FW Taylor: Scientific Management

FW Taylor: Scientific Management

Taylor states that “the main objective of management should be to secure the maximum of prosperity, both for the employee and for the employee.”

FW Taylor makes a clear distinction between production and productivity: “the maximum prosperity is the result of the maximum productivity which, in turn, depends on the training of each one”, aware of the opposition between workers and employers, he gives the following explanation: There is a false belief, entrenched in workers’ thought, that an increase in production will bring unemployment.

Taylor enunciated very well his 4 great principles of scientific management:

1) The scientific study of work, which must be carried out by a team of specialists, will give rise in many companies to the creation of an office or work methods service.

2) The scientific selection and training of the worker. Taylor recommends a systematic selection based on ability.

3) The union of the scientific study of work and the scientific selection of the worker.

4) The close cooperation between the leaders and the workers.

The scientific study will try to calculate which is the optimal weight and shape ingot, calculate the most effective gestures, the best feeding procedure, and so on. Thus, the organization of work must be above all an experimental science.



President Roosevelt prophetically observed that: “The conservation of our national resources is but the previous step to the more general problem of national yield.”

It tries to convince the reader that applying scientific administration is the solution to the problems of the inefficiency of daily acts.


Identity of the interests of the boss and the worker: The main purpose of the administration should be to ensure the maximum prosperity for the employer, together with the maximum prosperity for each employee.

The maximum prosperity for each employee means the development of each man to his state of maximum efficiency.

Scientific management is based on the firm conviction that the true interests of both are identical.

Limitation of production: The production of each man and each machine can be increased up to double if the slowness of work and the “simulation of work”, in all its forms, is combated, and harmonizing the relations between employer and employee in such a way that each worker works as best and as quickly as possible under the indications and with the help of management.

There are three causes that cause “work simulation”:

1º) The fallacy: the belief that a material increase in the production of each worker or each machine will result, in the long run, that a large number of men will be left without work.

2nd) the ignorance of the bosses regarding the correct time in which this or that job should be done favors the tendency of the worker to “simulate work”.

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3rd) Empirical methods (the waste of much of the effort of the workers). innate laziness and systematic laziness.

Need for Scientific Study of Conditions of Work: incase, there needs to be a much more equitable division of responsibility between management and workers than exists under any of the ordinary types of management.

The necessity of a scientific organization: Under scientific management, the intervening periods will be much more prosperous, happier and shorter, and less frequent and cruel.



Each generation has transmitted to the next methods better than those it had received and which were the fruit of inventiveness and experience. But empiricism and tradition are still the main assets of every businessman. Therefore the problem posed to the administration is to obtain from each worker the best “initiative”.

Generally speaking, the best type of management now in use may be defined as a system in which the workers give their best efforts and receive a special stimulant from their employers. We will call this type of administration initiative and incentive.

In the scientific management system, the “initiative” of the workers is obtained with absolute uniformity and to a greater degree than under the old system; and, in addition to this improvement on the part of the workers, the administrators accept new charges, new duties, and responsibilities unknown in the past.

The four fundamental principles are:

1) To develop, for each element of the worker’s work, a science that replaces the old empirical methods.

2) Scientifically selects and then instructs, teaches, and trains the worker according to his own possibilities.

3) Cooperate cordially with the workers so that all the work is done by the scientific principles that are applied.

4) Equitably distributes work and responsibility between management and workers.

In short: under “initiative and incentive” management the whole problem is left “entirely to the worker” while under scientific management half the problem belongs “entirely to management.” Without a doubt, the most important element in modern scientific management is the idea of ​​the task. The work of each worker is prepared entirely by the administration.

Practical examples of the force and effect of fundamental principles

Demonstrate the power and effect of these four elements through a series of practical examples.

Iron ingot handling

He explains how he carried out a study of the movements carried out by the workers in an iron handling company, and how from the reduction of distances between materials to the reduction of weights, the result for the company was completely positive.

This example highlights three of the four elements that constitute the essence of scientific management: first, the careful selection of the worker; second and third, to instruct, train and help him to work according to the scientific method.

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Shovel work

He explains the positive results obtained with the application of his theory and introduces the idea of ​​individual control of each worker and the need for each worker to have an individual task. When this occurs, the worker will perform the task with greater accuracy and quality.

Masonry work

This example is related to surprising thoroughness. This analysis is deeply studied in its application to scientific management.

Bicycle Ammunition Check

In the physiology laboratories of the universities, experiments are carried out to determine the “Personal Quotient” of an individual. This test shows that there is a big difference in the personal coefficient of different men. Some individuals are born with extraordinarily rapid powers of perception and reflex action. These types of men are the high “personnel ratio” types, while the slow perceivers and slow actors have a low “personnel ratio”.

One of the dangers to be avoided when a man’s or woman’s salary depends on the quantity of work done is that the effort to increase the quantity does not impair the quality. Therefore, the first step was to make any decline in quality impossible, without the workers realizing it. This was achieved with what is known as counter-verifications. An effective remedy was adopted to verify the honesty and accuracy of the counter-verification. And in this way, any temptation to neglect the work or make false returns was avoided.

Manufacture of mechanical parts

The workers were carefully selected and in almost all cases promoted and instructed by their foremen who found themselves capable of earning higher wages. This increase in the speed of carrying out the work implied a substitution of the old personal empirical methods for the fastest methods and a careful analysis of the manual work carried out by each worker.

Metal cutting

With scientific management, exact scientific methods and knowledge will sooner or later replace rules of thumb everywhere, while under the old type of management working according to scientific laws is impossible. They are looking for a mathematical formula by which all possible variables in metal cutting are taken into account. As the formula found was very complex, its resolution took at least 6 hours, there was a new problem which was solved through experience and in two simple questions to be asked by the worker when cutting the metal.

Worker psychology

There is another type of scientific research: the meticulous study of the motives that govern men.

Our experiments have shown that the exact percentage increase required to make the laborer work at maximum speed depends on the nature of the task being performed. This implies that to find success, not only must a daily task be set for each worker, but also a high stipend or prize must be paid to him each time he manages to carry out his work in the set time. These two elements, the task, and the bonus, constitute two of the most important elements of the scientific management mechanism.

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Scientific management does not necessarily involve any great invention or the discovery of new or surprising facts. However, it consists of a certain combination of elements that did not exist in the past.

The application of its principles in any company will lead to the appearance of the results of the examples if done correctly, and that same application would have benefits throughout the community.



I agree with Taylor, that it is necessary to look for new methods at work to achieve better objectives and achievements in production. I also agree that you have to have good organization at work and that there should be several scales of workers, that each one carries out their assigned tasks to have a great performance.

I am also in favor of the workers having great preparation and help, that is to say, that each worker is chosen to occupy the position in which they are better prepared and can perform better.

The administration of a company has to be organized, that is, each sector must carry out its tasks therefore with the Taylor method, the administration of the company helps the specialization of the personnel so that each sector carries out the production in an excellent way.

The “initiative and incentive” make the workers not waste time and dedicate themselves to work.

The drawback of Taylor’s method is that many companies carry out the change in the wrong way and this leads to the failure of the system since the change is to be carried out in a short period and it fails to achieve an adequate specialization of the personnel.

The worker with the Taylor system is only specialized in a defined area or task, therefore, he does not do any work that does not belong to his specialty, so the company has to look for specialized workers in each area of ​​the company.

With this system, there is no good communication with the CEO.

Another negative point of this method is that the worker only works for economic incentives regardless of the satisfaction that can be provided by doing his job.

Taylor’s method meant a great advance in the administration of companies, leading them to great progress, and greater productivity and prosperity, both for the worker and for the administration.


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