The Management Myth – Taylorism and the Origins of Scientific Management

America today – in business, government, and most elite institutional organizations – operates under a rubric many would describe as managerialism. It is a belief that the best results can be achieved through rigorous quantitative measurement and elimination of processes (and people) that do not measure up. It is a decidedly material approach to running a system, and in terms of total output, efficiency of inputs consumed, and other tangible attributes, it can result in improvements. But when it comes to things harder to measure – quality, happiness, and the spiritual direction of a people – management science, a contentious term in of itself – often fails to deliver. Tonight we’re joined by Henry Mencken to discuss how Taylorism, the movement that started it all, led America to win in war and peace, but lose on many of the fundamental human issues we all face when we get home at the proverbial end of the day.

— Brought to you by —

Very special guest Henry Mencken


The Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 123 – The Management Myth – Taylorism and the Origins of Scientific Management

— References —

– The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor (1911)
– Designing the Industrial State – The intellectual Pursuit of Collectivism in America, 1880-1940, Gilbert (1972)
– Operational Research in World War II, Waddington (1973)
– The Visible Hand, Chandler (1977)
– The Changing Face of War, Lind (1989) –
– The Management Myth, Stewart (2010)
– Antifragile, Taleb (2012)
– The Disruption Machine, Lepore (2014) –
– Critical Infrastructure – Scale Up, Power Down, Myth of the 20th Century (2018) –


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