Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management

Scientific Management - Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1950)

In 1881, Frederick Taylor published a paper that turned the cutting of metal into a science. Next he experimented with different designs of shovel for use with different materiel, such as coal and ore. From his studies, he designed shovels that would permit the worker to shovel for the whole day. In so doing, he reduced the number of people shoveling at the Bethlehem Steel Works from 500 to 140.

In 1911, Frederick Taylor published his book, The Principles of Scientific Management that conceived of a method for shortening the amount of time a task took by studying workers doing the task and removing "non-productive time." It was comprised mostly of time and motion studies to find the one best way to accomplish a task, rather than the standard "rule of thumb."

His theories had an impact on not only on how management was practiced, but also on management thought, which even carries over to the present day. At the time of Taylor's work, a typical manager would have very little contact with the activities of the factory. Generally, a foreman would be given the total responsibility for producing goods.

No one can be found who will deny that in the case of any single individual the greatest prosperity can exist only when that individual has reached his highest state of efficiency; that is, when he is turning out his largest daily output.

The truth of this fact is also perfectly clear in the case of two men working together. To illustrate: if you and your workman have become so skilful that you and he together are making two pairs of shoes in a day, while your competitor and his workman are making only one pair, it is clear that after selling your two pairs of shoes you can pay your workman much higher wages than your competitor who produces only one pair of shoes is able to pay his man, and that there will still be enough money left over for you to have a larger profit than your competitor. - Frederick Taylor

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