Early Life & Achievements
F. W. Taylor, popularly known as the father of scientific management, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856. He started his career as a machinist and shop floor worker at Midvale Steel Works and belonged to an aristocratic family. His promotions came fast; he finally served as the Chief Engineer of Works at Midvale. He switched to a manufacturing investment company where he joined as the general manager and a consulting engineer for three years. He then started his own consultancy specializing in systematic shop management.
He is widely known for his philosophies on shop management, which made him earn the title “Father of Scientific Management.” During his work at the Midvale machine shop, he observed some of the workforces not working to their full capacity thereby slowing down the entire process, leading to inefficiencies. He devised a system known as production or task management which helps in objectively approaching the jobs and the measurement of job efficiency and effectiveness.
Taylor is known for his tremendous contribution to the issues faced by the shop floor level in organizations. He observed much wastage of human and other resources in the organizations. The management had no idea about the systematic performance of task and efficiency at work. He attempted to remove these problems with the development of the concept of scientific management.
His major breakthroughs are:
- Principles of Scientific Management: These principles discuss how time and money can be saved when the production is at its full capacity. Removal of anything that doesn’t add to the value was also proposed by Taylor. He performed a number of scientific studies on the workers to quantify their lifting capabilities. He also discussed incentives and their effect on motivation. The four principles are:
- Each and every part of an individual’s work is to be scientifically analyzed, and then the most efficient method for completing the job is devised which is the ‘one best way’ of doing that job.
- The most suitable person to complete the job is also selected scientifically. His training and development are done systematically so as to complete the job as suggested and devised.
- Cooperation between managers and workers to ensure the completion of work in a scientific manner.
- Clear division of work between managers and workers. Managers plan the work and workers execute it.
Taylor advised finding the right jobs for workers and then paying them in proportion with the increased output. He advocated paying the person and not the job and discarded the concept of unions if individual workers are satisfied the way they were rewarded for their contribution.
- Clear Distinction between Managers & Workers: Taylor proposed that there should be a transfer of control from workers to management. Therefore, he started explaining the differences between planning and execution. Charting out the detailed plans according to the specified job was done by the managers and was then given to the workers for the execution. However, scientific management led to a decline in skill enhancement and the autonomy of the workers working at the shop floor level. The personal style of every worker also suffered due to increased supervision for following the given instructions.
- The Differential System of Payment:- Under the system of differential pay, a worker is eligible for piece rate pay, which means the more the units produced by a worker, the greater will be the pay received by him. This, in turn, will motivate the workers to work more and produce more with efficiency and effectiveness.
Scientific examination of the way in which work in an organization can be completed made Taylor a pioneer in management. Taylor is also recognized as a major contributor to time and motion study along with Lillian and Frank Gilbreth. This involved examination of workers’ movements in detail and using these details to streamline work and save on effort.
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