Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1917) put forward the idea that workers are motivated mainly by pay.
His Theory of Scientific Management argued the following:
�� Workers do not naturally enjoy work and so need close supervision and control
�� Therefore managers should break down production into a series of small tasks
�� Workers should then be given appropriate training and tools so they can work as efficiently as
possible on one set task.
�� Workers are then paid according to the number of items they produce in a set period of timepiece-
�� As a result workers are encouraged to work hard and maximise their productivity.
Taylor’s methods were widely adopted as businesses saw the benefits of increased productivity levels
and lower unit costs. The most notably advocate was Henry Ford who used them to design the first ever
production line, making Ford cars. This was the start of the era of mass production.
Taylor’s approach has close links with the concept of an autocratic management style (managers take all
the decisions and simply give orders to those below them) and Macgregor’s Theory X approach to
workers (workers are viewed as lazy and wish to avoid responsibility).
However workers soon came to dislike Taylor’s approach as they were only given boring, repetitive tasks
to carry out and were being treated little better than human machines. Firms could also afford to lay off
workers as productivity levels increased. This led to an increase in strikes and other forms of industrial
action by dis-satisfied workers.