Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer . He was widely known for his methods of improving industrial efficiency . [1] He was one of the first management consultants . [2] Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the efficiency movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era (1890–1920). In 1911, Taylor summarized his efficiency techniques in his book The Principles of Scientific Management , which, in 2001, became a Fellow of the Academy of Management. Voted the most influential management book of the twentieth century. [3] His pioneering work in applying engineering principles to work done on the factory floor was instrumental in the creation and development of the branch of engineering now known as industrial engineering . Taylor made a name for himself, and took most pride in his work in scientific management; However, he made his fortune patenting steel-process improvements. Taylor was also an athlete who competed nationally in tennis.


Frederick Winslow Taylor
Frederick Winslow Taylor

Let us now know about the biography of Frederick Winslow Taylor. Taylor was born in 1856 in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Quaker family. Taylor’s father, Franklin Taylor, a Princeton – educated lawyer, mortgaged his property . [4] Taylor’s mother, Emily Annette Taylor (aka Winslow), was an ardent abolitionist and colleague of Lucretia Mott . His father’s ancestor, Samuel Taylor, settled in Burlington, New Jersey in 1677. His mother’s ancestor, Edward Winslow , was one of fifteen original Mayflower pilgrims who brought servants or children, and one of eight to have the honorable distinction of mister. Winslow served as governor of Plymouth Colony for several years.

Educated early by her mother, Taylor studied in France and Germany for two years and traveled Europe for 18 months. [5] In 1872, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, with plans to eventually go to Harvard and become a lawyer like his father. In 1874, Taylor passed the Harvard entrance exam with honors. However, Taylor reportedly took a completely different route due to her rapidly deteriorating eyesight.

Instead of attending Harvard University , Taylor became an apprentice pattern maker and machinist .became, gaining shop-floor experience at Enterprise Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia (a pump-manufacturing company owned by friends of the Taylor family). He left his apprenticeship for six months and represented a group of New England machine-tool makers at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Taylor completed his four-year apprenticeship and in 1878 became a machine-shop worker at the Midwell Steel Works. At midwell, he was quickly promoted to time clerk, travelman machinist, gang boss at Lathe Hands, machine shop foreman, research director, and finally chief engineer of the works (while maintaining his position as machine shop foreman). had gone . Taylor’s rapid publicity reflected both her talent and her family’s relationship with Edward Clark, part owner of Midwell Steel. (Clarence Clark, son of Edward Clarke,

Early in Midwell, working as a laborer and machinist, Taylor recognized that workers were working their machines, or themselves, not as hard as they could (a practice known at the time as “soldiers”). “) and consequently higher labor costs for the company. When he became a foreman, he expected workers to produce more. To determine exactly how much work should be expected, he began to study and analyze the productivity of both men and machines (though the term “productivity” was not used at the time, and the applied science of productivity had not yet been developed). His focus on the human component of production was what Taylor labeled scientific management. [6]

While Taylor worked at Midwell, he and Clarence Clark won the first tennis doubles tournament at the 1881 US National Championships, a precursor to the US Open. [1] Taylor became a student of the Stevens Institute of Technology, studying through correspondence [7] and received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1883. On May 3, 1884, she married Lewis M. Spooner of Philadelphia.

From 1890 to 1893, Taylor worked as a general manager and consulting engineer for the Management Investment Company of Philadelphia, which operated large paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin. He was the plant manager in Maine. In 1893, Taylor opened an independent consulting practice in Philadelphia. His business card read “Consulting Engineer – Systematizing Shop Management and Manufacturing Costs a Specialty”. Through these consulting experiences, Taylor improved his management system. His first paper, A Piece Rate System , was presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in June 1895. [8]

In 1898 he joined Bethlehem Steel to solve an expensive machine-shop capacity problem. While in Bethlehem, he made the most famous and most profitable discovery of his many patents: between 1898 and 1900 Taylor and Maunsell White conducted extensive empirical tests, and concluded that tungsten cutting speeds doubled or quadrupled; The inventors received US$100,000 (equivalent to approximately $3,100,000 in 2020) for the English patent alone , [9] [10] although the US patent was eventually rescinded.

Taylor was forced to leave Bethlehem Steel in 1901 after a feud with other managers. Now a wealthy man, Taylor focused the rest of his career on promoting his management and machining methods through lecturing, writing, and consulting. In 1910, due to the Eastern Rate case, Frederick Winslow Taylor and his scientific management method became world famous. In 1911, eight years after Taylor presented his shop management paper, ASME presented his The Principles of Scientific Management paper.

