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  A set of workplace practices developed from the principles of \'scientific management\' set out by Frederick W. Taylor (1911), arising from his classic time-and-motion studies of work processes in American factories. Fundamental concepts include the fragmentation of production activities into their simplest constituent components, and the linking together of these fragmented activities into precisely coordinated and closely supervised sequences. Designed to enhance overall efficiency by reducing the scope of activity of individual workers and optimizing the performance of individual tasks, these practices (by their reliance on close supervision) also accentuate the separation of conception and execution of tasks in the workplace.

For this reason, analysts such as Braverman (1974) have associated the widespread introduction of Taylorist principles with the \'deskilling\' or \'degradation\' of work. The result is a distinctive occupational division of labour, in which unskilled workers execute simple, repetitive shop-floor fabrication functions while skilled technical and managerial workers perform functions related to research, product design, process and quality control, coordination, finance and marketing. The economic outcomes for workers under such production systems depend to a large extent on the nature of the wider social and political context in which they are embedded. For example, under the terms of classical Fordism as it existed within countries such as the USA, the array of institutions governing collective bargaining and wage determination increased the likelihood that even unskilled workers might earn a decent living and enjoy tolerable working conditions. On the other hand, the application of Taylorist work principles in the developing economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America were not normally accompanied by such institutional frameworks, leading to a more \'primitive Taylorization\' based on the \'bloody exploitation\' of labour (Peck and Tickell, 1994, pp. 286-7).

As Clark (1981) and others have observed, during the post-war period in which Taylorist principles gained their widest acceptance, large firms organized along Taylorist lines would often segregate skilled and unskilled functions in separate plants, producing a spatial division of labour defined by the pre-existing geography of labour supply, wage rates and social relations. The more recent methods of work organization associated with post-Fordism are generally regarded as having reversed the task fragmentation and separation of conception and execution characteristic of Taylorism. However, Schoenberger (1997) and others suggest that organizational innovations such as just-in-time production were developed by eliminating wasted time in production through the use of precisely the same tools of time-and-motion study pioneered by Taylor himself. (MSG)

References Taylor, F.W. 1911: The principles of scientific management. New York: Harper and Brothers. Braverman, H. 1974: Labor and monopoly capital. New York: Monthly Review Press. Clark, G.L. 1981. The employment relation and the spatial division of labor. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 71: 412-24. Peck, J. and Tickell, A. 1994. Searching for a new institutional fix: the after-Fordist crisis and the global-local disorder. In A. Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: a reader. Oxford: Blackwell, 280-3 15. Schoenberger, E. 1997: The cultural crisis of the firm. Oxford: Blackwell.



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