Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Principles of Scientific Management Paperback – November 8, 2006
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I would, however, like to point out that the book is very readable, and that reading it gave me, for one, a much richer appreciation for the context in which Taylor was devising his theory, for the types of labor he was envisioning as applications. Most importantly, reading the original text surprised me with Taylor's thoughtfulness about his workers' well-being and how to convince them to accept Taylorist management. Taylor clearly had an intuitive grasp of worker psychology, which he did not formalize and which thus was not present in the brief summaries of Taylor I had learned.
So if you're one of the few people who is (a) interested in Taylor's work but (b) not sure it's worth the time to actually read Taylor, instead of simply relying on textbook summaries, I would like to urge you to pick it up. It's a quick read, and will add a great deal to the crude caricatures that I, at least, had learned.
Before reading the book, I had my opinion ready (which is not a good thing). The ideas must be stupid, I thought. However, when starting to read the book, I was taken by the situation described by Taylor and the thinking he had behind his theory. Much of it made sense, at the time and was not so stupid at all. I've thus read it in one sit (it's not very thick either). So what's it about?
Taylor's ideas were about studying the work and finding the best method for doing work and then training the workers in following this best method. Finding this best method is "the science" and management is very much responsible for finding and improving the work of the workers. So, this creates the separation of planning and execution, which is often mentioned when talking about Taylorism.
Why did he do this? Much of the reasoning, which is very visible in his dialog between worker and manager, is that workers are too stupid to improve their own work. They have no education and they wouln't be able to actually think about their work and improve it. This might have been a fact in his life. However, if this is still true today, personally I would doubt it.
Taylor considered workers stupid. He makes quotes like "A trained gorilla would probably be better in the job than these man" (not exact quote). These statements made me very uncomfortable and therefore I've long doubted about whether it should be a 3 or 4 star rating.
I've still decided on a 4 start rating. The book is a classic and very valid in his time. I recommend everybody to read it AND REALIZE THAT TODAYS WORLD IS NOT THE SAME. Thus take the good ideas (improving your work) but leave the ideas which were related to their time (strict separation planning and execution).
- Development of a science: The various ways of doing the task are analyzed and the best way is identified (note that further progress may be made due to new innovation);
- Selection and training of the work force: The most suitable people are hired and trained to perform according to the science;
- Constant help and feedback: The employees receive regular feedback on their work and help if they are falling behind;
- Deep management involvement in production: Management plans ahead to make sure that the tasks are performed in the best possible way.
The book also emphasizes the human aspect of management: change can only be done slowly and by convincing the employees of the benefits. This explains why it takes a long time to switch to scientific management. Employees need financial rewards for performing well and employees who create better practices should also be recognized and rewarded.
Most examples in the book are dated and not particularly relevant today. They still provide data to judge the improvements that scientific management may provide. The language is also dated and politically incorrect. However if you do not let this distract you, the core of the book remains relevant. Even for modern intellectual work, there are many lessons that can be learned from the book. For example, for software engineering (which I am familiar with):
- Make sure that you use the best practices ;
- Hire smart people and give them the right tools;
- Give feedback on performance and training when needed;
- Actively manage the project, especially the scope of the project when changes occur.
Although scientific management can be applied to turn employees into automata, there is something good about its emphasis on hard numbers and best practices.
I suggest that you read the book with an open mind and pick the core material that applies to your situation.
Most recent customer reviews
Its better to refer bible before you touch other materials for knowledge...sheer class