On October 19, 1906, Taylor was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Pennsylvania. [12] Taylor eventually became a professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. [13] In the early spring of 1915, Taylor caught pneumonia and died, [14] in his fifties—a day after his ninth birthday—on March 21, 1915, he was buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.


Let us now know about the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor. Darwin, Marx and Freud make up the Trinity which is often cited as the “creator of the modern world”. Had there been any justice, Marx would have been removed and Taylor would have been replaced … for hundreds of years there had been no increase in the ability of workers to haul or carry goods … when Taylor began to formulate his theories. done, nine out of every 10 working people in manufacturing, fanning, mining, or transportation, whether manual work in manufacturing, fanning, mining, or transportation, creating, or moving … as of 2010 no more than one tenth of this The productivity revolution has become a victim of its own success. What matters from now on is the productivity of the non-manual workers. [bolding added] — Peter Drucker, The Rise of the Knowledge SocietyWilson Quarterly (Spring 1993) p. 63-65 [15]Taylor’s crime in the eyes of the unions was his claim that there is no “skilled work”. There is only “work” in manual operation. All functions can be analyzed in the same way… Sangha… Crafts were monopolistic, and membership in them was largely confined to the sons or relatives of the members. They required five to seven years of apprenticeship but had no systematic training or work study. The unions did not allow writing anything. There was no blueprint or any other sketch of the work to be done. Union members were administered an oath of secrecy and were forbidden to discuss their work with non-members. [Bolding added] — Peter Drucker, The Rise of the Knowledge Society Wilson Quarterly (Spring 1993) pages 61–62 [15]

Taylor was a mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He is considered the father of scientific management, and was the first management consultant and director of a renowned firm. In Peter Drucker’s description,

Frederick W. Taylor was the first person in recorded history to consider work worthy of systematic observation and study. Taylor’s on ‘scientific management’ is, above all, a tremendous boom in affluence over the past seventy-five years, which has raised the working population in developed countries to a level previously recorded, even for the affluent as well. Taylor, although Isaac Newton (or perhaps Archimedes) of the science of work, only laid the first foundations. Not much has been added to him since then – even though he’s been dead for sixty years. [16]

Taylor’s scientific management consisted of four principles:

  1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on the scientific study of functions.
  2. Select, train and develop each employee scientifically rather than passively leaving it 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 the work roughly equally between managers and workers, so that managers apply scientific management principles to plan work and how workers actually do the work.

Future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis coined the term scientific management during his argument for the Eastern Rate case before the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1910 . Brandeis argued that railroads were not required to raise rates when governed according to Taylor’s principles. Salary increment. Taylor used Brandeis’s term in the title of his monograph Principles of Scientific Management , published in 1911 Eastern Rate’s case, pushing Taylor’s ideas to the forefront of the management agenda. Taylor wrote to Brandeis, “I have rarely seen a new movement begin with such great speed as you have given it.” Taylor’s approach is often referred to as Taylor’s theories , or, often derogatory, of referred to as.

Manager and worker

Then, the idea of ​​training [a worker] in new working habits under a competent teacher, until he works consistently and habitually according to scientific laws, which have been developed by someone else, is in direct opposition to the old idea that Each worker can best regulate his own way of working … The old management philosophy places the entire responsibility on the workers, while the new one places a large part of it on the management. [bolding added] — FW Taylor, Principles of Scientific Management (1911) p 63 [17]

Taylor had very precise ideas on how to present his system:

It is only through standardization of applied methods, adoption of the best implements and working conditions applied, and implemented collaboration that this rapid work can be assured. And the responsibility of adopting the standards and implementing this collaboration rests with the management alone . [18]

Workers were to be properly selected for each job.

For a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a regular occupation, one of the first requirements is that he shall be so foolish and so phlegmatic that he will be more ox in his mental makeup than any other kind. sees like. A man who is mentally alert and intelligent is completely unsuitable for what would be the grinding monotony of this character’s work for him. [19]

Taylor believed in transferring control from the workers to the management. He set out to widen the distinction between mental (planning work) and physical labor (execution work). Detailed plans, specifying the work and how it was to be done, were to be prepared by the management and communicated to the workers. [20]

The introduction of his system was often angered by workers and provoked many strikes. The strike at the Watertown armory led to a Congressional inquiry in 1912. Taylor believed that the laborer was worthy of his hire, and that wages were linked to productivity. His workers were able to earn significantly more than those working under traditional management, [21] and this made him an enemy among factory owners where scientific management was not in use. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

Rhetorical technique

Taylor promised to reconcile labor and capital.

