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Henri Fayol and Frederick Winslow Taylor

INTRODUCTION: This study will compare and contrast the theoretical perspectives of management theorists Henri Fayol and Frederick Winslow Taylor.

The development of Taylor's theory of scientific management began with his first encounter with workers as an "executive trainee." That encounter reveals that his priorities were not with the worker, but instead with management. Taylor himself "associated" the encounter with the "beginning of scientific management." In this incident, Taylor sought to increase the productivity of the workers (specifically the machinists), a focus of most of his theory. He considered their output low and unacceptable, and a result of the failings of both the factory system and the work methods of workers. He fired some men, lowered others' wages, installed a piecework-based system notorious still today in sweatshops, and tried to institute a "fining system . . . to punish men who broke tools or spoiled work" (Nelson, 1980, pp. 33-34).

Taylor came out of this encounter with the view that management was not strong or organized enough to institute whatever approaches it deemed necessary to increase productivity and profit for the factory owners. Many of his contributions certainly aided the work of the laborer:

The majority of his inventions pertained to the operation of metal-cutting machines. They included a tool grinder, machine tool table, a chuck, a tool-feeding device for lathes, a work carrier for lathes, a boring-bar puppet, and two boring and turning mills (Nelson, 1980, p. 37).

Beyond the practical advances these mechanical innovations brought, they also led in a sense to scientific management: "Taylor, the consummate engineer, soon discovered that technical advance demanded organizational innovations of comparable significance" (Nelson, 1980, p. 37). Fayol emphasized management innovations more than Taylor did, and Taylor focused more on workers, but Taylor also saw that management ne...

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