Industrial revolution took place in two phases between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century. The first industrial revolution took place in the early eighteenth century and extended up to early eighteenth century giving birth to the secondary industrial revolution of late nineteenth century, which has extended up to date for developing nations. The period saw many changes in almost every aspect of life in major parts of the world. The social, economic, and political life of people was greatly affected in these two periods in a positive way. These changes led to improved living standards and the growth of economies in many nations. The economic state of a nation determines greatly how the other aspects of life are run in such nations; therefore, governments invested more of their resources in economic development during this time to achieve stable economic development and an all around growth in all aspects of life (Hawken, P. et al. 2013, 74). As mentioned earlier, the fist industrial revolution ushered the second industrial revolution, therefore, most of the activities carried out in the second phase were born in the first era of revolution. As the name suggests, industrialization was the main achievement that marked this period.
The two periods are similar in many ways considering that the focus was in trying to make life better through economic, social, and political developments. However, the techniques used in achieving these goals differ in some ways, especially those involving the use of science and technology in economic activities as well as scientific management. The entire revolution marked improvement in the production industry as science and technology became an important tool in the eyes of economists to enhance economic growth. However, the rate at which science and technology was used in the two revolutions differ greatly. This is because science and technology does not just happen in the vacuum; the ability of success in this approach depends on the cultural and political contexts of the society. The political system and the cultural operations of a society must give room to scientific and technological knowledge to make impact in the economic field. The use of this tool in economic activities was slow in the first revolution while the second industrial revolution emphasized specifically on the use of technology and science to improve production and raise per capita income (Hawken, P. et al. 2013, 123). In the same way, scientific management has its roots in the first industrial revolution but effective use of the same was achieved in the second revolution as people became more concerned about effective and efficient means of production.
The industrial revolution was an important period in the eyes of the capitalist as it created opportunities for all people to acquire wealth. In both periods, there was a reduction in working hours, raised life expectancy, and no work for children and the elderly. The revolution began in Britain before spreading to the rest of the world. Science and technology was quite instrumental in the achievement of this capitalism concept of wealth acquisition for all. In the first revolution, science and technology was used in limited capacities in the production of textile, steam engines, and iron, which were the main economic activities at the time. The limitation of the use of science and technology what this time can be attributed to the fact that the concept had just been coined and only a few people had faith in the use of technology to improve production and influence the economy. Additionally, the nature of the economy at the time did not require much use of science and technology to achieve success (Jones, R. et al. 2014, 91). Besides, even without science and technology economic growth was so evident because it was the first time that new ways of production were used. Research indicates that the per capita income of nations that took advantage of this period grew up to ten fold while population growth grew at around five times. For the first time in history economic growth exceeded the population, therefore, there was no need for science and technology to make the difference.
Nations exploited all the possible factors of production to improve economic growth but by mid nineteenth century, there were no new resources to deploy to keep up with the rate of economic growth. For some time, the economy reached a recess period until people figured out a way to enhance their use of science and technology in economic growth. The second revolution is usually termed as a technological period because it is at this time that people realized that technology and science knowledge was the ideal tool to continue dispensing wealth to all people in a capitalist economy. The ideas that were overlooked in the first revolution became the basis of the second revolution in terms of science and technology knowhow. To affect the economy effectively, science and technology was used in almost every aspect of life including education, transportation, the manufacturing industry, the health industry and the in social affairs just to mention but a few. The transport system was made more effective by the use of steam engines, which later translated to combustion engines allowing easy and cheap transportation of goods and services (Jones, R. et al. 2014, 64). Business people were able to move across the world for business purposes hence raising the level of income and hence improved living standards among people. additionally, through science and technology and the improvement of the transport system, materials to make steel and other metals necessary for the creation of important machines was ,made readily available.
In the second industrial revolution, machines replaced human labor thus improving the rate and level of production. People had more time to focus on other things like education, which enhanced knowledge in both science and technology. As a result, new technologies evolved allowing people to transact easily in the business world. Entrepreneurship was born through improved technology in the second revolution as people acquired new ways of operating business. Entrepreneurship has been and is still the greatest factor that helps economies grow at a speedy rate because it reduces the level of unemployment within a nation thus raising the level of income among people. In the capitalist eyes, entrepreneurship acts as the central point of wealth distribution among people and across borders. In the first industrial revolution people depend on employment thus limiting economic growth since not all people had the capacity to acquire one. However, as technology and scientific knowledge among people increased in the second revolution unemployed became outdated hence improving the social welfare the populace (Mooney, V. & Vaughn, J. 2011, 51).
Another remarkable thing in the second revolution that was achieved through science and technology is the production of petroleum. As people gained more knowledge in scientific matters, it became easy to produce safe and cheap petroleum products that helped improve the transportation industry and the production industry. Organization that ventured in the business of coal and oil production acquired substantial wealth through export and domestic supply. Innovation throughout the business and economic world became a normal thing in the second revolution. Through scientific knowhow and technological advancements, competition among businesses arose something that enabled economic control in the market place and reduced exploitation of the masses. Competition brought about the issue of quality and value for money. Companies had to ensure that their products were worth purchasing; therefore, firms employed the use of technology and scientific knowhow to create high quality products to achieve profitability. Additionally, technology became an important tool in marketing products and services to consumers (Mooney, V. & Vaughn, J. 2011, 72). As a result, businesses needed more than just entrepreneurs to achieve success. Different matters in the economic world needed professionals to oversee not to mention the need for engineers to operate and manage the machinery used in production. Technology and scientific management because the basis of every economic move in the second revolution something that has extended up to date. The use of science and technology in the current world marks the difference between strong and weak economies.
