The Five Dollar Day

After reading the two chapters, I really started to wonder if Ford’s method was really worth all the work, time and money it cost. The theory of scientific management seems much more practical and less time consuming. In scientific management, every step of the process did seem relevant to the industrial process to maximize output. In Ford’s system, it seems that he is spending a lot of money to investigate every part of his employee’s lives, and also imposing his own will so they act closer to company ideals, though I will expand on that later. What I don’t understand is that Ford was arguably much more successful! Ford Motors is still around today (though I doubt with the same practices of management) and it withstood the Depression and also in general the test of time. I do not know the current state of Bethlehem Steel or their current management practices, but I feel that neither practice would be effective in the long run, but scientific management should last longer or at least be more efficient. It is much more pragmatic in nature while Ford’s method is the epitome of the incentive method that  Taylor spoke about.

The main reason I find Ford’s method odd was because of how intrusive it was into the lives of employees. Not only did he investigate his employee’s private lives to regard them as “good” or not, he also was invested in how his employees spent their money. The author spends a large amount of time describing how Ford wanted employees who were thrifty, sober and saved their money. While these are good attributes, the whole point of capitalism is freedom to spend money in any way that a citizen wants. Ford’s management is akin to micromanagement, and even further it is like he is a god figure. He decided how his employees live, and if it is against his master plan they are fired. Again in theory it seems like it had success as the writer describes 3 or so success stories of men getting their lives together due to his plan. In America however, and in this day and age especially, I do not see the viability of Ford’s plan.

 

The final point which the end of the chapter touched on was the fact that immigrants were the ones that were greatly effected by Ford’s plan. The immigrant demographic makes sense as the most effective, since they need the money and will do pretty much anything for it. It also seemed that Ford wanted to instill strictly “American Values” into his employee’s, so the Five Dollar a Day method would be  the perfect way to promote his ideals of America into the new population. As previously stated, I do not believe that this method would work in today’s market, but I wonder perhaps with a similar immigrant population if it could? I also do wonder, though I bet Ford’s method did better in the long run, which management style did better Scientific or Five Dollar. It is interesting to note that after the economic boom of the Industrial and the Control Revolutions, that companies could now truly focus on how to effectively manage, a question that remains with us today.

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