1 Early Attempts to Deal With Complexity in Organizations

DOI: 10.4324/9781003042501-2

Reducing Complexity: Organizations as Machines

Throughout the rise of industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a mechanical view of organizations became influential in the management of factories where people worked alongside machines to mass-produce products in a tightly disciplined production scheme, which the American engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor called scientific management (Taylor, 1911). The reference to management as being scientific was akin to treating people in the same way as if they were cogwheels in the machines that engineers had constructed for the purpose of speeding up the rate of standardized production.

Get Complexity in Organizations now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.