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A Mental Revolution

Scientific Management since Taylor

Edited by Daniel Nelson

A Mental Revolution includes eight original essays that analyze how the scientific management principles developed by legendary engineer Frederick W. Taylor have evolved and been applied since his death in 1915.

Taylor believed that a business or any other complex organization would operate more effectively if its practices were subjected to rigorous scientific study. His classic Principles of Scientific Management spread his ideas for organization, planning, and employee motivation throughout the industrialized world. But scientific management, because it required, in Taylor’s words, “a complete mental revolution,” was highly disruptive, and Taylor’s famous time-motion studies, especially when applied piecemeal by many employers who did not adopt the entire system, helped make the movement enormously unpopular with the organized labor movement. Though its direct influence diminished by the 1930s, Taylorism has remained a force in American business and industry up to the present time.

The essays in this volume discuss some of the important people and organizations involved with Taylorism throughout this century, including Richard Feiss and Mary Barnett Gilson at Joseph & Feiss, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and Mary Van Kleeck, and explore the influence of scientific management at the Bedaux Company, the Link-Belt Company, and Du Pont. Chapters on the Taylor movement’s influence on university business education and on Peter Drucker’s theories round out the collection.

Written by some of the finest scholars of the scientific management movement, A Mental Revolution provides a balanced and comprehensive view of its principles, evolution, and influence on business, labor, management, and education.

Daniel Nelson is professor of history at the University of Akron and is the author of Managers and Workers, Frederick W. Taylor, and American Rubber Workers.

1992  249 pp. This title is no longer available in a traditional print edition. Click here for free access to the book's full text.
Historical Perspectives on Business Enterprise