|Frederick Winslow Taylor|
|Born||20 March 1856
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.
|Died||21 March 1915
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.
|Cause of death||pneumonia|
|Resting place||West Laurel Hill
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania U.S.
|Known for||"Father" of the
& Efficiency Movement
|Spouse(s)||Louise M. Spooner|
|Children||Kempton, Robert and Elizabeth (all adopted orphans)|
Emily Annette Winslow
Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856–March 21, 1915), widely known as F. W. Taylor, was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He is regarded as the father of scientific management, and was one of the first management consultants.
Taylor was born in 1856 to a wealthy Quaker family in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taylor's ancestor, Samuel Taylor, settled in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1677. Taylor's father, Franklin Taylor, a Princeton-educated lawyer, built his wealth on mortgages. Taylor's mother, Emily Annette Taylor (née Winslow), was an ardent abolitionist and a coworker with Lucretia Mott. Educated early by his mother, Taylor studied for two years in France and Germany and traveled Europe for 18 months. In 1872, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.
Upon graduation, Taylor was accepted at Harvard Law. However, due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight, Taylor had to consider an alternative career. After the depression of 1873, Taylor became an industrial apprentice patternmaker, gaining shop-floor experience at a pump-manufacturing company Enterprise Hydraulic Works, Philadelphia. Taylor's career progressed in 1878 when he became a machine shop laborer at Midvale Steel Works. Taylor was promoted to gang-boss, foreman, research director, and finally, chief engineer at Midvale. Taylor took night study at Stevens Institute of Technology and in 1883 obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering through a highly unusual, for the time, series of correspondence courses. While at Stevens Institute of Technology, Taylor was a Brother of the Gamma Chapter of Theta Xi. On May 3, 1884, he married Louise M. Spooner of Philadelphia.
From 1890 until 1893 Taylor worked as a general manager and a consulting engineer to management for Manufacturing Investment Company, Philadelphia, a company that operated large paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin. In 1893, Taylor opened an independent consulting practice in Philadelphia. His business card read "Systematizing Shop Management and Manufacturing Costs a Specialty". In 1898, Taylor joined Bethlehem Steel, where he, Maunsel White, and a team of assistants developed high speed steel. For his process of treating high speed tool steels he received a personal gold medal at the Paris exposition in 1900, and was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal that same year by the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Taylor was forced to leave Bethlehem Steel in 1901 after antagonisms with other managers. In 1901, Frederick and Louise Taylor adopted three orphans Kempton, Robert and Elizabeth.
On October 19, 1906, Taylor was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Pennsylvania. Taylor eventually became a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Late winter of 1915 Taylor caught pneumonia and one day after his fifty-ninth birthday, on March 21, he died. He was buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Taylor was a mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. Taylor is regarded as the father of scientific management, and was one of the first management consultants and director of a famous firm. In Peter Drucker's description,
Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor's 'scientific management' rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in the developed countries well above any level recorded before, even for the well-to-do. Taylor, though the Isaac Newton (or perhaps the Archimedes) of the science of work, laid only first foundations, however. Not much has been added to them since - even though he has been dead all of sixty years.
Taylor believed that the industrial management of his day was amateurish, that management could be formulated as an academic discipline, and that the best results would come from the partnership between a trained and qualified management and a cooperative and innovative workforce. Each side needed the other, and there was no need for trade unions.
Future U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis coined the term scientific management in the course of his argument for the Eastern Rate Case before the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1910. Brandeis debated that railroads, when governed according to the principles of Taylor, did not need to raise rates to increase wages. Taylor used Brandeis's term in the title of his monograph The Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911. The Eastern Rate Case propelled Taylor's ideas to the forefront of the management agenda. Taylor wrote to Brandeis "I have rarely seen a new movement started with such great momentum as you have given this one." Taylor's approach is also often referred to, as Taylor's Principles, or frequently disparagingly, as Taylorism. Taylor's scientific management consisted of four principles:
Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system:
It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone.
Workers were supposed to be incapable of understanding what they were doing. According to Taylor this was true even for rather simple tasks.
'I can say, without the slightest hesitation,' Taylor told a congressional committee, 'that the science of handling pig-iron is so great that the man who is ... physically able to handle pig-iron and is sufficiently phlegmatic and stupid to choose this for his occupation is rarely able to comprehend the science of handling pig-iron.
The introduction of his system was often resented by workers and provoked numerous strikes. The strike at Watertown Arsenal led to the congressional investigation in 1912. Taylor believed the labourer was worthy of his hire, and pay was linked to productivity. His workers were able to earn substantially more than those in similar industries and this earned him enemies among the owners of factories where scientific management was not in use.
Taylor promised to reconcile labor and capital.
With the triumph of scientific management, unions would have nothing left to do, and they would have been cleansed of their most evil feature: the restriction of output. To underscore this idea, Taylor fashioned the myth that 'there has never been a strike of men working under scientific management', trying to give it credibility by constant repetition. In similar fashion he incessantly linked his proposals to shorter hours of work, without bothering to produce evidence of "Taylorized" firms that reduced working hours, and he revised his famous tale of Schmidt carrying pig iron at Bethlehem Steel at least three times, obscuring some aspects of his study and stressing others, so that each successive version made Schmidt's exertions more impressive, more voluntary and more rewarding to him than the last. Unlike [Harrington] Emerson, Taylor was not a charlatan, but his ideological message required the suppression of all evidence of worker's dissent, of coercion, or of any human motives or aspirations other than those his vision of progress could encompass.
