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The Principles of Scientific Management
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We need to transport our minds to the early 1910's decade. I was specially interested on the methods behind the process of principles finding. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Celso Martins
Worth reading if you're a student of history, but not really otherwise. By studying labour intensive, repetitive, activities in detail, for example loading iron from steel mills... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Evan Leybourn - Author of Directing the Agile Organisation
Taylor's insight of the scientific management is very insightful for researchers and scholars alikePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good read for those who like going to the sources. It's obviously out of datePublished 14 months ago by Nicolas