Today’s taken-for-granted management practices—efficiency, division of labor, pay for performance, cooperative work environments, equitable treatment of employees, decentralized decision making, empowerment, autonomy, and teamwork—originated from earlier contributions to management thought.
Many of the historical contributors discussed in this chapter were colorful, interesting people. Frederick Taylor did not like seeing that processes at his company were disorganized and workers were slacking off. His ideas inspired the likes of Henry Ford, who perfected the assembly line and changed history. Lillian Gilbreth maintained quite a balancing act between her successful career, husband, and 12 children while still finding time to design kitchens and appliances as a consultant for General Electric. Henri Fayol saved a large mining and steel company that was on the brink of bankruptcy and turned it into a profitable, well-managed organization. He saved more than 10,000 employees’ jobs.