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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2016

Charles R. McCann and Vibha Kapuria-Foreman

Robert Franklin Hoxie was of the first generation of University of Chicago economists, a figure of significance in his own time. He is often heralded as the first of the…

Abstract

Robert Franklin Hoxie was of the first generation of University of Chicago economists, a figure of significance in his own time. He is often heralded as the first of the Institutional economists and the impetus behind the field of labor economics. Yet today, his contributions appear as mere footnotes in the history of economic thought, when mentioned at all, despite the fact that in his professional and popular writings he tackled some of the most pressing problems of the day. The topics upon which he focused included bimetallism, price theory, methodology, the economics profession, socialism, syndicalism, scientific management, and trade unionism, the last being the field with which he is most closely associated. His work attracted the notice of some of the most famous economists of his time, including Frank Fetter, J. Laurence Laughlin, Thorstein Veblen, and John R. Commons. For all the promise, his suicide at the age of 48 ended what could have been a storied career. This paper is an attempt to resurrect Hoxie through a review of his life and work, placing him within the social and intellectual milieux of his time.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-962-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1995

Steven Kreis

Investigages some of the ways in which scientific management ideasand practices were implemented in Britain during the First World War.Concentrates on the combination of…

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1872

Abstract

Investigages some of the ways in which scientific management ideas and practices were implemented in Britain during the First World War. Concentrates on the combination of Taylorism, scientific management and industrial psychology in the work of the British public agency, the Health of Munitions Workers′ Committee (HMWC), in the years 1915‐1920. Analyses the memoranda and reports of the HMWC in order to demonstrate that: Taylorism and scientific management are not synonymous; the British government was interested in scientific management; and that British scientific management led in directions similar to developments in the United States. Asks historians to move beyond the Taylor paradigm in order to grasp fully the differential acceptance of scientific management, especially in regard to implementation outside the USA.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Mikhail Grachev and Boris Rakitsky

The purpose of the article is to historically position F. Taylor's scientific management in a broad socio-economic landscape, arguing that Taylorism was predetermined by…

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20909

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to historically position F. Taylor's scientific management in a broad socio-economic landscape, arguing that Taylorism was predetermined by the distinctive industrial type of economic growth and shaped by a political environment of an industrial economy. The authors further aim to discuss how scientific management transcended national boundaries and to analyse the case of Russia, with the focus on the rise and fall of Taylorism in that country in response to political transformations in the twentieth century.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors summarize key attributes of F. Taylor's scientific management as a systemic theoretical approach to efficiency with prioritized practical programmatic orientation and perceived social effects. The discussion on how scientific management fits the industrial economic growth and responds to the political environment follows. The authors conduct archival research and aggregate major literature on the history of Taylorism in twentieth century Russia.

Findings

The key findings of the study include: a summary of F. Taylor's management paradigm; Taylorism as the product of the industrial type of economic growth; how the political environment in Russia modified the unique cycle of scientific management with its emergence in the 1910s, rise in the 1920s, fall in the 1930s, and rebirth on a technocratic basis in the late 1950s.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to the general discussion on Taylorism and provides unique assessments of its historic development in Russia. The results of the study have both academic and educational implications.

Originality/value

The findings of the study enrich the discussion about Taylorism and its application in other countries. The archival and analytic results of the study permit conclusions at a high level of aggregation; highlight conflicting positions on the history of Taylorism in Russia in the literature; provide the framework to better understand the scope of scientific management in a historic socio-economic landscape; and display original arguments to support major findings.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2013

Linzi J. Kemp

The aim of the paper is to evidence the development of scientific management through the lens of postmodernism.

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18915

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the paper is to evidence the development of scientific management through the lens of postmodernism.

Design/methodology/approach

The four principles of scientific management are deconstructed through a postmodern lens. Current management practices are analyzed for indicators of development in scientific management.

Findings

The principles of scientific management are found within current management examples; measurement of knowledge production; empowerment; total quality management; teamwork. Scientific management, when deconstructed through the lens of postmodernism, is discovered to have developed over time.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation to this study is a precise definition for postmodernism and postmodern management against which to “prove” any findings. The implication is to extend research on the development of scientific management in postmodern management.

Practical implications

A practical implication for management practitioners is to apply a tenet of postmodernism to management i.e. there are a myriad of managerial approaches that work.

