Fredrick Winsloiv Taylor (1856 -1915) – Biography:
Fredrick Winslow Taylor is familiarly known as the ‘Father of Scientific Management’ in the United States of America, was born in Germany. He ultimately settled at America.
The scientific management movement was greatly influenced by the experiments of Fredrick W. Taylor which were conducted on varied work situations to find out how the performance of workers could be improved.
The theory of scientific management or the systematic approach to management revolved round four fundamental principles as propounded by Taylor. There are;
1. The development of a true science for each element of an employee’s work.
2. Scientific selection of personnel,
3. Scientific education and development of workmen,
4. Harmonious relations based on amity, goodwill and cooperation between the management and the men.
Taylor advocated that the manages should have within the domain of their responsibility, the important management functions of planning, directing organizing and control. For efficient performance and achievement of good results he emphasized division of labour. Taylor attached great significance to the study of each job to determine as to efficiency in management.
He also favoured the introduction of systems of attractive rewards and deterrent punishments to ensure efficient performance. He laid strong emphasis of research and analytical techniques in the solution of managerial problems.
He expounded that management’s judgments and decisions should be based on accurate first-hand knowledge after systematic observation and study of facts. Guess work, intuition or unreliable information was not to be the guides in arriving at decisions.
Human relations so important in modern management practice came to be recognized only after Taylor’s initiative. Since then attention was focused on the worker’s relationship to the company he serves, to his job, and to his fellow-workers, on his attitudes and behaviour.
Taylor found that physical conditions and methods of work could be improved to increase productivity. The application of a scientific approach to the solution of management problems, as formulated by Taylor, had a far-reaching impact upon the whole economic and social systems and the structure of society. This paved the way for further thinking and studies in the direction of scientific management.
His principal contributions to management theory were his insistence on the application of scientific methods to managerial problems and his search for best methods or “one best way of doing things”. Hence Taylor’s noteworthy contributions can be grouped as:
1) Mechanical or technical
Taylor’s contribution faced the following criticisms:-
1) He had concentrated on production side only. As he himself put it, ‘the main concern was to find the one best way’.
2) Through emphasis on the mechanics of management he gave little consideration for human relations factor in management.
3) He entrusted the work of planning to management and executing to workers. This suggested an autocratic approach.
Ernest Dale viewed that, ‘Taylor was not actually developing a science of management, rather he developed a new series of techniques to be applied to a single company function; production’.