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The Principles of Scientific Management

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The Principles of Scientific Management is a monograph published by Frederick

Winslow Taylor in 1911. This influential monograph is the basis of modern organization
and decision theory and has motivated administrators and students of managerial
technique. Taylor was an American mechanical engineer and a management consultant in
his later years. He is often called "The Father of Scientific Management." His approach is
also often referred to, as Taylor's Principles, or Taylorism.


• 1 Summary of the monograph

o 1.1 Introduction
o 1.2 Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Scientific Management
o 1.3 Chapter 2 : The Principles of Scientific Management
• 2 See also
• 3 References

• 4 External links

[edit] Summary of the monograph

The monograph consisted of three sections: Introduction, Chapter 1: Fundamentals of
Scientific Management, and Chapter 2 : The Principles of Scientific Management.

[edit] Introduction

Taylor started this paper by quoting then President of the United States, Theodore
Roosevelt. The President, in his address to the Governors at the White House,
prophetically remarked that "The conservation of our national resources is only
preliminary to the larger question of national efficiency." Taylor pointed out that the
whole country (USA) is suffering through inefficiency in almost all of daily acts of
Americans. He pointed this out through a series of simple illustrations. He tried to
convince the reader that the remedy for this inefficiency lies in systematic management,
rather than in searching for extraordinary people. He also tried to prove that the best
management is achieved through science and rests upon a foundation of clearly defined
laws, rules, and principles. He also showed that the fundamental principles of scientific
management are applicable to all kinds of human activities, from simple individual acts
to the work of huge corporations, and calls for the most elaborate cooperation. Through a
series of illustrations, Taylor also tried to convince readers that when these principles are
correctly applied, astounding results are achieved. The paper was originally prepared for
presentation to The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The illustrations in the
paper were designed to appeal to people within industrial and manufacturing
establishments. Taylor also showed that his principles could be applied to the
management of any social enterprise, such as homes, farms, small businesses, churches,
philanthropic institutions, universities, and government.

[edit] Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Scientific Management

Taylor argued that the principal object of management should be to secure the maximum
prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee.
He also showed that maximum prosperity can exist only as the result of maximum
productivity. He argued that the most important object of both the employee and the
management should be the training and development of each individual in the
establishment, so that he can do the highest class of work for which his natural abilities
fit him.

Taylor was writing at a time when factories were creating big problems for the
management. Workmen were quite inefficient. According to Taylor, there were three
reasons for the inefficiency. They were the:

1. Deceptive belief that a material increase in the output of each man or each
machine in the trade would throw people out of work
2. Defective management systems, which made it necessary for each workman to
soldier, or work slowly to protect his own best interests
3. Inefficient rule of thumb methods, which were almost universal in all trades,
which cost much wasted effort

The paper tried to show that enormous gains would result from substituting scientific
methods for rule-of-thumb.

Taylor argued that the cheapening of any article in common use almost immediately
results in a largely increased demand for that article. This view contradicts the believe
that a material increase in the output of each man or each machine in the trade would
result in the end in throwing a large number of men out of work. As to the second cause
for soldiering, Taylor pointed to many quotes from 'Shop Management' and hoped that it
would explain fully the cause for soldiering. Some quotes that tried to illustrate his views

"This loafing or soldiering proceeds from two causes. First, from the natural instinct and
tendency of men to take it easy, which may be called natural soldiering. Second, from
more intricate second thought and reasoning caused by their relations with other men,
which may be called systematic soldiering."

"This common tendency to 'take it easy' is greatly increased by bringing a number of men
together on similar work and at a uniform standard rate of pay by the day."

"To illustrate: The writer has timed a naturally energetic workman who, while going and
coming from work, would walk at a speed of from three to four miles per hour, and not
infrequently trot home after a day's work. On arriving at his work he would immediately
slow down to a speed of about one mile an hour. When, for example, wheeling a loaded
wheelbarrow, he would go at a good fast pace even up hill, to in order to be as short a
time as possible under load, and immediately on the return walk slow down to a mile an
hour, improving every opportunity for delay short of actually sitting down. In order to be
sure not to do more than his lazy neighbor, he would actually tire himself in his effort to
go slow."

"The feeling of antagonism under the ordinary piece-work system becomes in many cases
so marked on the part of the men that any proposition made by their employers, however
reasonable, is looked upon with suspicion, and soldiering becomes such a fixed habit that
men will frequently take pains to restrict the product of machines which they are running
when even a large increase in output would involve no more work on their part."

