If you want to see some of the most pleasant people in the world turn rabid, walk into a room of passionate human resources professionals and say, “Frederick Winslow Taylor is my hero.”
Frederick Taylor and his methods, known as Taylorism, are commonly regarded as one of the great dehumanizing forces of the Industrial Age. His villainous emphasis on ruthless efficiency made stopwatches a manager's best friend and reduced human beings to little more than the interchangeable parts they assembled as quickly as possible day after monotonous day.
Taylorism is also known as scientific management. That's unfortunate, because the true scientific method could be one of the most rehumanizing forces in the modern working world. It acknowledges the potential of human endeavor while fully accounting for the limitations of human knowledge about the future. What's more, the scientific method provides a brilliantly simple framework for dealing with uncertainty.
At its heart, the scientific method is all about testing hypotheses. It goes like this: