Frederick Winslow Taylor
Frederick Winslow Taylor devised a system he called scientific management, a form of industrial engineering that established the organization of work as in Ford's assembly line. This discipline, along with the industrial psychology established by others at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electic in the 1920s, moved management theory from early time-and-motion studies to the latest total quality control ideas.
Taylor, born in Philadelphia, prepared for college at Philips Academy in Exeter, N.H., and was accepted at Harvard. His eyesight failed and he became an industrial apprentice in the depression of 1873. At Exeter he was influenced by the classification system invented by Melvil Dewey in 1872 (Dewey Decimal System). He became in 1878 a machine shop laborer at Midvale Steel Company. In the following book he describes some of his promotions to gang-boss, foreman, and finally, chief engineer. He introduced time-motion studies in 1881 (with ideas of Frank B. and Lillian M. Gilbreth, strong personalities immortalized in books by their dozen children, such as Cheaper By the Dozen.) In 1883 he earned a degree by night study from Stevens Institute of Technology (which now archives his papers and has announced plans to put them online See http://www.lib.stevens-tech.edu/ --special collections). He became general manager of Manufacturing Investment Company, 1890, and then a consulting engineer to management.
Taylor's ideas, clearly enunciated in his writings, were widely misinterpreted. Employers used time and motion studies simply to extract more work from employees at less pay. Unions condemned speedups and the lack of voice in their work that "Taylorism" gave them. Quality and productivity declined when his principles were simplistically instituted.
Modern management theorists, such as Edward Deming, often credit Taylor, however, with generating the principles upon which they act. Others, such as Juran,...
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