Exonerating Frederick Taylor
After 100 years, mythology sometimes overshadows a master’s teachings
By Jesse W. Brogan
Frederick Taylor’s 1911 paper “The Principles of Scientific Management” is accepted as the first major statement of industrial engineering. But in the century since its publication, the myth of “Taylorism” has arisen. This myth considers Taylor’s work a major cause for dehumanizing the workplace. This myth comes from those who judge Taylor’s work by reputation, instead of looking at what he taught in his writings. Although the myth conflicts with what Taylor wrote, it is strong enough to be presented commonly to industrial engineering students.
In reality, Taylor dealt with each worker as an individual. He actively encouraged a manager’s positive personal interaction with each worker. Impersonality in the workplace comes from sources other than Taylor.
You must be an IIE member to have full access to this content. Please log in at the top right corner of this Web page.
IIE members visiting this site for the first time must register. As part of this process you will create a user name and password. This is a one-time process that requires your member number.
If you are not a member, join IIE now and begin enjoying benefits immediately, including full access to Industrial Engineer magazine.