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Scientific Management and Economic Problems

Nature volume 139, page 364 (27 February 1937) | Download Citation



IN an address to the Engineers' Study Group on Economics on January 19, Major L. R. Urwick spoke on the contribution of scientific management to the solution of present economic difficulties. He outlined the development of the principles of scientific management from the pioneer work of Charles Babbage and F. W. Taylor to such recent manifestations as “Stakhanovism” in Russia. Scientific management means essentially not the multiplication of efficiency experts but the adoption by both employers and employed of a new mental outlook, based on exact measurement and not on opinion, and more interested in increasing the output of industry than in haggling about its division. Resistance to Taylor's ideas had largely been due to those of his followers who had adopted his methods piecemeal while neglecting the underlying philosophy. Scientific management has spread much faster on the productive side of industry than on the distributive, or in finance, and the machinery of Government has also profited far less than it should have from the available knowledge of management problems. The first part of a chapter on “The Division of Labour and the Pricing System” has recently been forwarded in draft, and the chapter on “Money and Banking” has been discussed at a recent meeting of this Group.

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