With the victory of scientific management, unions would have had nothing left to do, and would have been freed from their worst feature: the restriction of production. To underline this idea, Taylor coined the myth that ‘men working under scientific management never went on strike’, trying to give credence to it by repeated repetition. In a similar way he consistently linked his proposals to shorter working hours, regardless of offering evidence of “tailorized” firms reducing working hours, and he recounted his famous story of Schmidt carrying pig iron to Bethlehem Steel. Modified at least three times, obscured some. To emphasize aspects of his study and those of others, so that each successive version made Schmidt’s efforts more influential, more voluntary, and more rewarding than the previous. [Harrington] Unlike Emerson, Taylor was not a hoax, but his ideological message required the suppression of all evidence of activist dissent, coercion, or any other than human motives or aspirations that might embody his vision of progress.

Scholarly debate about pig iron due to increased efficiency in Bethlehem’s iron and steel

The debate about Taylor’s study of the workers of Bethlehem, especially the conservative laborer “Schmidt”, continues to this day. A 2009 study supports the claims that Taylor made about a substantial increase in productivity, even for the most basic of lifting, carrying, and dropping iron pigs. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

Management principles

Let us now learn about Frederick Winslow Taylor’s management principles. Taylor thought that by analyzing the work, one would find “one best way” to do it. He is best remembered for developing the stopwatch time study, which, together with the motion study methods of Frank Gilbreth, later became the field of time and motion studies. He broke a work into its constituent parts and measured each to one hundredth of a minute. His most famous studies involved shovels. He noticed that the workers used the same shovel for all the materials. They determined that the most effective load was 21½ pounds, and found or designed shovels that would increase that amount for each material. He generally failed to apply his concepts, and was dismissed from the Bethlehem Iron Company/Bethlehem Steel Company. still, Taylor was able to convince workers who used shovels and whose compensation to adopt his advice about the optimal method of shoveling by breaking down the movements into their constituent elements and recommending better ways to perform these movements. was produced. It was largely through the efforts of his disciples (especially that of Henry Gantt) that industry came to implement his ideas. In addition, the Bethlehem Company,The book he wrote after parting ways with Shop Management sold well.(Frederick Winslow Taylor)

Relationship with ASME

Now we will know about Frederick Winslow Taylor’s Relationship with ASME. Taylor’s written works were designed for submission to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). These include Notes on Belting (1894), A Piece-Rate System (1895), Shop Management (1903), The Art of Cutting Metals (1906), and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911).

Taylor was president of ASME from 1906 to 1907. While chairman, he tried to introduce his system in the management of ASMEs, but he faced a lot of resistance. He was only able to reorganize the publishing department and that too partially. He also ousted ASME’s longtime secretary, Morris Llewellyn Cook, and was replaced by Calvin W. Rice was appointed. His tenure as President was troubled and marked the beginning of a period of infighting within ASME during the Progressive Era.

In 1911, Taylor collected many of his writings into a book-length manuscript, which he submitted to ASME for publication. ASME set up an ad-hoc committee to review the text. The committee included Taylor collaborators such as James Maps Dodge and Henry R. Towne. The committee’s editor submitted the report to the American engineer , Leon P. Alford. Alford was a critic of the Taylor system and his reports were negative. The committee revised the report slightly, but accepted Alford’s recommendation not to publish Taylor’s book. Taylor angrily retracted the book and published the theories without ASME approval. [26] Taylor himself published the business book in 1912. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

Taylor’s influence

United States of america

  • Carl G. Barth helped Taylor develop the speed-and-feed-count slide rules to a previously unknown level of utility. Similar tools are still used in machine shops today. Barth became an early advisor to scientific management and later taught at Harvard.
  • HL Gantt developed the Gantt chart, a visual aid for scheduling tasks and displaying work flow.
  • Harrington Emerson introduced scientific management to the railroad industry, and proposed the dichotomy of staff versus line workers, with the former advising the latter.
  • Morris Cook adapted scientific management to educational and municipal organizations.
  • Hugo Münsterberg created Industrial Psychology.
  • Lillian Gilbreth introduced psychology to management studies.
  • Frank Gilbreth (Lillian’s husband) discovered scientific management while working in the construction industry, eventually developing motion studies independently of Taylor. These logically complement Taylor’s study of time, as time and speed efficiency improvements are two sides of the coin. The two fields eventually became the study of time and motion.
  • Harvard University, one of the first American universities to offer a bachelor’s degree in business management in 1908, based its first-year course on scientific management by Taylor. [27]
  • As dean of Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance, Harlow S. Persson promoted the teaching of scientific management.
  • James O. McKinsey, professor of accounting at the University of Chicago and founder of the consulting firm named after him, advocated budgeting as a means of ensuring accountability and measuring performance.


