Frederik Winslow Taylor’s book The Principles of Management, published in 1911, stated that:

The primary, if not the only, goal of human labour and thought is efficiency; that technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgement; that in fact human judgement cannot be trusted, because it is plagued by laxity, ambiguity, and unnecessary complexity; that subjectivity is an obstacle to clear thinking; that what cannot be measured either does not exist or is of no value; and that the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts.

I went to a networking event for marketers last week and I could hear elements of what Taylor was talking about 100 years on. They were:

  1. There are ‘experts’ who will tell people how they should do things
  2. That everything has to be measured

The subject of the talk was content and communication. Looking at the roots of how organisations operate – ie in the Taylorist tradition – we can see the challenges employers have trusting colleagues to share what they know and also the problems they might have putting a value and ROI on it.