Taylor thought that by analyzing work, the "One Best Way" to do it would be found. He is most remembered for developing the time and motion study. He would break a job into its component parts and measure each to the hundredth of a minute. One of his most famous studies involved shovels. He noticed that workers used the same shovel for all materials. He determined that the most effective load was 21½ lb, and found or designed shovels that for each material would scoop up that amount. He was generally unsuccessful in getting his concepts applied and was dismissed from Bethlehem Steel. It was largely through the efforts of his disciples (most notably H.L. Gantt) that industry came to implement his ideas. Nevertheless, the book he wrote after parting company with Bethlehem Steel, Shop Management, sold well.
Taylor was president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) from 1906 to 1907. While president, he tried to implement his system into the management of the ASME but was met with much resistance. He was only able to reorganize the publications department and then only partially. He also forced out the ASME's long-time secretary, Morris L. Cooke, and replaced him with Calvin W. Rice. His tenure as president was trouble-ridden and marked the beginning of a period of internal dissension within the ASME during the Progressive Age.
In 1912, Taylor collected a number of his articles into a book-length manuscript which he submitted to the ASME for publication. The ASME formed an ad hoc committee to review the text. The committee included Taylor allies such as James Mapes Dodge and Henry R. Towne. The committee delegated the report to the editor of the American Machinist, Leon P. Alford. Alford was a critic of the Taylor system and the report was negative. The committee modified the report slightly, but accepted Alford's recommendation not to publish Taylor's book. Taylor angrily withdrew the book and published Principles without ASME approval.
In France, Le Chatelier translated Taylor's work and introduced scientific management throughout government owned plants during World War I. This influenced the French theorist Henri Fayol, whose 1916 Administration Industrielle et Générale emphasized organizational structure in management. In the classic General and Industrial Management Fayol wrote that "Taylor's approach differs from the one we have outlined in that he examines the firm from the "bottom up." he starts with the most elemental units of activity – the workers' actions – then studies the effects of their actions on productivity, devises new methods for making them more efficient, and applies what he learns at lower levels to the hierarchy..." He suggests that Taylor has staff analysts and advisors working with individuals at lower levels of the organization to identify the ways to improve efficiency. According to Fayol, the approach results in a "negation of the principle of unity of command." Fayol criticized Taylor's functional management in this way: In Shop Management, Taylor said « ... the most marked outward characteristics of functional management lies in the fact that each workman, instead of coming in direct contact with the management at one point only, ... receives his daily orders and help from eight different bosses... these eight were (1) route clerks, (2) instruction card men, (3) cost and time clerks, (4) gang bosses, (5) speed bosses, (6) inspectors, (7) repair bosses, and the (8) shop disciplinarian. » This, Fayol said, was an unworkable situation, and that Taylor must have somehow reconciled the dichotomy in some way not described in Taylor's works.
In the USSR, Lenin was very impressed by Taylorism, which he and Stalin sought to incorporate into Soviet manufacturing. Taylorism and the mass production methods of Henry Ford thus became highly influential during the early years of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless "[...] Frederick Taylor's methods have never really taken root in the Soviet Union.". The voluntaristic approach of the Stakhanovite movement in the 1930s of setting individual records was diametrically opposed to Taylor's systematic approach and proved to be counter-productive. The stop-and-go of the production process - workers having nothing to do at the beginning of a month and 'storming' during illegal extra shifts at the end of the month - which prevailed even in the 1980s had nothing to do with the successfully taylorized plants e.g. of Toyota which are characterized by continuous production processes (heijunka) which are continuously improved (kaizen).
"The easy availability of replacement labor, which allowed Taylor to choose only 'first-class men,' was an important condition for his system's success." The situation in the Soviet Union was very different. "Because work is so unrythmic, the rational manager will hire more workers than he would need if supplies were even in order to have enough for storming. Because of the continuing labor shortage, managers are happy to pay needed workers more than the norm, either by issuing false job orders, assigning them to higher skill grades than they deserve on merit criteria, giving them 'loose' piece rates, or making what is supposed to be 'incentive' pay, premia for good work, effectively part of the normal wage. As Mary Mc Auley has suggested under these circumstances piece rates are not an incentive wage, but a way of justifying giving workers whatever they 'should' be getting, no matter what their pay is supposed to be according to the official norms."
Management theorist Henry Mintzberg is highly critical of Taylor’s methods. Mintzberg states that an obsession with efficiency allows measureable benefits to overshadow less quantifiable social benefits completely, and social values get left behind 
Taylor published many articles and short monographs. A selection:
For the stories about Schmidt Montgomery refers to Charles D. Wrege and Amadeo G. Perroni, "Taylor's Pig Tale: A Historical Analysis of Frederick W. Taylor's Pig-Iron experiments" in: Academy of Management Journal, 17 (March 1974), 6-27