Frederick W. Taylor

Author: Frederick W. Taylor was born in 1856 in Philadelphia, and died in 1915 in the same city. He was born into a lawyer’s family, and excelled in academics. He passed the entrance exam for Harvard, but unfortunately was unable to go due to failing eyesight. He later joined the Midvale Steel Company where he rose in the ranks from laborer to chief engineer. He could have become an engineer, but chose to focus more on work reforms in factories instead.

Context: Taylor lived during the height of the Industrial Revolution in America, and although he did not live in Europe, it is clear his ideas were influenced by other European authors on the subject. In his work, The Principles of Scientific Management, he takes many ideas from Adam Smith. Namely, that factory workers can improve themselves almost indefinitely, that incorporating machines is a good thing, and that everyone is connected and everyone improves from utilizing factory labor.

Language: Taylor also uses a very scientific approach in his work (much like Adam Smith), and uses dialogue to prove his point. His dialogue uses the accent of the laborer in the transcript, to perhaps show what kind of character he is, as well as his education level and why he can be persuaded to improve his workload in a gruff way.

Audience: It is pretty clear that he is speaking to the Middle to Upper classes here. He is trying to explain why this method works to other possible factory managers so that they may incorporate this method as well. He is not speaking to the actual laborers. If he were, it would possibly jeopardize his methods, since he is speaking about how to manipulate the workers so they perform better.

Intent: To reveal a new method of managing laborers: appeal to them on an individual basis, get to know them, and learn what will make them perform better.

Message: The archetype of the manager overseeing from afar while the laborers do all the work is an unstable and unproductive one. It is important for the manager to take on some of the work and be the glue that holds the factory together.

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