Talk:Scientific management

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Not An Op-Ed Page[edit]

From "So, the situation" and onwards is a polemic, a rant, not an encyclopedia entry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:09, 27 November 2005

  • Article clearly needs to be wikified, referenced and citations added: Added tags as such. -- Librarianofages 02:28, 12 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. This page represents a reactionary vision and should be flagged for removal. I altered a line that read something like, "Taylor was correct that workers are unintelligent..." but much more needs to be done. -- kneesgift — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kneesgift (talkcontribs) 15:17, 13 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I respectfully but strongly disagree. That discussion thread above is from *5 years* ago. The article has changed tremendously since then—including circumspection and inline citations of refs. This page (today) does not represent a reactionary vision. Rather, it represents an NPOV view, neither sycophantic to Taylor nor unthinkingly critical of him. If you read the sentences right near the one that you changed, it flat-out says that his view of workers was complex—insightful in some ways but obtuse in others. (That's a polite way of saying "not too bright".) Tell me that's reactionary or biased! :-) I stand by the fact that many workers cannot be relied upon for talent or intelligence. Yes, many can (which this article acknowledges and talks about), but many others can't. If you have had to work alongside them in the workforce, then you will know that this is true. We're talking about the guys who can barely show up to work or refrain from going on a crime spree. The deadbeat dads. I've worked with them. Partly through lack of talent and partly of their own bad choices, they're someone who's not to be relied upon. Also, someone today made an edit here saying that Taylor forced a lack of educational opportunity onto workers. But that's a misunderstanding of the chronology. Taylor's version of scientific management probably would have done that to some future workers if it had survived. But it did not create the prevailing conditions that Taylor formed his ideas in—they were already present as the natural default. I think you really need to read this article carefully before accusing it of being reactionary, or pro-business-major, or whatever along those lines. If you read it carefully, you will find that it is very NPOV, and that it is not critical of workers at all—in fact it stands up for workers against being slapped with the label of draft animals, which this article points out that Taylor was prone to. The one thing you can point to that this article says about any workers that is less than flattering is that some of them are not the talented or reliable ones. Again, that's not bias—it's just the unvarnished reality of real life. However, looking back at the sentence you most objected to, I think I see a way to tone it down. It may seem a little too harsh. I'll go try that. Regards, — ¾-10 01:53, 14 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is really shit. 'I stand by the fact that many workers cannot be relied upon for talent or intelligence. Yes, many can (which this article acknowledges and talks about), but many others can't. If you have had to work alongside them in the workforce, then you will know that this is true.'

Well great, good for you for having a prejudice, but that's Original Research (at best). Wikipedia is not here for you to share your life experience.

'We're talking about the guys who can barely show up to work or refrain from going on a crime spree. The deadbeat dads. I've worked with them. Partly through lack of talent and partly of their own bad choices, they're someone who's not to be relied upon.' That's a prejudiced rant, not the kind of thing people want to read in an encyclopedia. -Anon

I edited the "Taylor's view of worker's" section where someone called his view "prejudiced." You might call Taylor arrogant or pretentious because he believed that certain workers were stupid and did not understand their trade, but I do not think he had prejudice against them. His methods were created for the mutual benefit of the employer and the employee, in the form of higher output and therefore higher wages. I do not think he saw being stupid as harmful for a person working in mass production, but possibly an asset. More simpleminded people were better for the simpler jobs, as a fact. He thought if a worker was too smart for a position they would be annoyed and not get the job done as well. Calling him prejudiced is not the right way to go about explaining how he viewed workers, because it is a way someone has interpreted what he has said. He only opposed workers that purposefully lowered their production for the attainment of other goals, such as unions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 21 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Was" vs "Is" in the lede[edit]

No matter how obsolete an idea is or how thoroughly discarded in favor of other ideas, it still exists; the fact that this article is here proves that. An idea is not a human that dies. It remains in present tense. This isn't a defense of Scientific Management on any level, by the way. See Flat_Earth and Geocentric model. - Richfife (talk) 13:04, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ad hominem[edit]

"Modern human resources can be seen to have begun in the scientific management era, most notably in the writings of Katherine M. H. Blackford, who was also a proponent of eugenics." That may very well be true but does not relate to the rest of the phrase. Suggest to either remove the ad-hominem, or elaborate. (talk) 09:26, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair point. ARK (talk) 23:13, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Improvements to the criticisms section[edit]

CRITICISMS: I am looking to improve the criticisms section of this article to add more information and a neutral tone. Any feedback on the general information accuracy and neutrality is greatly appreciated.

