Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Taylorism


Western Electric Company
The scientific management movement pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor at the turn of the twentieth century left an indelible mark on Chicago's industrial landscape. Taylorist principles inspired changes in labor processes in local businesses as diverse as the great steel mills, the stockyards, and clerical and retail offices. Henry Ford's observation that cattle entered the killing floor in the Chicago stockyards in one piece and emerged after having been cut into numerous parts and packaged for distribution was part of the inspiration for the assembly lines used in his Detroit auto works. In 1927, researchers inspired by Taylorist methodology began experiments in worker productivity at the Western Electric Company in nearby Cicero. That research led to the discovery of the Hawthorne effect, which holds that productivity increases when workers are aware that they are being observed.

Braverman, Harry. Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. 1974.
Chandler, Alfred Dupont. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. 1977.