At the start of the twentieth century, Fredrick Winslow Taylor formulated his model of ‘Scientific Management’, based on a study of working practices and in which he sought a ‘one best way’ to perform each task. His ideas caught the imagination of industrialists and a first formal structure for the management of an organisation was born.
We examine the great strides made in the early 1940s in America with the development of the TWI (Training Within Industry) programmes which laid the foundations for sustainable and adaptive management practice, training for employees and mutual cooperation between business and workers.
Later, Deming and others in Japan, developed a management practice that built on the foundations of Shewhart and others, and which became established in Japan and elsewhere, but which, given its roots, has ironically proven difficult to embed into western organisations.
From these we will propose, in the paper accessible below, the elements a modern adaptive and learning management practice that takes us beyond the problems associated with scientific management, it’s derivatives, and subsequent thinking.