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Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor

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Published by: arkirthi1175 on Sep 29, 2009
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Frederick Winslow Taylor
(20 March 1856–21 March 1915), widely known as
F. W. Taylor
,was anAmerican mechanical engineer who sought to improveindustrial efficiency. He is regarded as the father of  scientific management, and was one of the firstmanagement consultants.
Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movementand his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in theProgressive Era.
Taylor was born in 1856 to a wealthyQuaker family in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taylor's ancestor, Samuel Taylor, settled in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1677. Taylor's father, Franklin Taylor, aPrincetoneducated lawyer, built his wealth on mortgages.
Taylor's mother, Emily Annette Taylor (née Winslow) was an ardentabolitionistand a coworker withLucretia Mott. Educated early by his mother, Taylor studied for two years in France andGermany and traveled Europe for eighteen months.
In 1872, he enteredPhillips Exeter AcademyinExeter, New Hampshire. Upon graduation, Taylor was accepted atHarvard Law. However, due to rapidly deterioratingeyesight, Taylor had to consider an alternative career. After the depression of 1873, Taylor   became an industrial apprentice patternmaker, gaining shop-floor experience at a pump-manufacturing company Enterprise Hydraulic Works, Philadelphia. Taylor's career progressed in1878 when he became a machine shop laborer atMidvale Steel Works.Taylor was promoted to gang-boss, foreman, research director, and finally, chief engineer at Midvale. Taylor took nightstudy atStevens Institute of Technologyand in 1883 obtained a degree in MechanicalEngineering through a highly unusual, for the time, series of correspondence courses.
While atStevens Institute of Technology, Taylor was a Brother of the Gamma Chapter of Theta Xi. OnMay 3, 1884, he married Louise M. Spooner of Philadelphia.From 1890 until 1893 Taylor worked as a general manager and a consulting engineer tomanagement for Manufacturing Investment Company, Philadelphia, a company that operatedlarge paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin. In 1893, Taylor opened an independent consulting practice in Philadelphia. His business card read "Systematizing Shop Management andManufacturing Costs a Specialty". In 1898, Taylor joinedBethlehem Steel, where he, MaunselWhite, and a team of assistants developedhigh speed steel. For his process of treating high speedtool steels he received a personal gold medal at the Paris exposition in 1900, and was awardedtheElliott Cresson Medalthat same year by theFranklin Institute, Philadelphia. Taylor was forced to leave Bethlehem Steel in 1901 after antagonisms with other managers. In 1901,Frederick and Louise Taylor adopted three orphans Kempton, Robert and Elizabeth.On October 19, 1906, Taylor was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Scienceby theUniversity of Pennsylvania.
Taylor eventually became a professor at theTuck School of BusinessatDartmouth College.
Late winter of 1915 Taylor caught pneumonia and one dayafter his fifty-ninth birthday, on March 21, he died. He was buried inWest Laurel Hill Cemetery,inBala Cynwyd , Pennsylvania.
Taylor was a mechanical engineer who sought to improveindustrial efficiency.Taylor is regarded as the father of  scientific management, and was one of the firstmanagement consultants  and director of a famous firm. InPeter Drucker 's description,
Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematicobservation 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 countrieswell 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 beenadded to them since - even though he has been dead all of sixty years.
Taylor was also an accomplishedtennis player , who won the first doubles tournament in the1881 U.S. National Championships,the precursor of theU.S. Open,withClarence Clark .
