pp.348-372.

    Xu, K. and Li, W., 2013. An ethical stakeholder approach to crisis communication: A case study of Foxconn’s 2010 employee suicide crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(2), pp.371-386.
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    All above is my understanding of Foxconn's management system based on Taylorism. It is my pleasure to receive any different opinions and comments of this topic and my essay. Moreover, if you want to use my opinion, just quote it please. Thank you for taking time reading my discussion.
    Best wishes.
 
 
 
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