A Timeline of Management and Leadership 1880 – Scientific Management Frederick Taylor decides to time each and every worker at the Midvale Steel Company. His view of the future becomes highly accurate: “In the past man was first. In the future the system will be first. ” – Frederick Taylor In scientific management the managers were elevated while the workers’ roles were negated. “Science, not rule of thumb, – Frederick Taylor The decisions of supervisors, based upon experience and intuition, were no longer important.
Employees were not allowed to have ideas of responsibility. Yet the question remains — is this promotion of managers to center-stage justified? 1929 – Taylorism The Taylor Society publishes a revised and updated practitioner’s manual: Scientific Management in American Industry. 1932 – The Hawthorne Studies Elton Mayo becomes the first to question the behavioral assumptions of scientific management. The studies concluded that human factors were often more important than physical conditions in motivating employees to greater productivity. 946 – Organization Development Social scientist Kurt Lewin launches the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His contributions in change theory, action research, and action learning earn him the title of the “Father of Organization Development:” the systematic application of behavioral science knowledge at various levels (group, intergroup, and total organization) to bring about planned change.
Lewin is best known for his work in the field of organization development and the study of group dynamics. His research discovered that learning is best facilitated when there is a conflict between immediate concrete experience and detached analysis within the individual. Also see Organizational Behavior. 1949 – Sociotechnical Systems Theory A group of researchers from London’s Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, led by Eric Trist, studied a South Yorkshire coal mine in 1949.
Their research leads in the development of the Sociotechnical Systems Theory which considers both the social and the technical aspects when designing jobs. It marks a 180-degree departure from Frederick Taylor’s scientific management. There are four basic components to sociotechnical theory: environment subsystem social subsystem technical subsystem organizational design. 1954 – Hierarchy of Needs Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is published in his book Motivation and Personality. This provides a framework for gaining employees’ commitment.