Talk:Taylorism

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As a liberal academic, I really didn't like the tone of this article. It seemed rather anti-intellectual in a conservative working-class sort of way. Granted that there is a capitalist/socialist concern at stake, but the opposition to efficiency in the workplace rung of the fraternal favoritism that Taylor was trying to eliminate. Another good example of this is Taylor's support of "council-manager" models in local government. Yes, he supported privatization, but the goal was to introduce meritocracy in order to eliminate traditionalist cliques.

Conservatives, especially religious ones, will often look at scientific management as an inhumane interpretation of civil rights in that it strictly treats them as numbers, but in reality, Taylor brought equality to the workplace by making sure workers were treated fairly instead of being subject to playing favorites. Unions weren't always happy, but those unions weren't always "rational".

By the way, I realize that Taylorism often gets criticized for being closeminded to creative thinking, but that's counter-criticism, not actual criticism. It's like how conservatives will claim that liberals are closedminded against considering intelligent design instead of natural selection. Objectively efficient workplace standards are built towards efficiency to prevent traditions in the workplace from making labor-management relations about playing favorites again.

As an aside, it's important to understand the complexity of union politics with respect to multiculturalism and religion. For example, the Catholic Church was often opposed to unions despite how the Catholic Church stood up for international peace, tolerance, and harmony. The Knights of Columbus are a classic example of this. On the other hand, the Progressive Movement which Taylorism took place during was justified by the Protestant Evangelical Social Gospel. It also aimed to assimilate Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants into the melting pot in a way different from the political machine.

I'm not saying that the situation was very straightforward, but it would be prudent to revise this article with a deeper perspective on social, rather than economic, issues in order to understand what Taylor was really getting at.--Nolidor (talk) 01:17, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

As a liberal academic I ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzz. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 00:13, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Sorry you don't like liberal academics...

...or are you one of those conservatives in liberal clothing who tries to use socialism as a guise for traditional values such as making the workplace more cultural?Nolidor (talk) 01:21, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

No, I just found your comment remarkably pretentious and boring. A remarkable example of why nobody likes liberal academics. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 01:31, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Wait, are you saying that the dumbing-down of piecework and the speeding-up of production lines makes for a reduction in cultural values in the workplace? Or what? As someone who has spent plenty of time on a manufacturing shop floor, sometimes wearing dungarees, and sometimes a nice shirt and tie, I had a hard time following your prose, and connecting it to any reality I have experienced or read about. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:39, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm saying that Taylorism is an objective approach towards automation that's used to remove favoritism from the workplace. The alternative to dumbing-down piecework is a traditional approach where culture comes before productivity. That induces socially conservative favoritism where management prefers those workers who share their culture. It also encourages anti-intellectual, common-sense, folk community standards among labor itself which creates inequality in the popularity contest. Whoever has the most approved culture in the workplace gets attention. This is also what I meant by unions not always being "rational". The "democratic" nature of unions is often reminiscent of the commonsense folk community anti-intellectualism witnessed in socially conservative communities. Either way, individual meritocracy gets drilled out. Taylor's system objectively measured worker performance by removing culture from the workplace. --Nolidor (talk) 02:36, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, appeals to experience tend to be a very socially conservative tactic that's closedminded to abstract ideals and imagination. It's the classic criticism of liberal academia. Likewise, it's very rare that people on the floor actually know what they're doing without being told or the best way to do it. They're pragmatic thinkers who focus on getting the job done that they're given. Once in a while, you get a hands-on inventor, but it's very VERY rare. This is one of the reasons why socialists need to be held in skepticism as well. Yea, they care about redistributive justice when it comes to labor, but when it comes to social values, they're really just like conservatives and they ruin the original value of redistributive justice which is to achieve freedom through equality. You just end up with a new sort of rugged individualism where equality is used to oppress freedom through anti-elitism. Trust the worker! No, sorry. Most workers are irrational idiots, and many just want to be mediocre lazy bums while claiming they're being innovative when they're really not. There is no value in liberating the "working-class". At best, we should focus on individual meritocracy by objectively measuring performance on a culture free basis.--Nolidor (talk) 03:03, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
OK, what are the objective criteria for measuring the various workers in a commercial kitchen, or better still, the staff of a busy restaurant? Who administers the measurement, and at what cost in time and motion? How about the staff in an orthopedic rehab unit? How do you gauge an artist or designer? Will there be an exempt class of creative workers whose output is intractable to measurement? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 11:24, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Well that's a bit different. Taylorism is meant for industrial environments like factories, not entertaining environments like restaurants. I mean we could engage in technocracy too by scientifically evaluating the nutritional value of diets or surveying customers to see what they like in order to balance the calculations of how to make food, but I wouldn't take it that far. That pushes the boundaries of people's civil rights. Put that in contrast, for example, to how bricklaying or masonry are all about streamlining every muscular motion as smoothly as possible without making a mess. Different techniques are for different situations. Let's not generalize too much. --Nolidor (talk) 15:19, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