In France, Le Chatelier translated Taylor’s work and introduced scientific management throughout government-owned plants during the First World War. This influenced the French theorist Henri Fayol, whose 1916 administration of Industrielle et Générale emphasized organizational structure in management. In the classic General and Industrial Management , Fayol wrote that “Taylor’s approach differs from the approach we have outlined in that he examines the firm ‘from the bottom up’. He begins with the most fundamental units of activity. – the actions of workers – then studies the effects of their actions on productivity, devises new ways to make them more efficient, and applies what it learns at lower levels to the hierarchy…” [ 28 ]He suggests that Taylor have employee analysts and consultants working with individuals at lower levels of the organization to identify ways to improve efficiency. According to Fayol, the approach results in “neglect of the principle of unity of command”. [29] Fayol criticized Taylor’s functional management as follows: In Shop Management, Taylor said [30] ” … the most notable external features of functional management lie in the fact that each worker is in direct contact with management. Instead of arriving at only one point, … receives his daily orders and help from eight different bosses … These eight were (1) the Root Clerk, (2) the Instruction Card Man, (3) the Cost and Time Clerk, (4) Gang Boss, (5) Speed ​​Boss, (6) Inspector, (7) Repair Boss, and (8) Shop Disciplinary. » [30]Fayol stated that this was an intractable situation and that Taylor would have settled the differences which are not described in Taylor’s works. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

Around 1922 the journalist Paulette Bernays became interested in Taylor’s theories, which were popular in France in the post-war period. [31] Bernays became a loyal disciple of the domestic science movement, first started in the United States by Christine Frederick, which Bernays adapted for French homes. Frederick had transferred the concepts of Taylorism from the factory to the domestic work. These included appropriate equipment, rational study of movements and timing of actions. Scientific standards for homework were derived from scientific standards for workshops, which aimed to streamline the work of housework. [32] Comité national de l’organization française(CNOF), which was founded in 1925 by a group of journalists and consulting engineers who saw Taylorism as a way to expand their customer base. The founders included such prominent engineers as Henri Louis Le Chatelier and Léon Guillet. The Bernays Institute of Housekeeping Organization participated in various congresses on the scientific organization of work, which led to the establishment of the CNOF, and in 1929 led to a section in the CNOF on the domestic economy. [33]

Great Britain

Older historical accounts suggest that British industry was less interested in Taylor’s teachings than in countries of similar size. [34] Recent research has shown that British engineers and managers had the same interest as in other countries. [35] This disparity was largely due to the analysis being conducted by historians: recent research has shown that Taylor’s practices, as compared to Germany and to a lesser extent France, where through institutions, counselors, notably Bedaux. Through consultations spread more to Britain, where a mixture was most effective. [36] [37]

Particularly enthusiastic were the Cadbury family, Seaboham Rowntree, Oliver Sheldon and Lyndal Urwick. In addition to setting up a consultancy to implement Taylor’s system, Urwick, Orr & Partners, Urwick F.W. Taylor and was also a prominent historian of scientific management, published The Making of Scientific Management Trilogy in the 1940s and The Golden Book in 1956. Publishing of Management .(Frederick Winslow Taylor)


In Switzerland, American Edward Albert Filley founded the International Management Institute to spread information about management techniques. Lyndal Urwick was its director until the IMI’s closure in 1933. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

The Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin was greatly influenced by Taylorism, in which he and other Bolshevik leaders tried to incorporate into Soviet construction. When Joseph Stalin took power in the 1920s, he supported the theory of “socialism in one country”, which denied that the Soviet economy needed foreign aid to develop, and supported Western management techniques. Open advocates protested. No longer celebrated by the Soviet leadership, Taylorism and Henry Ford’s methods of mass production remained a tacit influence during the industrialization of the Soviet Union. Still, “[…] Frederick Taylor’s methods never really took root in the Soviet Union.” [39] Stalin’s voluntary approach to the Stakhanovite movement in the 1930s, fixed on setting personal records, was internally opposed to Taylor’s systematic approach and proved counter-productive. [40] A halt to the production process – workers with nothing to do at the beginning of the month and a ‘storm’ during illegal extra shifts at the end of the month – which was prevalent in the 1980s as well. There was nothing for As with successfully taylorized plants, Toyota’s is characterized by continuous production processes (heijunka) which are continuously improved (kaizen). (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

“The easy availability of replacement labour, which allowed Taylor to select only ‘first-class men’, was an important condition for the success of his system.” [42]The situation in the Soviet Union was very different. “Because the work is so rhythmic, the rational manager would hire more workers than is needed if the supply were even to be sufficient for a storm. Due to the constant labor shortage, managers are happy to pay essential workers more than the standard, or So by issuing false job orders, awarding them higher skill grades based on eligibility criteria, giving them ‘loose’ grind rates, or giving them what is considered ‘incentive’ pay, the premium for good work, effectively replacing normal pay. As suggested by Mary Macauley, grind rates in these circumstances are not an incentive pay, but a way to justify paying workers what they should be getting, even if their wages are in line with official norms. be considered accordingly.

