History of Ergonomics

Ergonomics has been in existence since the late 19th century when a man named Frederick W. Taylor completed a series of studies which bestowed upon the world of business a strong foundation of understanding which defines our contemporary outlook on work. Fredrick's efforts had such an impact on the business world of today, that he has been named the father of scientific management.

Originally, Taylor's interest in scientific management arose from the campaign of a progressive activist group that was looking to improve the work situations of the middle classes as well as their employers by stageing large scale changes in manufacturing processes. The efforts in this group in conjunction with his own observations as a foreman in a metals shop caused Taylor to experiment with these studies.

First, Taylor recorded the amount of time it took for his workers to complete a specific task. Than, by rearranging the equipment to a more comfortable layout he noticed a substantial increase in productivity. Secondly, Taylor began using psychological methods such as encouragement and appreciation to optimize production.

After exercising several studies, Taylor developed a series of theories which became widely known as "Taylorism." These theories were popularized during World War I as businesses began to pay more attention to personnel selection, work methods, work standards, and motivation. Taylor consolidated his expertise on defining the capabilities and limitations of human labor. From this information contemporary managers are more easily able to amplify productivity by correctly marching employees to tasks, improving work methods, and defining work standards.

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