You have obviously never worked in the kitchen of a busy restaurant before, or even watched a prep chef get stuff ready in the afternoon before the dinner rush. Maybe one day, you could do some ethnographic fieldwork with people who actually labour for a living, to become an even better liberal academic. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:26, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Are you saying we should use Taylorism in an artistic environment? I was moderating my belief, not insisting upon it.--Nolidor (talk) 15:29, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm saying we already do. A busy kitchen is as industrial an environment as a metalworks factory, and everyone from the head chef to the busboy is trained to "streamline every muscular motion as smoothly as possible without making a mess." Go to your kitchen make 10 gallons of salsa in half an hour. Let me know how that works for you. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:39, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
[ec] I have seen business administrator types trying to apply a "tangible, measurable, profitable" metric to designers, with predictable lack of success. Lately I'm getting whiffs of "efficiency expert" input to classroom teaching, too, leading to the travesty that is "teaching to the test." The mis-application of Taylorism offers a lot of scope for overreach and micromanagement.
You are probably aware that Frank Bunker Gilbreth, a contemporary of Taylor's, got his start as a bricklayer. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I have nothing to say about Taylorism, but could you clarify "efficiency experts" and whether you mean product design with "designers"? I know that efficiency-oriented design is an important part of EU efforts towards increased waste prevention among businesses (noting that the EU defines waste prevention as including minimisation and non-waste reuse). Nullahnung (talk) 16:41, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Saying "efficiency experts" I mean the ones who followed from the stopwatch and movie-camera style of time and motion study that guys like Taylor and Gilbreth brought to industrial production, which has changed somewhat since the days of Henry Ford. In the particular instance I mentioned, the designers ranged from datacomm system architects to designers of physical layer electronic hardware and its packaging, powering, cooling, freedom from interference, and so forth. Obviously, time and motion study applies even less to creative "image" designers.
When mass producing lightbulbs or other consumer goods, the efficiency experts can be worth listening to. When educating children, the lessons learned in industry may not apply so well, even though some administrators or keepers of the public purse would like to try. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:31, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the elaboration. Nullahnung (talk) 19:27, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. There's a time and place for Taylorism. The problem with the article here is it paints with a broad brush in treating Taylorism like it's necessarily wrong. I wouldn't say the classroom should be entirely immune from Taylorism though. No, we don't want children to be taught to the test, but we don't want teachers playing favorites according to learning style either. You need more of a mixed approach in public education to make sure children are evaluated fairly. --Nolidor (talk) 21:15, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Workers are evaluated on the quality of their product. In the school example, the teachers are the workers being evaluated, and the students, or their test scores, are the product whose quality determines that evaluation.
The dichotomy in this discussion seems to be dispassionate evaluation good, cultural favoritism bad. Got any examples to show? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:12, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't know. It's just the general themes of multiculturalism, diversity, egalitarianism, and individualism. We don't want to be prejudiced towards traditionally nationalist ways of getting things done, especially in terms of exposing business to family values or office politics. I'm not really a big fan of making arguments by example anyway. It seems closedminded to creative thinking as if we have to learn from experience rather than thinking before we act. That's kind of the theme of anti-intellectual social conservatism too. "Just learn from the history of struggling from ruggedly individualist work ethic. If there's no concrete example, it doesn't count. Imagination's for the birds. Forget the scientific method in skillfully designing experiments before we've seen things with our own two eyes. Society is supposed to progress at a slow rate where luck comes before skill anyway. Free will doesn't exist. Everything's a matter of fate. If you're not happy with your social status, too bad. Hierarchy is a natural part of life." I guess that's why I come on the internet to talk anyway. It's to get away from all that concrete fatalism that needs to see it to believe it.--Nolidor (talk) 02:36, 12 June 2014 (UTC)