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Management Hall of Fame
Most Respected Management Gurus

Frederick Taylor (Frederick Winslow Taylor)
Father of Scientific Management (1856 -1915)

  • "In the past the man was first. In the future the system will be first." (Fredrick Winslow Taylor)

Key Work

From unskilled job at the Midvale Steel Works, to general manager of Manufacturing Investment Company (MIC), he built his knowledge and his theory " The Principles of Scientific Management"

Scientific management differed from traditional "initiative and incentive" methods of management, where the whole problem is 'up to the workman'; while under the scientific management, fully one-half of the problem (planning & supervision) is 'up to the management'… 

The four overriding principles of scientific management are as follows:

  1. Each part of an individual's work must be analyzed "scientifically," and the most efficient methodology for undertaking the job is devised and the maximum amount of "first-class" production is measure in a day. Workers are then expected to do this much work every day.
  2. Everyone, has the ability to be "first class" at some job.  It is management's role to find out which job suits each employee and train them until they are first class.
  3. Managers must cooperate with workers to ensure the job is done in the scientific way and according to the "first-class".
  4. Managers tole planning and supervision of the work, and workers carry it out.

In Taylor's view, it was pointless to involve the shop floor workers in end-of-year profit sharing schemes. Taylor proposed a form of improvement feedback incentive for workers by giving them full credit for the improvement, and be paid a cash premium as a reward.

His work is seen by many as inhumane, however many consider his scientific management had a major impact on quality standards. the procedural documentation used in the ISO 9000 series of quality standards is very close to scientific management.

Books & References:

  • The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: W.W. Norton, 1967.
  • Fredrick Taylor: Frederick Taylor. A Study in Personality and Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1970.
  • Nelson, D. Fredrick W. Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1980.

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