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The Principles of Scientific Management Paperback – July 8, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486299880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486299884
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He is regarded as the father of scientific management and was one of the first management consultants. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era. Taylor was a mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. Taylor is regarded as the father of scientific management, and was one of the first management consultants and director of a famous firm. Taylor was also an accomplished tennis player. He and Clarence Clark won the first doubles tournament in the 1881 U.S. National Championships, the precursor of the U.S. Open. Future U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis coined the term scientific management in the course of his argument for the Eastern Rate Case before the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1910. Brandeis debated that railroads, when governed according to the principles of Taylor, did not need to raise rates to increase wages. Taylor used Brandeis's term in the title of his monograph The Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911. The Eastern Rate Case propelled Taylor's ideas to the forefront of the management agenda. Taylor wrote to Brandeis "I have rarely seen a new movement started with such great momentum as you have given this one." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book should be required reading for all managers and workers.
Bill Baehr
It's a quick read, and will add a great deal to the crude caricatures that I, at least, had learned.
Stephen Weinberg
Having now read the book, I am pleased at what a thoughtful and inciteful piece it really is.
David B McDonald

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Let me caution you before commenting on this book. Most people who refer to Taylor and Scientific Management have not read Taylor, but about Taylor in secondary sources. So, forget what you have heard about Taylor. Keep an open mind.
Prior to Taylor, management tried to create output by providing incentives to workers. But pressure from peers kept workers from doing more work. Everyone agreed that this would lead to fewer jobs.
The virtuous cycle of higher performance, lower prices, more sales, and higher pay for workers and shareholders was not yet uncovered.
Taylor sees the results of the higher productivity mostly being of help to consumers, with the remainder of the benefit split between shareholders and workers. In that he was prescient. Advanced thinkers today are rediscovering this old truth, first elaborated by Taylor.
What I found to be delightful in the book was the emphasis on trying to approach the ideal practice, rather than being satisfied with the best of today.
Here are the key principles for your reference:
(1) develop a science for each element of a task to determine the most productive way to do that task (quality and quantity considered in terms of total costs)
(2) scientifically select and train those who can do the task the most effectively in what needs to be done, and provide all of the help they need
(3) create an environment where the person doing the task can be productive (this often involves systems limitations, like input from others)
(4) management has a role in designing the work, selecting workers who are ideal for the work, and helping the work be learned properly. There is an equal division between the worker and management in creating the right result.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Kroese on March 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Frederick Winslow Taylor comes straight to the point when he explains the reason for writing the book: First, "to point out the great loss which the whole country is suffering through inefficiency in almost all of our daily acts". Second, "to try to convince the reader that the remedy for this inefficiency lies in systematic management, rather than in searching for some unusual or extraordinary man". Third, "to prove that the best management is a true science, resting upon clearly defined laws, rules, and principles, as a foundation".
However, this starting point does not set the tone for the rest of the book. Taylor and his Taylorism/task management is more human than most people will tell you. This can be seen from the first page of the first chapter, where Taylor explains the principal of object of management, which "should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee".
Initially, Taylor starts with a short introduction and reasons of "soldiering" which he refers to as "deliberately working slowly as as to avoid doing a full day's work". Taylor then turns to his now-famous Scientific Management. The four elements which constitute the essence of scientific management are: First, the development of standardization of methods. Second, the careful selection and training of personnel. Third, extensive supervision by management and payment of bonuses. Fourth, an equal division of the work and responsibility between the workman and the management. Taylor uses some somewhat old-fashioned examples to explain task-management, such as pig-iron handling, bricklaying, and inspection of bicycle balls.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Herman Jackson on June 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Taylor's ideas are commonly viewed as being antiquated because of the time and circumstances under which he worked. Not so! If you think TQM (including Deming, Juran, Shewart, and Taguchi) and Collaborative Management are the answer, you'll find the roots of of these and more in Taylor. It is true that Taylor applied his efforts mainly to work consisting of brute force - but that was the workplace world which existed then.
Before reading Taylor, you should first get up to speed on modern management/leadership concepts. Then, travel back to a time before machines replaced human labor. (If you are my age it should be easy!) Now read Taylor and use just a bit of imagination to visualize what he would be doing today. Then, and only then, can you begin to understand and appreciate what this man and a few other pioneers like him did.
Would his mindset change the way you do business? Then you'd better change because TQM and Collaborative Management are just Taylor on steroids. You can't understand management/leadership unless you understand Taylor. And you can't compete unless you understand both of these.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By econdude on August 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
F.W. Taylor is where the serious student of scientific management begins. I believe that it's one of the best books on the subject that I've ever read - and it was an academic paper presented by Taylor almost 100 years ago. It's funny at times (and probably not meant to be), written in the academic style of the early 20th century. His movements back and forth between the theory and real life examples prove that he was one of the better economists of his day.
Taylor had humble beginnings (he was a shop laborer early in his career), and later he switched to consulting for various types of manufacturers. Peter F. Drucker and other scientific management gurus owe Taylor a debt of gratitude, which I'm sure they would readily acknowledge. All of us owe a debt to him as well. How can a firm reach greater efficiencies? Taylor suggested that firms do it in ways that even today are resisted and misunderstood by management. Increase workers' pay. Give them mandatory breaks throughout the day. Timing rest breaks between heavy lifting optimizes productivity. Please don't ignore these examples in the information age - Taylor was ahead of his time and perhaps even ahead of ours. Today's intelligent manager can still discover many useful ideas in this book.
It's not a terribly long work, and it's fun to read. I'm surprised that I was able to earn a BSBA without being required to read it, or parts of it. It's invaluable for firms and workers in any country, developed or undeveloped, and the firms that dare to utilize the ideas will be quite happy with the result: increased productivity, and therefore, increased profits. econ
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