Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Scientific Management Summarized - F.W. Taylor

Continued from

It is no single element, but rather this whole combination, that constitutes scientific management, which may be summarized as:

  Science, not rule of thumb.
  Harmony, not discord.
  Cooperation, not individualism.
  Maximum output, in place of restricted output.
  The development of each man to his greatest efficiency and prosperity.

The writer wishes to again state that: "The time is fast going by for the great personal or individual achievement of any one man standing alone and without the help of those around him. And the time is coming when all great things will be done by that type of cooperation in which each man performs the function for which he is best suited, each man preserves his own individuality and is supreme in his particular function, and each man at the same time loses none of his originality and proper personal initiative, and yet is controlled by and must work harmoniously with many other men."

The examples given above of the increase in output realized under the new management fairly represent the gain which is possible. They do not represent extraordinary or exceptional cases, and have been selected from among thousands of similar illustrations which might have been given.

Let us now examine the good which would follow the general adoption of these principles.

The larger profit would come to the whole world in general.

The greatest material gain which those of the present generation have over past generations has come from the fact that the average man in this generation, with a given expenditure of effort, is producing two times, three times, even four times as much of those things that are of use to man as it was possible for the average man in the past to produce. This increase in the productivity of human effort is, of course, due to many causes, besides the increase in the personal dexterity of the man. It is due to the discovery of steam and electricity, to the introduction of machinery, to inventions, great and small, and to the progress in science and education. But from whatever cause this increase in productivity has come, it is to the greater productivity of each individual that the whole country owes its greater prosperity.

Those who are afraid that a large increase in the productivity of each workman will throw other men out of work, should realize that the one element more than any other which differentiates civilized from uncivilized countries--prosperous from poverty--stricken peoples--is that the average man in the one is five or six times as productive as the other. It is also a fact that the chief cause for the large percentage of the unemployed in England (perhaps the most virile nation in the world), is that the workmen of England, more than in any other civilized country, are deliberately restricting their output because they are possessed by the fallacy that it is against their best interest for each man to work as hard as he can.

The general adoption of scientific management would readily in the future double the productivity of the average man engaged in industrial work. Think of what this means to the whole country. Think of the increase, both in the necessities and luxuries of life, which becomes available for the whole country, of the possibility of shortening the hours of labor when this is desirable, and of the increased
opportunities for education, culture, and recreation which this implies. But while the whole world would profit by this increase in production, the manufacturer and the workman will be far more interested in the especial local gain that comes to them and to the people immediately around them. Scientific management will mean, for the employers and the workmen who adopt it--and particularly for those who adopt it first--the elimination of almost all causes for dispute and disagreement between them. What constitutes a fair day's work will be a question for scientific investigation, instead of a subject to be bargained and haggled over. Soldiering will cease because the object for soldiering will no longer exist. The great increase in wages which accompanies this type of management will largely eliminate the wage question as a source of dispute. But more than all other causes, the close, intimate cooperation, the constant personal contact between the two sides, will tend to diminish friction and discontent. It is difficult for two people whose interests are the same, and who work side by side in accomplishing the same object, all day long, to keep up a quarrel.

The low cost of production which accompanies a doubling of the output will enable the companies who adopt this management, particularly those who adopt it first, to compete far better than they were able to before, and this will so enlarge their markets that their men will have almost constant work even in dull times, and that they will earn larger profits at all times.

This means increase in prosperity and diminution in poverty, not only for their men but for the whole community immediately around them.

As one of the elements incident to this great gain in output, each workman has been systematically trained to his highest state of efficiency, and has been taught to do a higher class of work than he was
able to do under the old types of management; and at the same time he has acquired a friendly mental attitude toward his employers and his whole working conditions, whereas before a considerable part of his time was spent in criticism, suspicious watchfulness, and sometimes in open warfare. This direct gain to all of those working under the system is without doubt the most important single element in the whole problem.

Is not the realization of results such as these of far more importance than the solution of most of the problems which are now agitating both the English and American peoples? And is it not the duty of those who are acquainted with these facts, to exert themselves to make the whole community realize this importance?

F.W. Taylor, Scientific Management

End of Scientific Management by F.W. Taylor

All Chapters
F.W. Taylor Scientific Management - With Appropriate Sections

Updated 9 July 2016, 4 August 2013

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