[edit] Scientific management
Taylor believed that the industrial management of his day was amateurish, that managementcould be formulated as an academic discipline, and that the best results would come from the partnership between a trained and qualified management and a cooperative and innovativeworkforce. Each side needed the other, and there was no need for  trade unions. FutureU.S. Supreme CourtjusticeLouis Brandeiscoined the term
 scientific management 
in thecourse of his argument for theEastern Rate Casebefore theInterstate Commerce Commissionin 1910. Brandeis debated that railroads, when governed according to the principles of Taylor, didnot need to raise rates to increase wages. Taylor used Brandeis's term in the title of hismonograph
published in 1911. The Eastern Rate Case propelled Taylor's ideas to the forefront of the management agenda. Taylor wrote to Brandeis "Ihave rarely seen a new movement started with such great momentum as you have given thisone." Taylor's approach is also often referred to, as
Taylor's Principles
, or frequentlydisparagingly, as
. Taylor's scientific management consisted of four principles:
1.Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientificstudy of the tasks.2.Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passivelyleaving them to train themselves.3.Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in theperformance of that worker's discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).4.Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that themanagers apply scientific management principles to planning the work andthe workers actually perform the tasks.
[edit] Managers and workers
Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system:
It is only through
standardization of methods,
adoption of the best implements andworking conditions, and
cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with
Workers were supposed to be incapable of understanding what they were doing. According toTaylor this was true even for rather simple tasks.
'I can say, without the slightest hesitation,' Taylor told a congressional committee, 'that the science of handling pig-ironis so great that the man who is ... physically able to handle pig-iron and is sufficiently phlegmatic and stupid to choose this for his occupation is rarely able to comprehend the science of handling pig-iron.
The introduction of his system was often resented by workers and provoked numerous strikes.The strike atWatertown Arsenalled to the congressional investigation in 1912. Taylor believedthe labourer was worthy of his hire, and pay was linked to productivity. His workers were able toearn substantially more than those in similar industries and this earned him enemies among theowners of factories where scientific management was not in use.
[edit] Propaganda techniques
Taylor promised to reconcile labor and capital.
With the triumph of scientific management, unions would have nothing left to do, and they would have been cleansed of their most evil feature: the restriction of output. To underscore this idea, Taylor fashioned the myth that 'there has never been a strike of men working under scientific management',trying to give it credibility by constant repetition. In similar fashion he incessantly linked his proposals toshorter hours of work, without bothering to produce evidence of "Taylorized" firms that reduced workinghours, and he revised his famous tale of Schmidt carrying pig iron at Bethlehem Steel at least three times,obscuring some aspects of his study and stressing others, so that each successive version made Schmidt'sexertions more impressive, more voluntary and more rewarding to him than the last. Unlike[Harrington]Emerson, Taylor was not a charlatan, but his ideological message required the suppression of all evidenceof worker's dissent, of coercion, or of any human motives or aspirations other than those his vision of  progress could encompass.
[edit] Management theory
Taylor thought that by analyzing work, the "One Best Way" to do it would be found. He is mostremembered for developing thetime and motion study. He would break a job into its component parts and measure each to the hundredth of a minute. One of his most famous studies involvedshovels. He noticed that workers used the same shovel for all materials. He determined that themost effective load was 21½ lb, and found or designed shovels that for each material wouldscoop up that amount. He was generally unsuccessful in getting his concepts applied and wasdismissed fromBethlehem Steel. It was largely through the efforts of his disciples (most notablyH.L. Gantt
) that industry came to implement his ideas. Nevertheless, the book he wrote after  parting company withBethlehem Steel, 
Shop Management 
, sold well.
[edit] Relations with ASME
Taylor was presidentof theAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME) from 1906 to 1907. While president, he tried to implement his system into the management of the ASME butwas met with much resistance. He was only able to reorganize the publications department andthen only partially. He also forced out the ASME's long-time secretary,Morris L. Cooke, andreplaced him withCalvin W. Rice. His tenure as president was trouble-ridden and marked the beginning of a period of internal dissension within the ASME during the Progressive Age.
In 1912, Taylor collected a number of his articles into a book-length manuscript which hesubmitted to the ASME for publication. The ASME formed an ad hoc committee to review thetext. The committee included Taylor allies such asJames Mapes Dodgeand Henry R. Towne. The committee delegated the report to the editor of the
 American Machinist 
,Leon P. Alford.  Alford was a critic of the Taylor system and the report was negative. The committee modifiedthe report slightly, but accepted Alford's recommendation not to publish Taylor's book. Taylor angrily withdrew the book and published
without ASME approval.

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