Taylor’s Major Concern
An American engineer who worked his way through evening studies for his qualifications. From being an engineer in a steel company he became one of the first of a new breed of very influential management writers and theorists. He is known for defining the techniques of scientific management which is the study of relationships between people and tasks for the purpose of redesigning the work process to increase efficiency.
He was writing at a time when factories were creating big problems for management who needed new methods for dealing with the management challenges.
Taylor was one of the first to attempt to systematically analyze behaviour at work. His model was the machine therefore his ideas are often characterised as the machine model of organisations. Each task was broken down to its smallest unit to identify the best way to do each job. Then the supervisor, would teach it to the worker and make sure the worker did only those actions essential to the task..
Taylor’s major concern throughout most of his life was to increase efficiency in production, not only to lower cost and raise profits but also to make possible increased pay for workers through their higher productivity. As a young man working in machine shops, he was impressed with the degree of soldiering on the job, of making work, and of producing less rather than more, due primarily to the workers ear that they might work themselves out of a job if they produced more. He saw soldiering as a system. Form his own experience, he knew that much higher productivity was possible without unreasonable effort by the workers.
Taylor decided that the problem of productivity was a matter of ignorance on the part of both management and labor. Part of this ignorance arose from the fact that neither managers nor workers know what constituted a fair day’s work were concerned too much with how they should divide the surplus that arose from productivity-the split in thinking between pay and profits-and not enough with increasing the surplus so that both owners and laborers could get more compensation. In brief, Taylor was productivity as the answer to both higher wages and higher profits. He believed that the application of scientific methods, instead of custom and rule of thumb, could yield productivity without the expenditure of more human energy or effort.