Taylor and his theories are also referenced (and put into practice) in the 1921 dystopian novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.


In the early 1920s, Canada’s textile industry was reorganized according to scientific management principles. In 1928, workers at Canada Cotton Limited in Hamilton, Ontario went on strike against the newly introduced Taylorist work practices. In addition, Henry Gantt, a close associate of Taylor, reorganized the Canadian Pacific Railway. (Frederick Winslow Taylor)

With the prevalence of American branch plants in Canada and the close economic and cultural ties between the two countries, it has become common to share trade practices, including Taylorism.

Taylor Society and Its Legacy

The Taylor Society was established in 1912 by Taylor’s associates to promote its values ​​and influence. [45] A decade after Taylor’s death in 1915, the Taylor Society had 800 members, including many prominent American industrialists and managers. [46] In 1936 the Society of Industrial Engineers merged with the Society, forming the Society for the Advancement of Management, which still exists today. [47]

Taylor’s Criticism

Many of Taylor’s criticisms come from Marxists. Antonio Gramsci, an Italian communist, first wrote in his Prison Notebooks (1937) . Gramsci argued that Taylorism subordinates workers to management. He also argued that the repetitive work created by Taylorism could actually give rise to revolutionary ideas in the minds of workers. [48]

Harry Braverman’s work, Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century , published in 1974, was important to scientific management, and to Taylor in particular. This work contributed to the historiography of the workplace as well as being a pioneer in labor process theory. Management theorist Henry Mintzberg is highly critical of Taylor’s methods. Mintzberg says that an obsession with efficiency allows measurable benefits to completely overshadow less quantifiable social benefits, and social values ​​are left behind.

Taylor’s methods have also been challenged by socialists. His arguments relate to the progressive degradation of workers in the workplace and the subsequent erosion of work as capital-driven management uses Taylor’s methods to make work repeatable and precise yet monotonous and reducing skills. [50] James W. Rinehart argued that Taylor’s methods of transferring control over production from workers to management, and the division of labor into simpler tasks, intensified the alienation of workers, which led to the factory system of production around the period 1870 to 1890. started with. , [51]

Criticism of Taylor and the Japanese model according to Matsushita:

“We’re going to win and the Industrial West is going to lose; … the reasons for failure are within you. Your firms are built on the Taylor model. Worse, so are your heads. Your bosses are thinking when workers use screwdrivers.” You are deeply convinced that this is the right way to run a business. The essence of management is to get the ideas out of the owners head and into the labor head. We are beyond the mindset of your business, we know, now. So complex and difficult, the existence of firms in an environment so dangerous that it is unpredictable, competitive and fraught with danger, that their continued existence depends on the day-to-day dynamics of every ounce of intelligence.”

Quoted in Konosuke Matsushita, Pascal, R. 1990, ‘Managing on the Edge: How Successful Companies Use Conflict for Competitive Advantage’ New York: Simon & Schuster p. 51

Tennis and Golf Achievements

Taylor was an accomplished tennis and golfer. He and Clarence Clark won the inaugural United States National Tennis Doubles Championship at the Newport Casino in 1881, defeating Alexander van Rensselaer and Arthur Newbold in straight sets. [1] At the 1900 Summer Olympics, Taylor finished fourth in golf.



  • 1903, [52] 1911 Shop Management, by Frederick Winslow Taylor … with an introduction by Henry R. Towne … . New York, London, Harper & Brothers.
  • 1911. Principles of Scientific Management . New York and London, Harper & Brothers. [53]
  • 1911. A Treatise on Concrete, Plain and Reinforced: Materials, Construction and Design of Concrete and Reinforced Concrete . (2nd ed.). New York, J. Wiley & Sons.
  • 1912. cost of concrete . New York, J. Wiley & Sons.

Articles, a selection:

  • 1894. “Notes on Belting,” Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, vol. XV, 1893, pp. 204-259.
  • 1895. In “A Piece-Rate System”: Adjustment of Wages for Efficiency; Three letters… .
  • 1903. “Shop Management,” Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 24: 1337-480
  • 1906. “On the Art of Cutting Metals,” Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, vol. XXVIII, 1906, pp. 31-350.