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Frederick Taylor and Management

Powerful Essays
Introduction
Frederick Taylor is recognised for being the first person to study work as a science. His work has been hugely influential on the study of management and continues to be studied in management courses. He is consistently ranked as the most influential person in management and business history (Wren, 2011). His book The Principles of Scientific Management has been translated into many languages. Indeed within the first two years of publication in 1911 it was translated into French, German,Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Italian, and Japanese (Wren, 2011). There is no doubt that Taylor’s work is of great importance but how relevant is it to today’s modern management arena? According to Konosuke Matsushita founder of Sanyo, Technics and Panasonic “We are beyond the Taylor model. Business is now so complex and difficult…..survival depends on the day to day mobilisation of every ounce of intelligence” (Unknown, n.d.). Yet there is no doubt that Taylor’s theories have been hugely influential on many aspects of modern management. Is his scientific management theory indeed for a ‘different time and place’?

Background of Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory
Taylor’s scientific management theory was developed in the early 1900’s and exemplified using pig iron handlers in the Midvale Steel Company. Taylor recognized issues with management at the time which needed to be rectified. Soldiering, the mutual agreement of the group to carry out a deliberately low amount of work, was a huge issue at the time. There were constant battles between management and workers. Management wanted to pay as low a wage as possible and in retaliation workers did as little work as possible. Taylor’s new theory aimed to eliminate all these inefficiencies a...

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...in raising productivity in past 100 years has been based on Taylor’s theories (Drucker, 1999). Examples of use of Taylor’s theories include the Ford assembly line, Japanese ‘Quality Circle’ ‘Continuous improvement’ and ‘Just in Time delivery’ and Edward Demings ‘Total Quality Management’ theory (Drucker, 1999).
The final paragraph in Taylor’s book stated ‘‘It is no single element, but rather this whole combination, that constitutes scientific management, which may be summarized as: Science, not rule of thumb. Harmony, not discord. Cooperation, not individualism. Maximum output, in place of restricted output. The development of each man to his greatest efficiency and prosperity’ (Friedman, et al., 2011). Indeed Taylor’s scientific management may have been created in a different time and place but the ideals of his last paragraph still continue to be relevant today.
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