Taylorism is, in fact, considered very controversial, despite its popularity. [It] is often criticized for turning the worker into an "automaton" or "machine."[25] Due to techniques employed with scientific management, employees claim to have become overworked and were hostile to the process. Criticisms commonly came from workers who were subjected to an accelerated work pace, lower standards of workmanship, lower product quality, and lagging wages. Workers defied being reduced to such machines, and objected to the practices of Taylorism (Waring 12). Many workers formed unions, demanded higher pay, and went on strike to be free of control issues. This ignited a class conflict, in which Taylorism was initially meant to prevent. Efforts to resolve the conflicts included methods of scientific collectivism, making agreements with unions, and the personnel management movement (Waring 14). The Watertown Arsenal in Massachusetts is an example of the application and repeal of the Taylor system in the workplace, due to worker opposition. In the early 1900’s, neglect in the Watertown shops included overcrowding, dim-lighting, lack of tools and equipment, and poor management strategies. In April 1909, Frederick W. Taylor had visited Watertown, along with Carl G. Barth, and reported on their observations at the shops. Their conclusion was to apply the Taylor system of management to the shops to produce better results. Efforts to install the Taylor system began in June 1909. Over the years of time study and trying to improve the efficiency of workers, criticisms began to evolve. Workers complained of having to compete with one another, feeling strained and resentful, and feeling excessively tired after work. There is, however, no evidence that the times enforced were unreasonable (Aitken 85-185). In [August] 1913, employees of the Watertown Arsenal in Massachusetts petitioned to abolish the practice of Scientific Management there. A number of magazine writers inquiring into the effects of Scientific Management found that the "conditions in shops investigated contrasted favorably with those in other plants.” Another reason for criticizing Taylor’s methods is that Taylor believed the scientific method included the calculations of exactly how much time it takes a man to do a particular task, or his rate of work. However, the opposition to this argument is that such a calculation relies on certain arbitrary, non-scientific decisions such as what constituted the job, which men were timed, and under which conditions. Any of these factors are subject to change, and therefore can produce inconsistencies (Aitken 21-24).

The sources that I've consulted are:

Aitken, Hugh G.J. (1985) [1960], Scientific Management in Action: Taylorism at Watertown Arsenal, 1908-1915, Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-04241-1, LCCN 84026462, OCLC 1468387. First published in 1960 by Harvard University Press. Republished in 1985 by Princeton University Press, with a new foreword by Merritt Roe Smith.

Waring, Stephen P. (1991), Taylorism Transformed: Scientific Management Theory since 1945, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press Wmstudent16 (talk) 16:06, 14 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This was added to the article, and then later merged with other content and rewritten. -- Beland (talk) 01:18, 7 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article was originally titled Taylorism, which is only one of the early approaches to scientific management. It still reads much like an article on Taylorism rather than scientific management in general. StarryGrandma (talk) 19:02, 30 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's still largely a personal essay, protestations above to the contrary, and will need massive rewriting to address this. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:34, 7 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Massive rewriting is correct; I've started piecemeal rectifications of the article. Duke Ganote (talk) 16:58, 14 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I did some major rewriting to address the "personal essay" problems, though further sourcing is necessary. Since there isn't a separate article on Taylorism, it makes sense for this article to cover it in detail, though this article does also have a substantial section on other management regimes which consider themselves to be part of scientific management. If we need much more than what's there now, we might need to split off Taylorism again to make room for an expanded overview. BTW, we also have industrial engineering as an overview article. -- Beland (talk) 01:22, 7 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the 2000s[edit]

Simon Head (Reference number 41, first sentence of this section) makes no mention of Google using scientific management to increase output despite a reference being made to his book to the contrary.

The second Head reference (medical work) is outlined in his book, however, so it can stay.