Frederick Winslow Taylor

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Tracing Taylor`s scientific management

'Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) was the first efficiency expert, the original time-and-motion man. To organised labour, he was a soulless slave driver, out to destroy the workingman`s health and rob him of his manhood. To the bosses, he was an eccentric and a radical, raising the wages of common labourers by a third, paying college boys to click stopwatches. To him and his friends, he was a misunderstood visionary possessor of the one best way that, under the banner of science, would confer prosperity on worker and boss alike, abolishing the ancient class hatreds.' (Kanigel,1997) So, why is this man essential when talking about work, organisation and society? The answer is quite simple: Taylor is the father of scientific management, the creator of a system that became known, inevitably enough, as Taylorism. This system has transformed the subculture of the manual working class in the nineteenth century, leaving its signature in the history of labour.(McMillan et al.,2007)
Scientific management is a form of job design which stresses short, repetitive work cycles, detailed prescribed task sequences and a separation of task conception from task execution. The main idea is to apply scientific methods to the problems encountered in work in order to obtain maximum efficiency in industrial work.(McMillan et al.,2007 ) Taylor`s concept was that inefficiency played an important role in the industrial situation which ‘results from careful study on the part of the workmen of what will promote their best interests’ (Taylor, cited in Rose, 1978). He developed his ideas while working at the Midvale Steel Company (1878). There he rose to the position of shop superintendent in 1887 and observed that workers used different and mostly inefficient work methods and noticed that few machinists ever worked at the speed of which they were capable. The main things that led to this situation are: the view

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