Time and Motion Study: Beyond the Taylor — Gilbreth Controversy

  • Hugo J. Kijne


Frederick Winslow Taylor introduced stop watch time study in 1881 in the MIDvale Steel Company in Philadelphia (1). The IDea was not his, but came from one of his instructors at the Phillips — Exeter academy in Massachusetts, the mathematician (Bull) Wentworth, who used a stopwatch to determine how long it would take an average student to solve a specific problem. In 1895, at a meeting of the American Society of Industrial Engineers (ASME), Taylor mentions his experiments for the first time. In a lecture, entitled, “A Piece Rate System” he talks about the “estimating department” at MIDvale, also described as “rate-fixing department”, which has the task of setting elementary rates. The term “elementary” refers to elementary operations of which any job is a combination. The times in which the study of elementary operations result are called “unit-times”. The combination of elementary operations may be unique, but similar elementary operations will be performed in differing combinations almost every day, and according to Taylor “a man whose business it is to fix rates soon becomes so familiar with the time required to do each kind of elementary work performed by the men, that he can write down the time from memory” (Taylor, 1895, 16). The method may seem complicated, but is in fact more simple and effective than what Taylor calls the “ordinary system of rate-fixing”, where a rate-fixer would look through his records until he finds a piece of work as nearly as possible similar to the job for which he has to set a time-standard, and then guess the time required to do the new piece of work.


Time Study Scientific Management Motion Study Elementary Operation Stop Watch 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo J. Kijne
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityUSA

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