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Frederick Taylor's Contribution To Modern Day Understanding Of Organizations

3440 words - 14 pages

Frederick Taylor's Contribution to Modern Day Understanding of Organizations

Frederick Taylor's work was taking place in a time period when the
United States of America was undergoing mass industrialisation after
the Civil War. National industries grew out of local trades; what were
once small factories rapidly became large organisations with new
technologies for production and mass workforces.[1] Many large
corporations such as Ford, Esso and United States Steel were developed
in this time; however they all faced the same problem; there was only
a limited pool of skilled workers to recruit from. Many labourers were
based in the agricultural regions of America or were immigrants from
Europe. Directing the efforts of workers with little understanding of
the English language, few required skills and no experience of working
in the disciplined region of a factory, left the organisation with key
problems.[2] Scientific management solved these problems and was one
of the first practices to be used in many different types of
organisations.

Frederick Winslow Taylor was born in 1856 into an upper class, liberal
Philadelphia family. His upbringing was constrained as both parents
were Quakers and believed in high thinking and plain living. Taylor
grew up to be a resourceful person. There is evidence to support this
from an early age; at twelve, he invented a harness to keep himself
from sleeping on his back, hoping to avoid the nightmares he was
having.[3] Once grown up at the age of twenty five Taylor earned
himself an engineering degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology
in New Jersey whilst still having the commitment of a full-time job.
Despite this degree Taylor surprisingly moved his career to the
Enterprise Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia where he became a machinist
and pattern maker.[4] He later moved on to Midvale Steel Company in
1878 where he filled the position of shop clerk. In 1887 Taylor was
promoted to the position of shop superintendent there.[5] It was here
that Taylor noticed a difference in employee work methods. He closely
watched how work was done and would measure the quantity produced. He
discovered that most methods were inefficient and led to low
productivity. This instigated Frederick Taylor to develop a science
for each element of work to find the quickest way a job could be done
which led on to the publication of his book The Principles of
Scientific Management in 1911, this was designed to increase
industrial output by rationalizing the production process. Taylor and
Scientific Management created a new type of ‘revolution’. The promise
of massive increases in productivity led to the following of Taylor’s
models of management all over the world.

Modern managers use many of the practices, principles, and techniques
developed from earlier concepts and...

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