Scientific management is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows.
Its main objective is improving economic efficiency , especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. Scientific management is sometimes known as Taylorism after its founder, Frederick Winslow Taylor. Taylor began the theory's development in the United States during the s and '90s within manufacturing industries, especially steel.
Frederick Taylor Scientific Management
Its peak of influence came in the s;  Taylor died in and by the s, scientific management was still influential but had entered into competition and syncretism with opposing or complementary ideas. Although scientific management as a distinct theory or school of thought was obsolete by the s, most of its themes are still important parts of industrial engineering and management today.
These include: analysis; synthesis; logic ; rationality ; empiricism ; work ethic ; efficiency and elimination of waste ; standardization of best practices ; disdain for tradition preserved merely for its own sake or to protect the social status of particular workers with particular skill sets; the transformation of craft production into mass production ; and knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation.
Taylor's own names for his approach initially included "shop management" and " process management ". However, "scientific management" came to national attention in when crusading attorney Louis Brandeis then not yet Supreme Court justice popularized the term.
Gantt and Frank B. Taylor recognized the nationally known term "scientific management" as another good name for the concept, and adopted it in the title of his influential monograph.
The Midvale Steel Company , "one of America's great armor plate making plants," was the birthplace of scientific management. In , at age 22, Frederick W. Taylor started as a clerk in Midvale, but advanced to foreman in As foreman, Taylor was "constantly impressed by the failure of his [team members] to produce more than about one-third of [what he deemed] a good day's work.
Horace Bookwalter Drury , in his work, Scientific management: A History and Criticism , identified seven other leaders in the movement, most of whom learned of and extended scientific management from Taylor's efforts: .
Emerson's testimony in late to the Interstate Commerce Commission brought the movement to national attention  and instigated serious opposition.
By January , a leading railroad journal began a series of articles denying they were inefficiently managed. When steps were taken to introduce scientific management at the government-owned Rock Island Arsenal in early , it was opposed by Samuel Gompers , founder and President of the American Federation of Labor an alliance of craft unions.
When a subsequent attempt was made to introduce the bonus system into the government's Watertown Arsenal foundry during the summer of , the entire force walked out for a few days. Congressional investigations followed, resulting in a ban on the use of time studies and pay premiums in Government service.
Taylor's death in at age 59  left the movement without its original leader. In management literature today, the term "scientific management" mostly refers to the work of Taylor and his disciples "classical", implying "no longer current, but still respected for its seminal value" in contrast to newer, improved iterations of efficiency-seeking methods. Today, task-oriented optimization of work tasks is nearly ubiquitous in industry.
Flourishing in the late 19th and early 20th century, scientific management built on earlier pursuits of economic efficiency. While it was prefigured in the folk wisdom of thrift , it favored empirical methods to determine efficient procedures rather than perpetuating established traditions.
Frederick W. Taylor: Master of Scientific Management
Thus it was followed by a profusion of successors in applied science, including time and motion study , the Efficiency Movement which was a broader cultural echo of scientific management's impact on business managers specifically , Fordism , operations management , operations research , industrial engineering , management science , manufacturing engineering , logistics , business process management , business process reengineering , lean manufacturing , and Six Sigma.
There is a fluid continuum linking scientific management with the later fields, and the different approaches often display a high degree of compatibility. Taylor rejected the notion, which was universal in his day and still held today, that the trades, including manufacturing, were resistant to analysis and could only be performed by craft production methods.
In the course of his empirical studies, Taylor examined various kinds of manual labor. For example, most bulk materials handling was manual at the time; material handling equipment as we know it today was mostly not developed yet. He looked at shoveling in the unloading of railroad cars full of ore ; lifting and carrying in the moving of iron pigs at steel mills; the manual inspection of bearing balls ; and others. He discovered many concepts that were not widely accepted at the time.
For example, by observing workers, he decided that labor should include rest breaks so that the worker has time to recover from fatigue, either physical as in shoveling or lifting or mental as in the ball inspection case.
Workers were allowed to take more rests during work, and productivity increased as a result. Subsequent forms of scientific management were articulated by Taylor's disciples, such as Henry Gantt ; other engineers and managers, such as Benjamin S. Graham ; and other theorists, such as Max Weber. Taylor's work also contrasts with other efforts, including those of Henri Fayol and those of Frank Gilbreth, Sr.
Frederick Winslow Taylor
Scientific management requires a high level of managerial control over employee work practices and entails a higher ratio of managerial workers to laborers than previous management methods. Taylor observed that some workers were more talented than others, and that even smart ones were often unmotivated.
He observed that most workers who are forced to perform repetitive tasks tend to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished. This slow rate of work has been observed in many industries and many countries  and has been called by various terms.
This reflects the idea that workers have a vested interest in their own well-being, and do not benefit from working above the defined rate of work when it will not increase their remuneration. He therefore proposed that the work practice that had been developed in most work environments was crafted, intentionally or unintentionally, to be very inefficient in its execution.
He posited that time and motion studies combined with rational analysis and synthesis could uncover one best method for performing any particular task, and that prevailing methods were seldom equal to these best methods.
Crucially, Taylor himself prominently acknowledged that if each employee's compensation was linked to their output, their productivity would go up. In contrast, some later adopters of time and motion studies ignored this aspect and tried to get large productivity gains while passing little or no compensation gains to the workforce, which contributed to resentment against the system.
Taylorism led to productivity increases,  meaning fewer workers or working hours were needed to produce the same amount of goods.
Life and career
In the short term, productivity increases like those achieved by Taylor's efficiency techniques can cause considerable disruption. Labor relations often become contentious over whether the financial benefits will accrue to owners in the form of increased profits, or workers in the form of increased wages. As a result of decomposition and documentation of manufacturing processes, companies employing Taylor's methods might be able to hire lower-skill workers, enlarging the pool of workers and thus lowering wages and job security.
