Overview and context

The core ideas of scientific management were developed by Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s and were first published in his monographs A Piece Rate System (1895), Shop Management (1903) and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911). While working as a lathe operator and foreman at Midvale Steel, Taylor noticed the natural differences in productivity between workers, which were driven by various causes, including differences in talent, intelligence, or motivations. He was one of the first people to try to apply science to this application, that is, understanding why and how these differences existed and how best practices could be analyzed and synthesized, then propagated to the other workers via standardization of process steps. He 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, including via time and motion studies, which would tend to discover or synthesize the "one best way" to do any given task. The goal and promise was both an increase in productivity and reduction of effort. Scientific management's application was contingent on a high level of managerial control over employee work practices. This necessitated a higher ratio of managerial workers to laborers than previous management methods. The great difficulty in accurately differentiating any such intelligent, detail-oriented management from mere misguided micromanagement also caused interpersonal friction between workers and managers, and social tensions between the blue-collar and white-collar classes. [edit]Terminology and definitions The terms "scientific management" and "Taylorism" are near synonyms. Taylor is considered the father of scientific management. While the terms "scientific management" and "Taylorism" are o ten treated as synonymous, an alternative view considers Taylorism as the first form of scientific management, which was followed by new iterations; thus in today's management theory, Taylorism is sometimes called (or considered a subset of) the classical perspective (meaning a perspective that's still respected for its seminal influence although it is no longer state-of-the-art). Taylor's own early names for his approach included "shop management" and "process management". When Louis Brandeis popularized the term "scientific management" in 1910, Taylor recognized it as another good name for the concept, and he used it himself in his 1911 monograph. The field comprised the work of Taylor; his disciples (such as Henry Gantt); other engineers and managers (such as Benjamin S. Graham); and other theorists, such as Max Weber. It is compared and contrasted with other efforts, including those of Henri Fayol and those of Frank Gilbreth, Sr. and Lillian Moller Gilbreth (whose views originally shared much with Taylor's but later evolved divergently in response to Taylorism's inadequate handling of human relations). Taylorism proper, in its strict sense, became obsolete by the 1930s, and by the 1960s the term "scientific management" had fallen out of favor for describing current management theories. However, many aspects of scientific management have never stopped being part of later management efforts called by other names. There is no simple dividing line demarcating the time when management as a modern profession (blending art, academic science, and applied science) diverged from Taylorism proper. It was a gradual process that began as soon as Taylor published (as evidenced by, for example, Hartness's motivation to publish his Human Factor, or the Gilbreths' work), and each subsequent decade brought further evolution.