F. W. Taylor (1856—1917)
The inventor of "scientific management" and industrial engineering. In many ways the initiator of management studies. "The first man in history who did not take work for granted but looked at it and studied it" Drucker
Frederick Winslow Taylor was the American Quaker engineer who invented scientific management, the forerunner of time and motion study and work study. He spent his industrial career in steel companies, starting as a labourer with the Midvale Steel Works, where he ended as chief engineer, and then moving to the Bethlehem Steel Works of Pittsburgh as a consulting engineer in management. It was here that he carried out his celebrated experiments in breaking down the components of a manual task like shifting pig-iron, timing each movement with a stop-watch. He believed:
- there could be a proven best way to perform each task in a factory,
- that every employee could be trained to be ‘first-class’ at some job,
- and that it was management’s responsibility to identify these possibilities and provide opportunities for improvement.
His ideas fell into some disrepute in manufacturing in the 1960's up to the 1980's, but now are employed in service industries where there is high use if IT, particularly in call-centres.