Federic Taylor and Taylorism

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Federic Taylor and Taylorism

Many people and companies have rejected the theory of scientific management that Frederic Taylor developed in the early 1900’s because it wasn’t working effectively for the companies. However as Rober Kanigel make clear in his biography of Frederick Taylor One Best Way the problem wasn’t with the theory of scientific management , but with the Frederic Taylor and his attempts at managing his own theories. Frederic Taylor was an engineer, a perfectionist; he didn’t have personality skills necessary to be an effective manager or leader. Someone how had these skills could manage a company well with his theory. What scientific management really is "a complete method of creative problem solving and decision making."

Many of the ideas in scientific management, like setting time goal and streamlining the workload are good ideas and are used presently in the work force. The primary objectives of scientific management are to maximize profit for the company, to use the fullest potential each employee and for prosperity for employees. To accomplish this people must exert themselves to their maximum potential every minute of the time at work. Still many of Taylor’s ideas did not work out because there he was too much like a robot and treated others like robots. He was inflexible, and failed to consider human emotions. For example he timed each person with a stopwatch and forced him or her to meet an inflexible and extreme time goal everyday no matter what. The job was not adjusted to meet the person but the person was forced to adjust to the job.

Frederick Taylor wasn’t capable of managing people under the scientific management theory the way he designed it. His use of the system eliminated the human aspect of the workplace, by treating people like machines. He described people as in capable of working in anything but what they were currently doing.

Furthermore he doubled their work load and made them work at the most efficient pace that he conceived of and enforced this by timing people with a stop watch. His essential theory was: management decided what a fair day of work was and made all the decisions. The employees were only capable of doing manual work and were hired only for their manual labor. Scientific management the Taylor way was imperfect because he eliminated the human part. No one can manage other people eff...

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...bility to think. One mechanic said that Taylor mistreated him, that Taylor gave him more abuse he had before taken and that he would take what he did from Taylor from any other person.

All of Taylor’s ideas go against the basic ideas and principles that managers learn in the classroom and use in the workforce when dealing with employees. He used mean, overbearing, Theory X ideas, which resulted in all the problems mentioned above. The principles that Taylor should have used are to treat employees fairly, allow flexibility, and ask for their input, not to be a micromanager. Basically everything that Taylor didn’t do he should have done. The Taylor system of efficiency can work in the hands of someone who knew how to manage people, which Taylor did not know how.


Kanigel, R. (1997). The One Best Way. New York, New York; Penguin Putnam Group, Inc.

Modern History Sourcebook: Frederick W. Taylor: The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911 . [WWW document]. URL: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1911taylor.html

Reshef, Y. Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) Scientific Management [WWW document]URL: http://courses.bus.ualberta.ca/orga417~reshef/taylor.html

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