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Posts tagged taylorism

Andy:

The tenets of scientific management were given their first and frankest articulation by Frederick Winslow Taylor, whose Principles of Scientific Management was hugely influential in the early decades of the twentieth century. . . . Taylor writes, "The managers assume . . . the burden of gathering together all of the traditional knowledge which in the past has been possessed by the workmen and then of classifying, tabulating, and reducing this knowledge to rules, laws, and formulae." Scattered craft knowledge is concentrated in the hands of the employer, then doled out again to workers in the form of minute instructions needed to perform some part of what is now a work process. This process replaces what was previously an integral activity, rooted in craft tradition and experience, animated by the worker's own mental image of, and intention toward, the finished product. Thus, according to Taylor, "All possible brain work should be removed from the shop and centered in the planning or laying-out department. . . ." Once the cognitive aspects of the job are located in a separate management class, or better yet in a process that, once designed, requires no ongoing judgment or deliberation, skilled workers can be replaced with unskilled workers at a lower rate of pay. Taylor writes that the "full possibilities" of his system "will not have been realized until almost all of the machines in the shop are run by men who are of smaller caliber and attainments, and who are therefore cheaper than those required under the old system."