History of Management Thought Revision

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Part Two

The Scientific Management Era

The purpose of Part Two is to begin with the work of Frederick W. Taylor and trace developments in management thought in Great Britain, Europe, Japan, and the U.S.A. up to about 1929. Taylor is the focal point, but we will see his followers as well as developments in personnel management and the behavioral sciences. Henri Fayol and Max Weber will be discussed, although their main influence came later, and we will conclude with an overview of the influence of scientific management in its environment.

Chapter 7

The Advent of Scientific Management

Frederick W. Taylor is one of the more widely recognized names in the management literature. Far more rare, however, is an accurate account of him and his ideas. This chapter intends to portray Taylor with his faults as well as his virtues. Though sometimes inconsistent in what he said and what he practiced, there is little doubt that his contributions for his era were substantial.

A.Taylor's Early Years

1.His family background provided no indication of what his career would be like. His father had money and property and his mother's family history was deeply rooted in colonial times. Taylor had the advantage of a fine prep school, travels to Europe, and a membership in an exclusive social club. Yet, due to failing eyesight, he did not go to Harvard as planned but started as a factory apprentice. His early experiences as a worker would shape his view of management.

2.Taylor at Midvale Steel
a.Started as a laborer, rose into management. This would lead to his “shop management” point of view.
b.Took a home study course to get his college degree in mechanical engineering.
c.As a worker, then a first line supervisor, he observed numerous industrial practices that led him to his life's work.
d.Restriction of output which Taylor classified into natural soldiering and systematic soldiering.
e.Taylor thought maybe a supervisor could inspire or force workers to stop natural soldiering.
f.Systematic soldiering resulted from group pressures for individuals to conform to output norms set by the work group. Taylor attributed this to a "lump of labor" theory. (Have your students define this theory and see if they can cite examples of group pressures -- at work, school, or wherever).

g.Taylor felt he could overcome soldiering and improve the situation if workers knew that the production standards were established by a study of the job, rather than by historical data, and if incentives could be provided.

3.Search for Science in Management (it is important to point out that management is not a science in an academic sense, but Taylor intended to use a scientific fact-finding method to determine a better way):

a.Time study -- this was prescriptive in that Taylor sought to identify the time a job should take (contrast this with Charles Babbage who measured only the length of a work cycle).
b.Time study was analytical, breaking the job into its components and eliminating useless movements; and constructive, building a file of movements that were common to other jobs.
c.Also, Taylor tried to improve tools, material, and machines.
d.In modern terms, his concept of job design was to analyze the job, discard wasted movements, and reconstruct the job as it should be done. He also sought to find the right tools, the right way to operate the machinery and to make the job more efficient. Today we might call this ergonomics.

a.Pay for performance, that is, pay largely determined by a person's productivity, is ancient. For example, in the domestic system payment was received based on the quantity and quality of work.

b.Once a standard was set through time study, rewards could be based on that. Taylor called that "rate-fixing."
c.Taylor discouraged profit sharing because it did not reward the individual and because it occurred long after the...
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