Frederick Winslow Taylor Essay, Research Paper
This paper is in response to the assignment for a paper and short speech concerning a
person with relevant contributions to the world of management. Frederick Taylor is
affectionately referred to as the ?Father of Scientific Management.? The modern systems of
manufacturing and management would not be the examples of efficiency that they are today,
without the work of Taylor. Frederick Taylor was instrumental in bringing industry out of the
dark ages by beginning to revolutionize the way work was approached. Taylor was able to
increase wages, productivity and reduce per piece costs at the same time. Taylor?s work was
eventually adopted in a wide array of applications. Taylor?s ideas had a significant influence on
the industrial life of all modernized countries. Even Lenin went as far as to publish an article in
Pravda , ?Raising the Productivity of Labour,? based on the writings of Taylor. Thus Taylor
changed the way the world conducted business. Taylor?s work was an extension of technology.
It was a marriage of human work and technology. His Priniciples of Scientifiic Management
was conceived to be free of value judgement.
The Younger Years
Frederick W. Taylor was born into a well-to-do family in Philadelphia in 1856 . His
family was not wealthy , but they were well exposed to the high culture of the local society.
Growing up it was expected that Taylor would study to become an attorney. Taylor attended
Phillips-Exeter Academy. He was a devout student, doing very well with his studies. To achieve
good grades, Taylor studied many long hours. It was quite unfortunate that Taylor was to miss
Harvard Law School due to bad eyes that doctors attrributed to studying in the poor light of a
kerosene lamp. In later years it was realized that his eye problem was actually caused by stress,
as it improved after he left Phillips. Taylor moved back home after graduating from Phillips. He
realized that he should take up a trade and got a job as an apprentice machinist and pattern
maker. Having spent four years learning his trade, Taylor got a job as a yard laborer at Midvale
Taylor realized that at this point he needed to continue his education. He convinced the
people at Stevens Institute of Technology to allow him to attend classes long distance. He would
study in his spare time in Philadelphia and go to the school in New Jersey to take his exams. In
June of 1883, Taylor graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree. He subsequently
joined the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Midvale Steel Company
The Midvale Steel Company was part of the post Civil War expansion of industrialized
Philadelphia. They made steel railroad tires. Due to poor management, Midvale failed in 1873.
Fortunately for Taylor, the company was sold and prospered under the direction of the new
owners. There were two reasons for the success of the company. The first was that the company
was able to improve their scientific processes. The second reason was they were to receive
contracts to manufacture Naval gun forgings. By the 1890?s, Midvale was one of the countries
largest defense contracters. The company was in period of rapid growth. Taylor advanced
quickly at Midvale. In eight years he would be promoted from ordinary laborer through the ranks
of time keeper, machinist, gang boss, foreman, assistant engineer to chief engineer of the plant.
Taylor was promoted to gang boss due to the business turn around and the subsequent influx of
orders. As gang boss Taylor was well aware that the workers could be producing at much
higher levels than they were. As Taylor tried to increase production, he met a lot of resistance
from the workers. This fight to increase production gave Frederick Taylor his first look at the
unsystemized managerial methods commonplace in industry. Typically the fly by the seat of the
pants approach was used to manage manufacturing facilities. Taylor realized that there was a
scientific approach to technical problems. Yet, the current approach to dealing with production
problems such as worker behavior was destructive. There needed to be a way to combine
scientific techniques with constructive management. Conditions were favorable for Taylor to
begin his studies in management. First, his chief, William Sellers, was an engineer who
supported research. The second beneficial condition was that the machines his men were using
worked on heavy locomotive parts. The operating times on these machines were long, distinct
and easily measured.
After his appointment to gang boss, Taylor began to put pressure on the men to increase
production. The ensuing struggle caused Taylor to realize that the basis for the conflict was that
management did not understand a proper day?s work. Thus Taylor set out to evaluate a ?fair
day?s work.? By 1885 Taylor had devise a sysyem of production controls. He had introduced
stopwatch time studies, that he conducted to set production standards. Adifferential piece rate
system was set up to mandate that men increase production. In order to get the men to increase
their production and be happy about it, Taylor devised an incentive wage. This scientific
piecework system reconciled the managers desire for increased production and the workers
desire for a higher wage. Taylor found that on a task where production should have been 10 per
day, when a worker was paid 50 cents per unit that the worker finished only 4 or 5 pieces each
day. Taylor set a new per piece pay rate of 35 cents if the worker made 10 or more pieces. If the
worker produced 9 pieces or less, his piece rate was only 25 cents. Anyone who refused to
cooperate was terminated. For two or three years, Frederick Taylor discharged some workers
and lowered the wages of others. All through this period, he always had the support of upper
management. This differential piece rate system was applied to every task from unloading pig
iron and sand, white washing walls, painting, and even changing light bulbs. This system waas
the answer to the inefficiencies of workers performing manual tasks. The company was able to
pick the best workers available, since the worker would be earning a higher than average wage.
Taylor was also conducting a trial and error search for a set of laws governing the application of
cutting tools. He was experimenting with different combvinations of material,speed and angles,
the rate of feed and the power required. The results of ths study had management hooked.
Taylor was allowed to hire Henry L. Gantt, a classmate at Stevens, as an assistant. There were
three significant results of the combined efforts of Taylor and Gantt.
1883- The starting of a set of experiments on belting
1884- Construction of a room for storing and issuing tools already ground to the
1885-1889- The making of a series of practical tables for a number of
machines…[by] which it was possible to give definite tasks each day to the
machinists who were running machines.
Taylor.?Art of Cutting Metals,? p38
Taylor writes of four steps to utilize standard information. The first basic satep is to
experiment. The initial managerial procedure is to continually measure, classify and file
standards related information. The second step is the formulation of manufacturing laws of
economy, standards. These standards would include:
_Specifications of Materials
_Tools,Dies, Cutters, etc.
_Proper Opreation Times
_Properly Trained Operator
The use of standards removes all variability from the process and the need for guesswork. The
third step is to plan the work. One must establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This
step will eliminate idle times and miapplied efforts. Teh fourth step is to maintain the standards.
To achieve this one would establish a system of control. These controls would establish
procedures for inspection of conditions and performance and compare them to the standards.
Until 1885, Frederick Taylor?s experiments were conducted only as a gang boss trying to
improve his crew?s performance. He would study problems as they arose. At this time Taylor
was promoted to chief engineer and he became more familiar with the machinery in other
departments. He began to develop a broader perspective and to study and experiment in
Most of Taylor?s inventions involved metal cutting. He devised a tool grinder, a machine
tool table, a chuck, a tool-feeding devise for lathes, a work carrier for lathes, a boring-bar
puppet, and two boring and turning mills. The most impressive of his invemtions was an
elaborate set of forging equipment. This made use of a powerful and reliable steam hammer. In
designing this hammer, he studied the strengths and weaknesses of other hammers. He
incorporated the best parts, using flexible components.
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Thompson, Clarence Bertrand. Scientific Management: A Collection of the More
Significant Articles Describing the Taylor System of Management. Hue P: Easton. 1972.
Wrege. Charles D. and Ronald G. Greenwood. Frederick W Taylor. The Father of
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