How are Frederick Taylor’s four principles of scientific management relevant in business today? 

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frederick Winslow Taylor's four principles of scientific management were:

  1. To replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods determined by a scientific study of the tasks involved.
  2. Select, train, and develop each worker rather than allowing them to train themselves "on the job."
  3. Cooperate with workers to ensure that the scientifically developed methods are being followed.
  4. Divide work among managers and workers in such a way as to ensure that managers are scientifically planning the tasks, and workers are actually carrying them out.

Taylor himself had difficulty implementing his policies. He thought of scientific management as a way to improve relations with labor through the cooperation described in his third principle. But many workers found the emphasis on economy of motion and  efficiency degrading. What Taylor discovered is what has driven many efficiency studies in business in years since. His methods were less than successful because they failed to account for human motivation. While business reformers have continued to focus on efficiency through training and different structural elements, many of which owe much to the scientific method employed by Taylor, they have also recognized (or successful ones have, anyway) that workers cannot be simply "sped up" like machines.