Originality/value

The paper's contribution is that the principles of scientific management originated in modern times and are developed in postmodern management.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2008

Sigmund Wagner‐Tsukamoto

The purpose of the paper is to critically question conventional views of the one‐dimensional, mechanistic and negative image of human nature of Scientific Management. Both…

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22084

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to critically question conventional views of the one‐dimensional, mechanistic and negative image of human nature of Scientific Management. Both for worker behavior and for managerial behavior positive aspects of an image of human nature are reconstructed in organizational economic terms.

Design/methodology/approach

Through institutional economic reconstruction, drawing on the methods and concepts of organizational and institutional economics, the portrayal of workers and managers by Scientific Management is critically assessed.

Findings

It is suggested that a conceptual asymmetry exists in Taylor's writings regarding the portrayal of human nature of workers and managers. Whereas for workers a model of self‐interest was applied (through the concepts of “systematic soldering” and “natural soldiering”), Taylor portrayed managers through a positive, behavioral model of human nature that depicted the manager as “heartily cooperative”. The key thesis is that by modeling managers through a rather positive image of human nature Taylor could no longer methodically apply the model of economic man in order to test out and prevent interaction conflict between potentially self‐interested managers and workers.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focused on Scientific Management to advance the thesis that the portrayal of human nature has been ill approached by management and organization theorists who were apparently pioneering an institutional and organizational economics. Future research has to broaden the scope of research to other pioneers in management and organization research, but also to critics in behavioral sciences, such as organization psychology, who may misunderstand how economics approaches the portrayal of human nature, in particular regarding self‐interest.

Practical implications

Taylor's portrayal of managers as naturally good persons, who were not self‐interested, caused implementation conflict and implementation problems for Scientific Management and led to his summoning by the US Congress. By modeling managers as heartily cooperative, Taylor could no longer analyze potentially self‐interested behavior, even opportunistic behavior of managers in their interactions with workers. Scientific Management had thus no remedy to handle “soldiering” of managers. This insight, that managerialism needs to be accounted for in a management theory, has manifold practical implications for management consultancy, management education, and for the practice of management in general. Students and practitioners have to be informed about the necessary and useful role a model of self‐interest (economic man) methodically plays in economic management theory.

Originality/value

The paper reconstructs the portrayal of human nature in early management theory, which seemingly anticipated the advances – and certain pitfalls – of modern institutional economics. The paper unearths, from an economic perspective, conceptual misunderstandings of Taylor regarding his image of human nature of workers and managers.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Lee D. Parker and Philip Ritson

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and critique Lyndall Urwick's long‐term advocacy of scientific management and its influence upon management thought.

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3595

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and critique Lyndall Urwick's long‐term advocacy of scientific management and its influence upon management thought.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis and critique of Urwick's published writings across 60 years, on the subject of scientific management and organizations, particularly linking his work and arguments to the influence of Frederick Taylor, also positioning him relative to the thinking of leading thinkers such as Henri Fayol.

Findings

This paper argues that the key to understanding his legacy lies in his unique and changing definition of “scientific management”. This was broader than the definition applied by most of his contemporaries and inspired his integrationist project of assimilating Taylorist scientific management into a raft of developing schools of management thought.

Research limitations/implications

Urwick's legacy included a lifetime campaign to reconcile scientific management with succeeding schools of thought, today's management literature stereotyping of some of his contemporary thinkers, and a contribution to management literature's predilection for the labelling of theories and principles.

Practical implications

The paper argues for returning to original sources to accurately understand the intentions and arguments of early founders of many aspects of today's management practice. It also alerts us to the proclivity of management theory and practice to opt for convenient labels that may represent a variety of historical and contemporary meanings.

Originality/value

The paper offers a critical reflection and assessment of the longest standing advocate of scientific management in the management literature.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Bart J. Debicki

This paper aims to present the work and contributions of Karol Adamiecki in comparison with Frederick Winslow Taylor and discusses the various contexts in which both…

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1820

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the work and contributions of Karol Adamiecki in comparison with Frederick Winslow Taylor and discusses the various contexts in which both scholars conducted their research. The purpose of this study is bring to light some of the main accomplishments of Adamiecki and contribute to the discussion of reasons why the work of some scholars draws wide acclaim, while similar work of others remains unnoticed.

