Frederick W. Taylor's Scientific Management - Part 2
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
A precursor: Captain Henry Metcalfe (1847-1917)
"Management is an art... it rests on the application of certain elements to a great diversity of cases which together constitute what could be called the science of management".
Captain Metcalfe, graduated in West Point in 1868, was assigned to the Armaments Department and as Supervisor of several arsenals he discovered and applied the methods, which later describes when publishing his book "The Cost of Manufacturers and the Administration of Workshop".
Merrill comments: "He retired from the army in 1893, ten years before Frederick W. Taylor presented his important work Shop Management.
This author, in 1881, introduced in the workshops of the Frankford (Philadelphia) arsenals two kinds of filling cards:
- The work filling card where day to day the orders for the workshop bosses were set.
- The material filling card where the kind of work and amount of material to use was set.
Here we can see certain antecedents regarding part of the methodology Taylor would implant later.
Despite of this is important to have in mind that Metcalfe already demonstrated interest for creating a "Management Science... which would be an art", which indicated the adoption of an approach quite different to the taylorism, and at the same time, a notorious approximation to the work of Henry Fayol which we will see later.
Principles of Scientific Management (1911)
"Let's repeat briefly these four principles of
the Scientific Management. I need you to clearly see these four principles
as the essence of the explanation i will give you of the Scientific
Management. They are the proposal of a science to substitute the old
empirical methods; the scientific selection and then the instruction
and training of the workers, the addition of the scientifically chosen
worker and the science; and then, this division almost equal of the
work between the direction and the workers".
F. W. Taylor
Principles of Scientific Management is a treatise where the author complements what was published in Shop Management, developing two aspects of his model -and many times interconnecting them- being able this way to optimize the presentation of all his work. This means he takes care of philosophy and principles of the Scientific Management, at the same time it goes in punctual details about the methods of work and tells very particular anecdotes, which range from the calculation of the increase in the remuneration of the workers according to the new model, to the change it could produce in their customs:
"Maybe the most important of all the achieved results was the effect produced on the workers themselves. A detailed research... of these workers demonstrated that from the 140 considered just 2 were heavy drinkers (since to them) it was almost impossible to keep up with the fixed work pace, most of them... became practically sober... they would save money, and all of them lived better than before."
F. W. Taylor