Industry's Coming of Age

By Rexford Guy Tugwell; Thomas Munro et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION OF SUGGESTIONS TO ACCOUNT FOR OUR INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY: TECHNICAL CAUSES

1. The discovery and spread of scientific management and the elimination of rule-of-thumb.

Scientific management became a name and a slogan in November, 1910, when Mr. Louis D. Brandeis, who was opposing a proposed advance in railroad rates, claimed publicly that the roads could, without raising rates, increase wages if they would make a genuine effort toward greater efficiency and reduced costs. He called the system which could accomplish this "scientific management." Before this time there was nothing generally known by this title. The actual processes which Mr. Brandeis had in mind had, however, been in process of elaboration and experimentation for some thirty years, notably by Frederick W. Taylor and his collaborators. But there had been no systematic formulations of principle which included the new devices for more efficient work. Even the basic ideas of efficiency were familiar to very few persons.

Nor was this ignorance merely one of words. When the phrase had been invented it carried no meaning. The essentials of the practice involved had been, it is true, presented to an inner circle of technicians in papers read before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and there had been some public notice of the results

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