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[Part-1] Scientific Management: Frederick Taylor


Taylor

Frederick W. Taylor, in full Frederick Winslow Taylor (born March 20, 1856, Philadelphia, U.S.—died March 21, 1915, Philadelphia), American inventor and engineer who is known as the father of scientific management. His system of industrial management has influenced the development of virtually every country enjoying the benefits of modern industry.

In 1881, at 25, he introduced time study at the Midvale plant. The profession of time study was founded on the success of this project, which also formed the basis of Taylor’s subsequent theories of management science. Essentially, Taylor suggested that production efficiency in a shop or factory could be greatly enhanced by close observation of the individual worker and elimination of waste time and motion in his operation. Though the Taylor system provoked resentment and opposition from labour when carried to extremes, its value in rationalizing production was indisputable and its impact on the development of mass-production techniques immense.

Taylor retired at age 45 but continued to devote time and money to promote the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies. From 1904 to 1914, with his wife and three adopted children, Taylor lived in Philadelphia. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers elected him president in 1906, the same year that he was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the University of Pennsylvania. Many of his influential publications first appeared in the Transactions of that society, namely, “Notes on Belting” (1894); “A Piece-rate System” (1895); “Shop Management” (1903); and “On the Art of Cutting Metals” (1906). The Principles of Scientific Management was published commercially in 1911.

Taylor was a mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. Taylor is regarded as the father of scientific management, and was one of the first management consultants and director of a famous firm. In Peter Drucker’s description,Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in the developed countries well above any level recorded before, even for the well-to-do. Taylor, though the Isaac Newton (or perhaps the Archimedes) of the science of work, laid only first foundations, however. Not much has been added to them since – even though he has been dead all of sixty years.

Taylor’s scientific management consisted of four principles

  • Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
  • Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.
  • Provide “Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker’s discrete task”
  • Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks.

Courtesy: Shahid Sarwar

Team Aspirant Forum

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