How do Taylor and Scientific Management fit into the American business system of 100 years ago?
American business environment of 100 years ago represents a period of transition in the organization of production pushed by increased competition, new technology, and growing consciousness of the potential of the factory. This situation was the inspiration of many people to find ways to improve organization and management to improve productivity.
Those years were characterized by inefficient Rule of Thumb, the methods were handed down from man to man by word of mouth, or have, in most cases, been unconsciously learned through personal observation. There was no standardization of tasks. Foremen were in charge of the powerful function of hiring and firing, function susceptible to nepotism, favoritism, and arbitrary. Prevails the idea that "Captains of industry are born, not made", so that management training was not common. Underworking or working slowly deliberately existed because workers soldiered on the job to protect themselves from pressure and rate cutting, another reason for underworking was the defective systems of management, and also time lost by machine operators in "nonproductive" works. There was no specialization in the tasks. There was not a centralized organization that controls the operations in the companies. Interest of company owners and employees were not aligned, which results in lack of productivity.
When talking about US business we also should talk about US culture, US Americans are very competitive. They have a highly individualistic orientation, learning from an early age that they must learn to make their own choices and solve their own problems. They value independence, self-sufficiency and self-reliance. When dealing with power, most U.S. Americans are equalitarian; they fundamentally believe that everyone is born with the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
Taylor tried to solve the business problems in his age...
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