Scientific management, a tool coined by Taylor to enhance in the management of work became popular in the second industrial revolution although it has its roots in the first industrial revolution. In the first industrial revolution, skilled labor was seen as the right mechanism to achieving effectiveness in the production industry but Taylor saw this mechanism as tiresome and clumsy thus reducing the level of economic growth. People had to deal with difficult tasks that took a lot of time to resolve while the revolution period required faster labor to match the economic growth set in motion. Organizations had to be both effective and efficient to achieve a considerable place in the market share hence the need for faster labor. Taylor came up with ways that labor could be broken down into simpler smaller tasks that could be handled by anybody through the guidance of the manager (Zmolek, M. 2013, 99). The approach would benefit both the business and the employees because they would not feel burdened with lots of work to earn. The motivation would encourage employees to cover a great deal of work because they did not need to exercise a lot of thinking.
The approach was not much welcome in the first revolution because the rich saw it as a way to lose control to the masses. The approach suggested by Taylor did not require professionalism to carry out business transactions; therefore, the wealthy were bound to lose their only advantage over the poor. Scientific management goes hand in hand with the capitalist way of operation where power and wealth is equally distributed to all regardless of the many differences that exist among people. However, in the second revolution, the demand for quick production levels increased as the use of machines became the common ways of production. Rather than one major task being handled by one person, managers saw it fit to break down labor into smaller understandable tasks where employees would operate under the supervision of a manager. This made production and management easier hence improving the economic stability of many economies. People became more concerned with teamwork rather than individualism. Teamwork helped employees learn different skills from one another and the issue of specialization was abandoned. Additionally, this approach gave employees a chance to interact with different technologies used at the time something that gave birth to the new technologies used in the current world in the production industry (Taylor, F. 2010, 128).
Scientific management is all about training people to handle the tasks effectively rather than seeking for the ideal employee. During the second revolution, technology provided different opportunities for the already trained people in certain areas thus leaving many firms with employee deficit. Scientific management gave employers an opportunity to train their own employees in the specific tasks required of them. Training of workers served the economy effective at the time in that employees were trained in the very expectation of the employer hence eliminating problems encountered as employees adjust to the goals and objectives of the firm (Taylor, F. 2010, 130). The second revolution marked the onset of unskilled labor as it brought about reduced costs of production on the employers part and reasonable financial gain on the employees part.
The use of scientific management in the second revolution was seen as the best way to achieve mutual benefit in business as the employer benefited from cheap labor while the employees enjoyed handling simple tasks. Additionally, scientific management made things easy by employing the use of technology to monitor the progress of employees as they carried out daily tasks. Rather than measuring performance on the final produce, an employer had the chance to monitor every step of the progress to ensure that employees did the right thing at every stage. This enhanced quality of production and eliminated waste, which was a big step in the economic realm. The use of scientific management in business operations in the first industrial revolution was almost impossible because people had not accepted the role of technology in production and in economic world in general. The idea of unskilled labor did not seem possible at the time due to the low levels of machinery use in production process. However, in the second revolution, machines replaced most of the hard tasks that required human effort thus leaving very little to human labor. Training employees was necessary in every stance in the second revolution for the sake of employing the different technologies that was being incorporated in to the business world at the time (Goloboy, J. 2008, 47). Additionally, people had become quite knowledgeable in the second revolution, and they were not ready to engage in a working relationship that only benefited one side: the employer. As a result, employers had to employ the use of technology and scientific knowledge to ensure equality in benefit sharing between the organization and the employees.
Scientific management focuses on employee motivation through incentives. Employee motivation was not necessary in the first revolution because employers had total control of the economy; therefore, an employer-employee working relationship was more of a forced labor than a mutual consent between two parties. However, as new opportunities opened up in the second revolution following the growth of technology, the need to motivate employees arose to ensure loyalty. Taylor argued that people and in this case, employees, are naturally lazy and unlearned; therefore, they need money to motivate them to improve productivity (Taylor, F. 2010, 46). As a result, employers began giving bonuses on work well done as well as a pay rise for high production. The level of production increased during this time and so did the quality of the produce as people sought financial benefits. The idea of professional amusement as it was in the first revolution was not as important in the second revolution. The costs if living were rising and the public needed something more tangible to motivate them. Additionally, the only benefit of unskilled labor is the financial gain; therefore, Taylor’s approach worked just fine until people figured out various employee motivation mechanisms.
In conclusion, both the first and second industrial revolution marker a great capitalism period where people got a chance to make profit at their own comfort and pace. The period opened doors for both professionals and laymen to enhance their skill and do something productive with their skills at different levels. Science and technology is among the things that led to the revolutions especially in the second revolution where technology was quite appreciated. On the other hand, as much as there was less utilization of scientific and technological knowledge in the first revolution, the period did prepare grounds for technology to make an impact in the economic world in the second revolution (Zmolek, M. 2013, 84). The begging of scientific management was an important aspect in the management world as it has helped organizations improve their ways of operation by training and motivating employees to achieve their full potential. Generally, the credit to the economic situations in the world today can easily be attributed to both the first and the second industrial revolution.
Goloboy, J., 2008. Industrial revolution people and perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC- CLIO.
Hawken, P., Lovins, A. & Lovins, L., 2013. Natural Capitalism the Next Industrial Revolution. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Jones, R., Lewis, M., History, S. & History, S., 2014. British Industrial Capitalism since the Industrial Revolution. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Mooney, C. & Vaughn, J., 2011. The Industrial Revolution: investigate how science and technology changed the world: with 25 projects. White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press.
Taylor, F., 2010. The principles of scientific management. Minneapolis, MN: Filiquarian Pub., LLC.
Zmolek, M., 2013. Rethinking the industrial revolution: five centuries of transition from agrarian to industrial capitalism in England. Leiden Boston: Brill.