Thursday, February 7, 2008

Formal blog

Taylor in his essay “ The Principles of Scientific Management” gives an elaborate explanation of the science that is behind good organization and distribution of work assignments in factories. Even though this is not fictional piece, it reminded me of Twain’s Hank Morgan. The tone he used when describing workers was similar to Hank’s way of talking about 6th century English men. They both lacked the respect towards the people they talk about and found them incapable of improving their conditions on their own. Another similarity between Hank and Taylor is that they both try the erase the bad habits of feudal heritage by introducing scientific method. Of course, for Hank that was proven to be a disaster, but he did work on a much larger scale that Taylor. Changing a whole society in 6th century might be a bit more difficult that changing work organization in 19th century factories.

What both men saw as a very important issue for their cause was to ”… scientifically select and then train, teach, and develop the workman…” (Taylor 15).
Ever since Hank establish him self as “THE BOSS” he chose the best boys England could offer him and send them to his school to be trained by his standards. One of his most pride school was West Point where English finest were though the science of war.
Hank, as Taylor, believed that everything could be done better if the science is used as a foundation. Unfortunately, Hank did not manage to persuade the King and the Examining Board that his candidate, science or no science, was the best for the high- ranking position in the army. Taylor, on the other hand, had a success after success.

Another important aspect of scientific management was to do the maximum amount of work with the least amount of energy. In Hank case that can be translated to achieving the most shocking effect with the least amount of energy, by using science of course. At the very beginning of his adventures in Arthur’s England Hank saved his life, without any energy used on his part, by simply knowing the time of Sun eclipse. Blowing up Merlin castle did required some heavy lifting of explosives, but I think even Taylor him self would be impressed by the result achieved compared to the energy invested. Similar result, if not better, was obtained when Hank fixed the sacred fountain.

Hank did not get the wanted results at the end, but he did behaved according to the principles of scientific management in every way. Reasons for his failure are probably beyond the science that is used in Taylor’s essay. Taylor did achieve his goals of doubling the production and amount of work preformed by “ first-class” men, but any science that labels men as “… the type of the ox, heavy both mentally and physically” is deeply flawed.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

You have at least two compelling ideas here, but I'm not sure that you're pursuing either one as well as you could - maybe focusing on one would have helped?

Anyway, I agree in principle with the similarity you note between Hank's rhetoric and Taylor's rhetoric, especially their lack of respect for workers - but if this is an important point to you, you might have focused more on specific passages, both to develop the idea and to see if there are any _differences_ between the two.

On a related note, I like the topic you open up of "maximum amount of work with the least amount of energy." While Hank certainly thinks this way at times (for instance, when critiqueing Clarence's plans for the electrified fence), at other times his main focus is on _effect_ at any cost. Clearly you recognize the difference here, but you aren't really exploring it - you're claiming a similarity yet proving a difference, and not reconciling the two.