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The Principles of Scientific Management

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1456315016
ISBN-10: 1456315013
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 1915), widely known as F. W. Taylor, 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.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 74 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456315013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456315016
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME 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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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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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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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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