Design/methodology/approach

The background for the discussion is the work and ideas of Karol Adamiecki, a Polish engineer and manager, whose methods and findings were similar to those of Frederick Taylor and are contemporary, and, in some cases, precede those of the Father of Scientific Management. The methodology used in this study is a review of the original work of Adamiecki and Taylor to find the true meaning and purpose behind their writings, as well as a review of relevant literature regarding the context of the realities in which both scholars constructed their research.

Findings

The concepts and inventions of Karol Adamiecki are, in many aspects, similar to those of Frederick Taylor and his followers. Several factors are identified and discussed which may have influenced the varied level of recognition of conceptually similar ideas evolved in different parts of the world. These factors are, among others, the socio-political reality of Eastern Europe and Poland under the influence of Russia and the Soviets as compared to that of the USA and the Western World and the support of various interest groups and government institutions, as well as the impact of the academic circles.

Research limitations/implications

In today’s world of globalization reaching all aspects of life, it is necessary to recognize and acknowledge the developments emerging in different settings, regions and cultures. Furthermore, the social and political realities in which research is constructed may impact the future acceptance, dissemination and popularity of the findings and authors.

Originality/value

Although some research exists outlining the work of Adamiecki, this study contributes to the body of historical management knowledge by focusing on the main accomplishments of Adamiecki based on his original writings and placing his accomplishments in a historical context in comparison to Taylor, thus analyzing the reasons for the lack of wider acclaim for Adamiecki’s contribution to scientific management.

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Journal of Management History, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Richard K. Fleischman

Taylorism and scientific management, as significant components of productive relations in the USA during the early twentieth century, have been examined by accounting…

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7947

Abstract

Taylorism and scientific management, as significant components of productive relations in the USA during the early twentieth century, have been examined by accounting historians representing the major paradigms that hold sway in contemporary historiography – the Foucauldian, the Marxist (labour process), and the economic rationalist (Neoclassical). The great bulk of this work has assumed that the major tenets of scientific management, such as time study, incentive wage schemes, standard costing, and variance analysis, were in common usage during the first two decades of the current century. This paper intends to set the record straight by demonstrating that theory was running far ahead of practice in that the number of actual adoptions of the new methods were not concomitant with the prevalence of scientific management literature. Subsequently, the paper will endeavour to show how the three major paradigms combine to enhance our understanding of Taylorism. Much of what Taylor wrote can be interpreted within a Foucauldian framework; the negative reaction of organised labour was much in the Marxist tradition; and, finally, the lack of applications in practice reflected economically rational action on the part of entrepreneurs (thereby completing the triangle).

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Vanessa Hill and Harry Van Buren

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the proliferation of scientific management and then to consider its effect on business and society. Our examination begins with a…

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the proliferation of scientific management and then to consider its effect on business and society. Our examination begins with a brief survey of various management approaches that emerged in the early twentieth century. We focus on Frederick Taylor, the originator of scientific management, as the person with the greatest influence on management scholarship. We assert that the propagation of scientific management in all sectors of business and society is so pervasive that is it ubiquitous, making it exceedingly difficult to consciously detect or question. We examine how core ideas from scientific management have facilitated the dehumanization of stakeholders in management scholarship and practice. We then discuss how dehumanizing tendencies — informed by the hidden ubiquity of scientific management — have permeated research in corporate social responsibility and management theory. We conclude with suggestions for integrating humanity into management theory.

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Diana Kelly

This paper aims to provide evidence of pro-worker orientation and acceptance of socialist idealism in scientific management, with particular focus on Walter Polakov.

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2547

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide evidence of pro-worker orientation and acceptance of socialist idealism in scientific management, with particular focus on Walter Polakov.

Design/methodology/approach

A range of original texts have been examined to identify the ideas expressed or accepted by the early scientific managers. These include Bulletin of the Taylor Society and the early publications of the socialist engineer and scientific manager Walter Polakov.

Findings

This paper shows how an avowed socialist is outspoken but unremarkable for the members of the Taylor Society in the 1910s and 1920s, contrary to the views expressed in textbooks and other histories which assert a deep antiworker bias in scientific management.

Research limitations/implications

This is limited to a historical analysis of the role and extent of involvement of the Marxist engineer Walter Polakov in the US scientific management movement in the 1910s and 1920s.

Originality/value

This paper offers insights into the workings of the Taylor Society using a biographical approach. In so doing, it demonstrates, in a new way, the verity of claims that the original proponents of scientific management were not authoritarian or anti-worker in their views or ideals, but, rather, open to progressive and socialist ideals.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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