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here's an online version of "The Principles of Scientific Management" (1911) by FrederickWinslowTaylor
seems like he is a good guy, in contrast to what i have heard. as usual, i suppose his ideas, while good for their time, eventually were taken to the extreme (whether by him or others i don't know) and became more of a hinderance than a help.
Are you joking?? "Seems like he is a good guy"?? You heard right the first time! Even Adam Smith a long time ago knew that Taylorism was bad news.
(Adam Smith was alive over 130 years before Taylor. I doubt he had any opinion of him - or his methods.)
disclaimer: i have never studied the man and know only what i read about him on the Wikis, the above document, and one other web page. what did Adam Smith think of him? here's some of the passages from the above link that lead me to say he seems like a good guy:
- the search for better, for more competent men, from the presidents of our great companies down to our household servants, was never more vigorous than it is now. And more than ever before is the demand for competent men in excess of the supply.
- What we are all looking for, however, is the ready-made, competent man; the man whom some one else has trained. It is only when we fully realize that our duty, as well as our opportunity, lies in systematically cooperating to train and to make this competent man, instead of in hunting for a man whom some one else has trained, that we shall be on the road to national efficiency.
- THE principal object of management should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee.
- The words "maximum prosperity" are used, in their broad sense, to mean not only large dividends for the company or owner, but the development of every branch of the business to its highest state of excellence, so that the prosperity may be permanent.
- In the same way maximum prosperity for each employee means not only higher wages than are usually received by men of his class, but, of more importance still, it also means the development of each man to his state of maximum efficiency, so that he may be able to do, generally speaking, the highest grade of work for which his natural abilities fit him, and it further means giving him, when possible, this class of work to do.
- It would seem to be so self-evident that maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with maximum prosperity for the employee, ought to be the two leading objects of management, that even to state this fact should be unnecessary. And yet there is no question that, throughout the industrial world, a large part of the organization of employers, as well as employees, is for war rather than for peace, and that perhaps the majority on either side do not believe that it is possible so to arrange their mutual relations that their interests become identical.
- The majority of these men believe that the fundamental interests of employees and employers are necessarily antagonistic Scientific management, on the contrary, has for its very foundation the firm conviction that the true interests of the two are one and the same; that prosperity for the employer cannot exist through a long term of years unless it is accompanied by prosperity for the employee, and vice versa; and that it is possible to give the workman what he most wants high wages and the employer what he wants a low labor cost -- for his manufactures.
- It is hoped that some at least of those who do not sympathize with each of these objects may be led to modify their views; that some employers, whose attitude toward their workmen has been that of trying to get the largest amount of work out of them for the smallest possible wages, may be led to see that a more liberal policy toward their men will pay them better; and that some of those workmen who begrudge a fair and even a large profit to their employers, and who feel that all of the fruits of their labor should belong to them, and that those for whom they work and the capital invested in the business are entitled to little or nothing, may be led to modify these views.
- No one can be found who will deny that in the case of any single individual the greatest prosperity can exist only when that individual has reached his highest state of efficiency; that is, when he is turning out his largest daily output.
- When the same workman returns to work on the following day, instead of using every effort to turn out the largest possible amount of work, in a majority of the cases this man deliberately plans to do as little as he safely can -- to turn out far less work than he is well able to do -- in many instances to do not more than one-third to one-half of a proper day's work. And in fact if he were to do his best to turn out his largest possible day's work, he would be abused by his fellow-workers for so doing, even more than if he had proved himself a "quitter" in sport. Under working, that is, deliberately working slowly so as to avoid doing a full day's work, "soldiering," as it is called in this country,
- ''It will be shown later in this paper that doing away with slow working and "soldiering" in all its forms and so arranging the relations between employer and employee that each workman will work to his very best advantage and at his best speed, accompanied by the intimate cooperation with the management and the help (which the workman should receive) from the management, would result on the average in nearly doubling the output of each man and each machine. What other reforms, among those which are being discussed by these two nations, could do as much toward promoting prosperity, toward the diminution of poverty, and the alleviation of suffering? America and England have been recently agitated over such subjects as the tariff, the control of the large corporations on the one hand, and of hereditary power on the other hand, and over various more or less socialistic proposals for taxation, etc. On these subjects both peoples have been profoundly stirred, and yet hardly a voice has been raised to call
attention to this vastly greater and more important subject of "soldiering," which directly and powerfully affects the wages, the prosperity, and the life of almost every working-man, and also quite as much the prosperity of every industrial establishment in the nation. ''
- The elimination of "soldiering" and of the several causes of slow working would so lower the cost of production that both our home and foreign markets would be greatly enlarged, and we could compete on more than e en terms with our rivals. It would remove one of the fundamental causes for dull times, for lack of employment, and for poverty, and therefore would have a more permanent and far-reaching effect upon these misfortunes than any of the curative remedies that are now being used to soften their consequences. It would insure higher wages and make shorter working hours and better working and home conditions possible.
- First. The fallacy, which has from time immemorial been almost universal among workmen, that a material increase in the output of each man or each machine in the trade would result in the end in throwing a large number of men out of work.
- Second. The defective systems of management which are in common use, and which make it necessary for each workman to soldier, or work slowly, in order that he may protect his own best interests.
- Third. The inefficient rule-of-thumb methods, which are still almost universal in all trades and in practising which our workmen waste a large part of their effort.
so it seems that Taylor saw a system in which the employer and the employee considered themselves opposed, with the employer wanting to get the maximum amount of work out of each employee while minimizing the amount of pay and training given, while the employees felt it was in their best interest to minimize the amount of work done, both because they felt that to increase productivity would lead to layoffs, and because under the current "defective systems of management", hard work would not lead to increased pay, but merely to harder work in the future. I surmise that he wanted to encourage management structures that led to more cooperation between employer and employee, in which it was in both parties' interest to help the other (i.e. the employer recognized that it was to his benefit to train the employee and to enourage loyalty and hard work by rewarding the employees for increased productivity; the employee would in a position where he would be rewarded from working hard rather than be punished). he
hoped that by creating such a cooperative structure the economy would be greatly aided and everyone would benefit.
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