The instruments of organization included stopwatches, with dials marking tenths and hundredths of a minute for easy calculations. Taylor's interest was less in what could be done in 10 hours than in 10 seconds. How much time did it take to perform a properly analyzed task -- fill a wheelbarrow, drive a nail, shovel coal? Assembly lines, like Ford's, or even disassembly lines, like those of Chicago's meatpackers, required the disassembly of work. ''Amid the blur of activity of human work,'' Mr. Kanigel writes, ''where did one element end and another begin?'' Well, time-and-motion studies would tell. ''Now, gentlemen, shoveling is a great science compared with pig-iron handling,'' Taylor said to a Congressional committee in 1912.
Taylor, whose life (1856-1915) coincided with America's period of pell-mell industrialization, was born into an affluent, landed family in suburban Philadelphia. At the age of 13, during extended travel with his parents in Europe, he watched his impatient father use the power of his purse to get reluctant local laborers to repair a bridge so the family's touring could proceed. This was, for young Fred, an intensely practical epiphany: money can make working men move faster.
Taylor advocated that each worker be assigned a specific amount of work, of a certain quality, each day based on the results of time study. This assigned quota he called a "task" (Taylor, 1911/1967 p. 120)...the use of tasks was a forerunner of modern day goal-setting.
Before scientific management, every workman had his own private tool box. This resulted in great inefficiencies because the proper tools were not always used or even owned. Taylor pushed strongly for standardization in the design and use of tools.
Because of Taylor's principles, many employees are trained to be machine-like in certian aspects of their jobs they do for improved efficiency and profitability. For example, fast-food restaurant (e.g., McDonald's or KFC) employees' efficiency is directly related to corporate profits.
Taylor's keen observations during time and motion studies showed how long it took for workers to perform an operation, the types of work-related materials they used methods to help each worker optimize his or her personal level of productivity, and techniques for achieving efficient division of labor.
He therefore, suggested that those responsible for management should adopta scientific approach in their work, and make use of "scientific method" forachieving higher efficiency. The scientific method consists essentially of (a)Observation(b)Measurement(c)Experimentation and(d)Inference.
He tried to diagnose the causes of low efficiency in industryand came to the conclusion that much of waste and inefficiency is due to thelack of order and system in the methods of management. He found that themanagement was usually ignorant of the amount of work that could be doneby a worker in a day as also the best method of doing the job. As a result, itremained largely at the mercy of the workers who deliberately shirked work
According to Taylor, “What the workmen want from their employers beyond anything else is high wages.”9 This “economic man” assumption led Taylor to believe that piece rates were important to improved productivity. Under traditional piece-rate plans, an individual received a fixed amount of money for each unit of output. Thus, the greater the output, the greater the pay. In his determination to find a better way, Taylor attempted to improve the traditional piece-rate scheme with his differential piece-rate plan.
According to an early definition, scientific management scientific management
developing performance standards on the basis of systematic observation and experimentation
is “that kind of management which conducts a business or affairs by standards established by facts or truths gained through systematic observation, experiment, or reasoning.”6 The word experiment deserves special emphasis because it was Taylor’s trademark. While working at Midvale and later at Bethlehem Steel, Taylor started the scientific management movement in industry in four areas: standardization, time and task study, systematic selection and training, and pay incentives.7