Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a transcript of Fredrick W. Taylor's 1907 lecture on his “task” system of management. Design/methodology/approach – The paper shows its advantages over traditional personal initiative styles, suggesting that managers should not allow employees to think for themselves but make sure they simply carry out tasks as instructed. Demonstrated this by using as an example pig‐iron handlers at Bethlehem Steel Company. Relates how he established scientific principles to ascertain the maximum load a man could carry and the optimum wage. Findings – Instead of asking if workers felt able to move heavier loads, by telling them he only employed “high‐priced men”, he found plenty of willing employees. Originality/value – The paper offers an example of how primary sources can be of critical importance to management scholars, not just management historians.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 27, 2008
Keywords: Management styles; Scientific management; Taylorism