Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s Contribution to Modern Management

Topics: Frederick Winslow Taylor, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, Scientific management Pages: 3 (1151 words) Published: July 14, 2013
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s Contribution to Modern Management

Born (1868-1924) Frank and wife Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972) were seen as one of the great husband-and-wife teams of science and engineering. They were married in 1904 and produced 12 children, one of which died. They used their children as guinea pigs in their experiments for the quest to find “the one best way”. Early in the 1900s, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth worked together to develop motion study as an engineering and management technique. They followed the established work in time embarked on by Frederick Winslow Taylor and they developed the study of workplace psychology. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were partners in the management consulting firm of Gilbreth, Inc and wrote numerous books on their development. Frank Gilbreth was regarded as an innovative building contractor. His reputation was based on speed work achieved by mechanical innovations (an adjustable bricklayer’s scaffold and cement mixers), systematic management (coordinating activities on and among construction sites, generating labor efficiency), and advertising publicity employing smooth pamphlets filled with photographs, many of them chronological images displaying his buildings in progressive stages of completion. According to Baumgart (2009) scientific management was mostly developed in the 1880s and 1890s by Fredrick W. Taylor whose method of time study defined the field. Baumgart (2009) stated that Taylor observed 75 men who worked repetitively to move pig iron by shovel all day at the Bethlehem Steel Company. Then one of his engineers selected a worker and instructed him to follow his directives to the t. “We want no back talk, when he tells you to walk, you walk and when he tells you to sit down you sit down”. Consequently, the worker raised his productivity from 12.5 to 47 tons of pig iron moved daily and even earned an increased pay from $1.15 to $1.85 daily. Frank Gilbreth's well-known work in improving brick-laying...
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