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Frederick Winslow Taylor
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    (March 20, 1856-March 21, 1915)
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Mechanical engineer and management consultant
    Pioneer of industrial engineering
    Wrote ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ (1911)
    His emphasis on efficiency made many manual labor jobs more repetitive and monotonous.
    Implementation of his ideas was often resented by workers, provoking many strikes.
    He wrote, ‘It is absolutely necessary for every man in an organization to become one of a train of gear wheels.’
    He would lash out at anyone who questioned his orders, telling one manager at Bethlehem Steel, ‘I don’t want to hear any more from you. You haven’t got any brains, and you haven’t got any ability.’
    When Upton Sinclair pointed out that his reforms at Bethlehem Steel resulted in workers tripling their output but only getting a 60% raise, he claimed that a ‘long series of experiments’ (that he never provided details of) showed that when working-class men had their wages increase by larger amounts, they ‘tend to become more or less shiftless, extravagant and dissipated. Our experiments showed, in other words, that for their own best interest it does not do for most men to get rich too fast.’
    He made a fortune from inventing several improvements to the steel manufacturing process.
    He and his brother-in-law won the first tennis doubles title at the US National Championships (1881), the predecessor of the US Open.
    The Academy of Management named ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ the most influential management book of the 20th century.
    Business consultant Peter Drucker wrote, ‘Darwin, Marx, and Freud make up the trinity often cited as the ‘makers of the modern world.’ Marx would be taken out and replaced by Taylor if there were any justice.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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