Scientific Management in Its Essence - F.W. Taylor
Directors of the Company Have to Understand the Fundamental Principles of Scientific Management
The writer would again insist that in no case should the managers of an establishment, the work of which is elaborate, undertake to change from the old to the new type unless the directors of the company fully understand and believe in the fundamental principles of scientific management and unless they appreciate all that is involved in making this change, particularly the time required, and unless they want scientific management greatly.
Distribution of Productivity Gain between Shareholders, Employees and Consumers
Doubtless some of those who are especially interested in working men will complain because under scientific management the workman, when he is shown how to do twice as much work as he formerly did, is not paid twice his former wages, while others who are more interested in the dividends than the workmen will complain that under this system the men receive much higher wages than they did before.
It does seem grossly unjust when the bare statement is made that the competent pig-iron handler, for instance, who has been so trained that he piles 3 6/10 times as much iron as the incompetent man formerly did, should receive an increase of only 60 per cent in wages.
It is not fair, however, to form any final judgment until all of the elements in the case have been considered. At the first glance we see only two parties to the transaction, the workmen and their employers. We overlook the third great party, the whole people,--the consumers, who buy the product of the first two and who ultimately pay both the wages of the workmen and the profits of the employers.
The rights of the people are therefore greater than those of either employer or employee. And this third great party should be given its proper share of any gain. In fact, a glance at industrial history shows that in the end the whole people receive the greater part of the benefit coming from industrial improvements. In the past hundred years, for example, the greatest factor tending toward increasing the output, and thereby the prosperity of the civilized world, has been the introduction of machinery to replace hand labor. And without doubt the greatest gain through this change has come to the whole people--the consumer.
Through short periods, especially in the case of patented apparatus, the dividends of those who have introduced new machinery have been greatly increased, and in many cases, though unfortunately not universally, the employees have obtained materially higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions. But in the end the major part of the gain has gone to the whole people.
And this result will follow the introduction of scientific management just as surely as it has the introduction of machinery.
To return to the case of the pig-iron handler. We must assume, then, that the larger part of the gain which has come from his great increase in output will in the end go to the people in the form of cheaper pig-iron. And before deciding upon how the balance is to be divided between the workmen and the employer, as to what is just and fair compensation for the man who does the piling and what should be left for the company as profit, we must look at the matter from all sides.
First. As we have before stated, the pig-iron handler is not an extraordinary man difficult to find, he is merely a man more or less of the type of the ox, heavy both mentally and physically.
Second. The work which this man does tires him no more than any healthy normal laborer is tired by a proper day's work. (If this man is overtired by his work, then the task has been wrongly set and this is as far as possible from the object of scientific management.)
Third. It was not due to this man's initiative or originality that he did his big day's work, but to the knowledge of the science of pig-iron handling developed and taught him by some one else.
Fourth. It is just and fair that men of the same general grade (when their all-round capacities are considered) should be paid about the same wages when they are all working to the best of their abilities. (It would be grossly unjust to other laborers, for instance, to pay this man 3 6/10 as high wages as other men of his general grade receive for an honest full day's work.)
Fifth. As is explained (page 74), the 60 per cent increase in pay which he received was not the result of an arbitrary judgment of a foreman or superintendent, it was the result of a long series of careful experiments impartially made to determine what compensation is really for the man's true and best interest when all things are considered.
Thus we see that the pig-iron handler with his 60 per cent increase in wages is not an object for pity but rather a subject for congratulation.
After all, however, facts are in many cases more convincing than opinions or theories, and it is a significant fact that those workmen who have come under this system during the past thirty years have invariably been satisfied with the increase in pay, which they have received, while their employers have been equally pleased with their increase in dividends.
The writer is one of those who believes that more and more will the third party (the whole people), as it becomes acquainted with the true facts, insist that justice shall be done to all three parties. It will
demand the largest efficiency from both employers and employees. It will no longer tolerate the type of employer who has his eye on dividends alone, who refuses to do his full share of the work and who merely cracks his whip over the heads of his workmen and attempts to drive them into harder work for low pay. No more will it tolerate tyranny on the part of labor which demands one increase after another in pay and shorter hours while at the same time it becomes less instead of more efficient.
And the means which the writer firmly believes will be adopted to bring about, first, efficiency both in employer and employs and then an equitable division of the profits of their joint efforts will be scientific management, which has for its sole aim the attainment of justice for all three parties through impartial scientific investigation of all the elements of the problem. For a time both sides will rebel against this advance. The workers will resent any interference with their old rule-of-thumb methods, and the management will resent being asked to take on new duties and burdens; but in the end the people through enlightened public opinion will force the new order of things upon both employer and employee.
It will doubtless be claimed that in all that has been said no new fact has been brought to light that was not known to some one in the past. Very likely this is true. Scientific management does not necessarily involve any great invention, nor the discovery of new or startling facts. It does, however, involve a certain combination of elements which have not existed in the past, namely, old knowledge so collected, analyzed, grouped, and classified into laws and rules that it constitutes a science; accompanied by a complete change in the mental attitude of the working men as well as of those on the side of the management, toward each other, and toward their respective duties and responsibilities. Also, a new division of the duties between the two sides and intimate, friendly cooperation to an extent that is impossible under the philosophy of the old management. And even all of this in many cases could not exist without the help of mechanisms which have been gradually developed.
F.W. Taylor, Scientific Management
F.W. Taylor Scientific Management - With Appropriate Sections
Role of Top Management in Implementing Scientific Management
Updated 9 July 2016, 15 August 2015, 4 August 2013