Frederick Winslow Taylor (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Taylor studied the functions and practices of men and machinery in minute detail and drew up detailed plans for saving time and increasing productivity. Many of the principles upon which he worked have formed the basis of modern managerial practice.
Frederick Winslow Taylor was born March 20, 1856, just outside Philadelphia in the affluent community of Germantown. Both his father’s and his mother’s families were of old New England stock. Taylor’s father was a lawyer who was interested more in literature than in the expansion of his practice. His mother was a prominent reformer—abolitionist, Transcendentalist, and female suffragist. It was from her that Taylor’s early education came. Her qualities were transmitted to the young Taylor through rigorous drilling and training. From his mother, Taylor learned to be spartan, exacting, methodical, and extremely competitive. In the Taylor household, everyone had specific jobs. Throughout his life, Taylor was a most intense individual with an extraordinary power to arouse and inspire others, but he was temperamental, difficult to work with, and intolerant of the skepticism of others concerning his own theories. Friends testified to his great sense of humor, amiability, sociability, and sensitivity.
For three and a half years, Taylor’s parents took him around Europe to complete the first stage of his education. While there, he...
(The entire section is 2311 words.)
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