Taylor argued that the substitution of scientific for rule of thumb methods would be
benefit both employers and employees.

[edit] Chapter 2 : The Principles of Scientific Management

In this section, Taylor explained his principles of scientific management. Taylor's

scientific management consisted of four principles:

1. Replace rule of thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the
2. Scientifically select and then train, teach, and develop the workman, whereas in the
past the employee (or workmen) chose his own work and trained himself as best he
3. Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of
that worker's discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).
4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply
scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform
the tasks.

According to F. W. Taylor, the above combination of the initiative of the employee,

coupled with the new types of work done by the management, that makes scientific
management so much more efficient than the old plans.
Under the management of "initiative and incentive", the first three elements exist in many
cases, but their importance is minor. However, under the scientific management, they
form the very essence of the whole system.

According to Taylor, the summary of the fourth element is: Under the management of
"initiative and incentive" practically the whole problem is "up to the workman," while
under scientific management fully one-half of the problem is "up to the management."

[edit] See also

• F. W. Taylor
• Scientific management

[edit] References
• Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York:
Harper Bros., 1911)

[edit] External links

• Principles of Scientific Management - Full text online

Retrieved from
Categories: Essays | Management | 1911 books


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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:

1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of

the tasks.
2. Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively
leaving them to train themselves.
3. Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance
of that worker's discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).
4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers
apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers
actually perform the tasks.

[edit] Managers and workers

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.[9]

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.[10]

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.
Scientific management (also called Taylorism or the Taylor system) is a theory of
management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows, with the objective of improving
labour productivity. The core ideas of the theory were developed by Frederick Winslow
Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s, and were first published in his monographs, Shop
Management (1905)[1] and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911).[2] Taylor
believed that decisions based upon tradition and rules of thumb should be replaced by
precise procedures developed after careful study of an individual at work. Its application
is contingent on a high level of managerial control over employee work practices.

Taylorism is a variation on the theme of efficiency; it is a late-19th-and-early-20th-

century instance of the larger recurring theme in human life of increasing efficiency,
decreasing waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than
uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas of what matters. Thus it is a chapter in the larger
narrative that also includes, for example, the folk wisdom of thrift, time and motion
study, Fordism, and lean manufacturing. It overlapped considerably with the Efficiency
Movement, which was the broader cultural echo of scientific management's impact on
business managers specifically.

In management literature today, the greatest use of the concept of Taylorism is as a

contrast to a new, improved way of doing business. In political and sociological terms,
Taylorism can be seen as the division of labour pushed to its logical extreme, with a
consequent de-skilling of the worker and dehumanisation of the workplace, see 3D.


• 1 Overview
o 1.1 General approach
o 1.2 Contributions
o 1.3 Elements
• 2 Mass production methods
o 2.1 Division of labour
• 3 Extension to "Sales Engineering"
• 4 Criticism
• 5 Legacy
• 6 Scientific management and the Soviet Union
• 7 See also
• 8 References

• 9 External links

[edit] Overview
[edit] General approach
1. Shift in decision making from employees to managers
2. Develop a standard method for performing each job
3. Select workers with appropriate abilities for each job
4. Train workers in the standard method previously developed
5. Support workers by planning their work and eliminating interruptions.
6. Provide wage incentives to workers for increased output

[edit] Contributions

• Scientific approach to business management and process improvement

• Importance of compensation for performance
• Began the careful study of tasks and jobs
• Importance of selection criteria
• By management

[edit] Elements

• Labor is defined and authority/responsibility is legitimised/official

• Positions placed in hierarchy and under authority of higher level
• Selection is based upon technical competence, training or experience
• Actions and decisions are recorded to allow continuity and memory
• Management is different from ownership of the organization
• Managers follow rules/procedures to enable reliable/predictable behavior

The Principles of Scientific Management

The writer has found that there are three questions uppermost in the minds of men when
they become interested in scientific management.

First. Wherein do the principles of scientific management differ

essentially from those of ordinary management?

Second. Why are better results attained under scientific management than
under the other types?

Third. Is not the most important problem that of getting the right man at
the head of the company? And if you have the right man cannot the choice
of the type of management be safely left to him?

One of the principal objects of the following pages will be to give a satisfactory answer to
these questions.

Related Interests