Ross Definitions: Taylorism

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“Taylorism” (40).

Taylorism is the system created by Frederick Winslow Taylor to analyze and manage the methods of labor engaged in by workers with an eye toward increasing efficiency and production. Taylor termed his methodology scientific management as it entailed tactics such as measuring the distance a worker swung his arm back when operating a hammer, designing the work space so a laborer took a specified amount of steps and keeping a worker moving until all of the day’s labor was complete. Astonishingly, Taylor believed his system was benefiting workers by taking some of the guesswork out of their actions and providing a methodology suited to the limits of the human body. Unfortunately, this system incentivized pushing said body all the way to ninety to a hundred percent of its limits rather than allowing workers any form of non micromanaged freedom of expression. Taylor believed that at heart workers were lazy and that their “soldiering” or loafing led to great losses of production. A system wherein their every moment was controlled would increase production and also inculcate in the worker a routinized form of completing his job that was without guesswork.

Within the digital realm, this is replicated through processes such as mechanical turking where workers perform compartmentalized duties alienated completely from their product accoriding to gamified work specs that really only value low cost micromanaged completion of tasks, not valuation of labor or room for innovation which is typically the province of the management or outsourcer..


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