How Scientific Management Thwarts Innovation
ByVictor A. Thompson
Pages 14

America, in the year of 1968, was rapidly bogging down. The big federal agencies that have the funds to tackle major domestic problems must come up with some thoroughgoing social innovations. Unless they do so, it would seem that we must give up the dream of the Great Society and resign ourselves to a permanent state of war between the haves and have-nots. Innovation in the aluminum industry, rare when the giant Alcoa Corporation dominated the field, increased after 1945 when additional companies entered the field and broke Alcoa's monopoly. In an earlier day, Frederick Taylor and his followers developed a brand of scientific management that caught the fancy of industry. There were neither militant unions nor many social scientists in the government to keep the new form of scientific management, these new Tay-lorites, from sweeping the federal bureaucracy. A favorite technique of the scientific-management group was to examine decisions, and discover the rules of thumb that were used to make the decisions.