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management created and promoted by Frederick W. Taylor (1856\u2013 1915) and his followers. Though Taylor had used the term informally to describe his contributions to factory or "shop" management, Morris L. Cooke, a friend and professional associate, and Louis Brandeis, a prominent attorney, deliberately chose the adjective "scientific" to promote their contention that Taylor's methods were an alternative to railroad price increases in a rate case they were preparing for the Interstate Commerce Commission. The term also came to mean any system of organization that clearly spelled out the functions of individuals and groups. With even less fidelity to the original meaning, it has been used to describe any situation where jobs are subdivided and individuals perform repetitive tasks.
Early attempts to study behaviour in organizations came from a desire by industrial efficiency experts to answer this question: What can be done to get workers to do more work in less time? It is not surprising that attempts to answer this question were made at the beginning of the twentieth century, since this was a period of rapid industrialization and technological change in the United States. As engineers attempted to make machines more efficient, it was natural to focus efforts on the human side\u2014making people more productive, too.
The nineteenth-century factory system was characterized by ad hoc organization, decentralized management, informal relations between employers and employees, and casually defined jobs and job assignments. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, increased competition, novel technologies, pressures from government and labour, and a growing consciousness of the potential of the factory had inspired a wide-ranging effort to improve organization and management. The focus of this activity was the introduction of carefully defined procedures and tasks. Historians have labelled these innovations "systematic management."
The central figure in this movement was the American engineer, inventor, and management theorist Frederick W. Taylor. Born in 1856 to an aristocratic Philadelphia family, Taylor started his career in the machine shop of the Midvale Steel Company in 1878, rose rapidly, and began to introduce novel methods. In the next decade he devised numerous organizational and technical innovations, including a method of timing workers with a stopwatch to calculate optimum times. After a brief career as the manager of a paper company, Taylor became a self-employed consultant, devoted to improving plant management.
During these years Taylor, an 1883 engineering graduate of the Stevens Institute of Technology, also became a major figure in the engineering profession, whose adherents sought an identity based on rigorous formal education, mutually accepted standards of behaviour, and social responsibility. In factories, mines, and railroad yards, engineers rejected the experiential knowledge of the practitioner for scientific experimentation and analysis. They became the principal proponents of systematic management.
In the 1890s, Taylor became the most ambitious and vigorous proponent of systematic management. As a consultant he introduced accounting systems that permitted managers to use operating records with greater effectiveness, production systems that allowed managers to know more precisely what was happening on the shop floor, time studies to determine what workers were able to do, piece-rate systems to encourage employees to follow instructions, and many related measures. Between 1898 and 1901, as a consultant to the Bethlehem Iron Company (later Bethlehem Steel), Taylor introduced all of his systems and engaged in a vigorous plan of engineering re-search. This experience was the capstone of his creative career. Two developments were of special importance. His discovery of "high-speed steel," which improved the performance of metal cutting tools, assured his fame as an inventor, and his efforts to introduce systematic methods led to an integrated view of managerial innovation. By 1901, Taylor had fashioned scientific management from systematic management.
As the events of Taylor's career indicate, systematic management and scientific management were intimately related. They had common roots, attracted the same kinds of people, and had the same objectives. Their differences also stand out. Systematic management was diffuse and utilitarian, a number of isolated measures that did not add up to a larger whole. Scientific Bethlehem, Taylor resolved to devote his time and ample fortune to promoting both. His first extensive report on his work, "Shop Management," published in 1903 in the journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, portrayed an integrated complex of systematic ma Scientific management, also calledTaylorism or theClassical
In management literature today, the greatest use of the concept of Taylorism is as a contrast to a new, improved way of doing business. In political and sociological terms, Taylorism can be seen as the division of labour pushed to its logical extreme, with a consequent de-skilling of the worker and dehumanisation of the workplace.
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