Before those big, industrial cranes came into use, iron and steel workers had to load enormously heavy girders onto railroad cars — a bone-wearying labor. Frederick Taylor, an industrious executive who worked for a large steel mill in the 19th Century, decided to try an experiment. Every twelve minutes, a whistle was to be blown and the men were to rest for three minutes. They were to take these pauses without missing a single one. They would actually work less time now but, Taylor surmised, they probably would accomplish more work. He was right! The result was astonishing! The laborers boosted their productivity from twelve-and-one-half tons a day to forty-seven tons a day! Taylor’s idea was the forerunner of today’s…
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