In the long term, mainstream economists consider productivity increases as a benefit to the economy overall, and necessary to improve the standard of living for consumers in general.
By the time Taylor was doing his work, improvements in agricultural productivity had freed up a large portion of the workforce for the manufacturing sector, allowing those workers in turn to buy new types of consumer goods instead of working as subsistence farmers. In later years, increased manufacturing efficiency would free up large sections of the workforce for the service sector.
If captured as profits or wages, the money generated by more-productive companies would be spent on new goods and services; if free market competition forces prices down close to the cost of production, consumers effectively capture the benefits and have more money to spend on new goods and services. Either way, new companies and industries spring up to profit from increased demand, and due to freed-up labor are able to hire workers.
But the long-term benefits are no guarantee that individual displaced workers will be able to get new jobs that paid them as well or better as their old jobs, as this may require access to education or job training, or moving to different part of the country where new industries are growing.
Inability to obtain new employment due to mismatches like these is known as structural unemployment , and economists debate to what extent this is happening in the long term, if at all, as well as the impact on income inequality for those who do find jobs. Though not foreseen by early proponents of scientific management, detailed decomposition and documentation of an optimal production method also makes automation of the process easier, especially physical processes that would later use industrial control systems and numerical control.
Widespread economic globalization also creates opportunity for outsourced to lower-wage areas, with knowledge transfer made easier if an optimal method is already clearly documented. Especially when wages or wage differentials are high, automation and offshoring can result in significant productivity gains and similar questions of who benefits and whether or not technological unemployment is persistent. Because automation is often best suited to tasks that are repetitive and boring, and can also be used for tasks that are dirty, dangerous, and demeaning , proponents believe that in the long run it will free up human workers for more creative, safer, and more enjoyable work.
The early history of labor relations with scientific management in the U. From when the system was started until , a period of approximately thirty years, there was not a single strike under it, and this in spite of the fact that it was carried on primarily in the steel industry, which was subject to a great many disturbances. For instance, in the general strike in Philadelphia , one man only went out at the Tabor plant [managed by Taylor], while at the Baldwin Locomotive shops across the street two thousand struck.
Serious opposition may be said to have been begun in , immediately after certain testimony presented before the Interstate Commerce Commission [by Harrington Emerson] revealed to the country the strong movement setting towards scientific management. National labor leaders, wide-awake as to what might happen in the future, decided that the new movement was a menace to their organization, and at once inaugurated an attack In , organized labor erupted with strong opposition to scientific management,  including from Samuel Gompers , founder and president of the American Federation of Labor AFL.
Once the time-and-motion men had completed their studies of a particular task, the workers had very little opportunity for further thinking, experimenting, or suggestion-making.
Taylorism was criticized for turning the worker into an "automaton" or "machine",  making work monotonous and unfulfilling by doing one small and rigidly defined piece of work instead of using complex skills with the whole production process done by one person. The Watertown Arsenal in Massachusetts provides an example of the application and repeal of the Taylor system in the workplace, due to worker opposition.
In the early 20th century, neglect in the Watertown shops included overcrowding, dim lighting, lack of tools and equipment, and questionable management strategies in the eyes of the workers.
Frederick W. Taylor and Carl G. Barth visited Watertown in April and reported on their observations at the shops. Their conclusion was to apply the Taylor system of management to the shops to produce better results.
Efforts to install the Taylor system began in June Over the years of time study and trying to improve the efficiency of workers, criticisms began to evolve.
Workers complained of having to compete with one another, feeling strained and resentful, and feeling excessively tired after work. There is, however, no evidence that the times enforced were unreasonable. A committee of the U. House of Representatives investigated and reported in , concluding that scientific management did provide some useful techniques and offered valuable organizational suggestions, [ need quotation to verify ] but that it also gave production managers a dangerously [ how?
Taylor had a largely negative view of unions, and believed they only led to decreased productivity. It is often assumed that Fordism derives from Taylor's work. Taylor apparently made this assumption himself when visiting the Ford Motor Company 's Michigan plants not too long before he died, but it is likely that the methods at Ford were evolved independently, and that any influence from Taylor's work was indirect at best.
Sorensen , a principal of the company during its first four decades, disclaimed any connection at all. Henry Ford felt that he had succeeded in spite of , not because of , experts, who had tried to stop him in various ways disagreeing about price points, production methods, car features, business financing, and other issues.
Sorensen thus was dismissive of Taylor and lumped him into the category of useless experts. Flanders may have been exposed to the spirit of Taylorism elsewhere, and may have been influenced by it, but he did not cite it when developing his production technique.
Regardless, the Ford team apparently did independently invent modern mass production techniques in the period of , and they themselves were not aware of any borrowing from Taylorism. Perhaps it is only possible with hindsight to see the zeitgeist that indirectly connected the budding Fordism to the rest of the efficiency movement during the decade of Scientific management appealed to managers of planned economies because central economic planning relies on the idea that the expenses that go into economic production can be precisely predicted and can be optimized by design.
Fw taylor management theory pdf reader
By Vladimir Lenin wrote that the "most widely discussed topic today in Europe, and to some extent in Russia, is the 'system' of the American engineer, Frederick Taylor"; Lenin decried it as merely a "'scientific' system of sweating" more work from laborers. The Taylor system The Soviet Republic must at all costs adopt all that is valuable in the achievements of science and technology in this field. In the Soviet Union , Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda the movement for the scientific organization of labor.
It found support in both Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Gastev continued to promote this system of labor management until his arrest and execution in