The History of Scientific Management
In the early twentieth century, Frederick W. Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management, a work in which the young engineer "converted what had been an art into a systematic, teachable approach to the study of work" (Chase, Jacobs & Aquilano, 2006, p. 375). The focus of Taylor's management principles was on workflow processes and improvements in worker productivity. Before this time, management was considered an art more than a science, with decisions often made based on convention or rules-of-thumb rather than on precise principles and procedures based on empirical evidence. Montana and Charnov (2000) note that Taylor's ideas were influenced by those of Charles Babbage, who preceded him, but Taylor is considered the "Father of Scientific Management" (p. 13).
Taylor's work opened a whole new approach toward management principles, as others continued to develop theories of scientific management like the Hawthorne study and research done by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth on time-motion. This analysis will provide a discussion of the evolution of management principles from Taylor's time to modern management principles. A conclusion will address the likely future evolution of management principles in the global age.
The scientific management principles identified by Frederick W. Taylor were based on command-and-control theories, as the engineer believed workers had to be closely supervised to maintain high levels of performance. Taylor believed that maximum efficiency could only be achieved by "redesigning work and by changing worker attitudes toward work" (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 15). Task redesign would result in one right way to perform a job, and by working with workers management could forge improved social relations that would result in better attitudes among workers. As is often the case when theories of management evolve, Taylor believed t...