Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor was born in Germantown 1856 to a wealthy family and died in Philadelphia 1915. He had intended a university education at Harvard, but ill-health forced him to consider an alternative career. In 1874 he became an apprentice machinist, learning of factory conditions at grass-roots level. He qualified as an engineer due to evening study.

His first attempts at reorganising management was at Bethlehem Steel, which he was forced to leave in 1901 after antagonisms with other managers. He then wrote a book, Shop Management, which did well.

Taylor believed that contemporary management was amateurish, and should be studied as a discipline; that workers should co-operate (and hence would not need Trade Unions); and that the best results would come from the partnership between a trained and qualified management and a co-operative and innovative workforce. Each side needed the other.

He is known for coinage of the term scientific management in his article The Principles of Scientific Management published in 1911. However his approach is more often referred to, frequently disparagingly, as Taylorism.


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