Frederick W. Taylor: Master of Scientific Management
Frederick Winslow Taylor is a controversial figure in management history. His innovations in industrial engineering, particularly in time and motion studies, paid off in dramatic improvements in productivity. At the same time, he has been credited with destroying the soul of work, of dehumanizing factories, making men intoautomatons. What is Taylor's real legacy? I'm not sure that management historians will ever agree. But the following article is quite interesting, and Taylor's keystone book, The Principles of Scientific Management is now available from Engineering and Management Press, at phone numbers: +1.800.494.0460, or +1.770.449.0460.
What follows is a copy of part of a senior essay, written by Vincenzo Sandroneduring the course of his studies at the University of Technology in Sydney. We reprint it here with his permission. Copyright 1997.
Source for quotes is:
Taylor, Frederick W., 1964, Scientific Management - Comprising Shop Management, The principles of Scientific Management and Testimony before the Special House Committee, Harper and Row
Note: All the quotes are from 'Scientific Management'This needs to be highlighted, since the edition restarted page numbers for each separate section. That is, page numbers are not unique.
F. W. Taylor & Scientific Management by Vincenzo Sandrone
Under Taylor's management system, factories are managed through scientific methods rather than by use of the empirical "rule of thumb" so widely prevalent in the days of the late nineteenthcentury when F. W. Taylor devised his system and published "Scientific Management" in 1911.
The main elements of the Scientific Management are  : "Time studies Functional or specialized supervision Standardization of tools and implements Standardization of work methods Separate Planning function Management by exception principle The use of "slide-rules and similar time-saving devices"Instruction cards for workmen Task allocation and large bonus for successful performance The use of the 'differential rate' Mnemonic systems for classifying products and implements A routing system A modern costing system etc. etc. " Taylor called these elements "merely the elements or details of the mechanisms of management" He saw them as extensions of the four principles of management.
1. Thedevelopment of a true science
2. The scientific selection of the workman
3. The scientific education and development of the workman
4. Intimate and friendly cooperation between the management and the men.
Taylor warned  of the risks managers make in attempting to make change in what would presently be called, the culture, of the organization. He stated the importance of management commitmentand the need for gradual implementation and education. He described "the really great problem" involved in the change "consists of the complete revolution in the mental attitude and the habits of all those engaged in the management, as well of the workmen."  Taylor taught that there was one and only one method of work that maximized efficiency. "And this one best method and best implementationcan only be discovered or developed through scientific study and analysis... This involves the gradual substitution of science for 'rule of thumb' throughout the mechanical arts."  "Scientific management requires first, a careful investigation of each of the many modifications of the same implement, developed under rule of thumb; and second, after time and motion study has been made of the speedattainable with each of these implements, that the good points of several of them shall be unified in a single standard implementation, which will enable the workman to work faster and with greater easy than he could before. This one implement, then is the adopted as standard in place of the many different kinds before in use and it remains standard for all workmen to use until superseded by an...