Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1911)


1. The writer has tried to make the reason for this unfortunate state of things clear in a paper entitled “Shop Management,” read before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

2. For example, the records containing the data used under scientific management in an ordinary machine-shop fill thousands of pages.

3. See foot-note at foot of page 60.

4. Many people have questioned the accuracy of the statement that first-class workmen can load 47 ½ tons of pig iron from the ground on to a ear in a day. For those who are sceptical, therefore, the following data relating to this work are given:

First. That our experiments indicated the existence of the following law: that a first-class laborer, suited to such work as handling pig iron, could be under load only 42 per cent of the day and must be free from load 58 per cent of the day.

Second. That a man in loading pig iron from piles placed on the ground in an open field on to a ear which stood on a track adjoining these piles, ought to handle (and that they did handle regularly) 47 ½ long tons (2240 pounds per ton) per day.

That the price paid for loading this pig iron was 3 9/10 cents per ton, and that the men working at it averaged $1.85 per day, whereas, in the past, they had been paid only $1.15 per day.

In addition to these facts, the following are given:

47 ½ long tons equal 106,400 pounds of pig iron per day.

At 92 pounds per pig, equals 1156 pigs per day.

42 per cent. of a day under load equals 600 minutes; multiplied by 0.42 equals 252 minutes under load.

252 minutes divided by 1156 pigs equals 0.22 minutes per pig under load.

A pig-iron handler walks on the level at the rate of one foot in 0.006 minutes. The average distance of the piles of pig iron from the ear was 36 feet. It is a fact, however, that many of the pig-iron handlers ran with their pig as soon as they reached the inclined plank. Many of them also would run down the plank after loading the ear. So that when the actual loading went on, many of them moved at a faster rate than is indicated by the above figures. Practically the men were made to take a rest, generally by sitting down, after loading ten to twenty pigs. This rest was in addition to the time which it took them to walk back from the ear to the pile. It is likely that many of those who are skeptical about the possibility of loading this amount of pig iron do not realize that while these men were walking back they were entirely free from load, and that therefore their muscles had, during that time, the opportunity for recuperation. It will be noted that with an average distance of 36 feet of the pig iron from the ear, these men walked about eight miles under load each day and eight miles free from load.

If any one who is interested in these figures will multiply them and divide them, one into the other, in various ways, he will find that all of the facts stated check up exactly.

5. See paper read before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, by Fred. W. Taylor, Vol. XVI, p. 856, entitled “Piece Rate System.”

6. Time and again the experimenter in the mechanic arts will find himself face to face with the problem as to whether he had better make immediate practical use of the knowledge which he has attained, or wait until some positive finality in his conclusions has been reached. He recognizes clearly the feet that he has already made some definite progress, but sees the possibility (even the probability) of still further improvement. Each particular ease must of course be independently considered, but the general conclusion we have reached is that in most instances it is wise to put one’s conclusions as soon as possible to the rigid test of practical use. The one indispensable condition for such a test, however, is that the experimenter shall have full opportunity, coupled with sufficient authority, to insure a thorough and impartial teal. And this, owing to the almost universal prejudice in favor of the old, and to the suspicion of the new, is difficult to get.

7. First. The development of a true science. Second. The scientific selection of the workman. Third. His scientific education and development. Fourth. Intimate friendly cooperation between the management and the men.