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Taylor was born in 1856 to a wealthy Quaker family in Philadelphia. He 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.
The purpose of Taylorism
Taylorism aims to achieve maximum job fragmentation to minimize skill requirements and job learning time, separates execution of work from work-planning, separates direct labor from indirect labor replaces rule of thumb productivity estimates with precise measurements, introduces time and motion study for optimum job performance, cost accounting, tool and work station design, and makes possible payment-by-result method of wage determination.
The causes of the scientific management
Taylorism or Scientific management was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity.
What was Taylorism ?
Taylor observed that some workers were more talented than others, and that even smart ones were often unmotivated. He observed that most workers who are forced to perform repetitive tasks tend to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished. Taylor used the term "soldiering" and observed that, when paid the same amount, workers will tend to do the amount of work that the slowest among them does. This reflects the idea that workers have a vested interest in their own well-being, and do not benefit from working above the defined rate of work when it will not increase their remuneration. He therefore proposed that the work practice that had been developed in most work environments was crafted, intentionally or unintentionally, to be very inefficient in its execution. He posited that time and motion studies combined with rational analysis and synthesis could uncover one best method for performing any particular task, and that prevailing methods were seldom equal to these best methods. Crucially, Taylor himself prominently acknowledged (although many white-collar imitators of his ideas would forget) that if each employee's compensation was linked to their output, their productivity would go up. Thus his compensation plans usually included piece rates. He rejected the notion, which was universal in his day and still prevalent even now, of the secret magic of the craftsman—that the trades, including manufacturing, were black arts that could not be analyzed and could only be performed by craft production methods.
In the course of his empirical studies, Taylor discovered many concepts that were not widely accepted at the time. For example, by observing workers, he decided that labor should include rest breaks so that the worker has time to recover from fatigue. He proved this with the task of unloading ore: workers were taught to take more rests during work, and as a result production "paradoxically" increased.
A machinist at the Tabor Company, a firm where Frederick Taylor's consultancy was applied to practice, about 1905 .
Frederick Winslow Taylor
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