Mind, Method, and Motion: Frank and Lillian Gilbreth

Bernard Mees

in The Oxford Handbook of Management Theorists

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199585762
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Mind, Method, and Motion: Frank and Lillian Gilbreth

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Business and Management
  • Business History


Show Summary Details


This article discusses the contributions of American industrial engineers Frank and Lillian Gilbreth to management thought. It suggests that the work of the Gilbreths represents a very modernist form of rationalization, of the measuring, categorization, recording, and governing of work, work methods, employees, and processes. The motion studies and uses of psychology stressed by the Gilbreths would seem to represent some of the most pronounced forms of governance of production in the history of management thought. Frederick Taylor’s mental revolution entailed recourse to a ‘science’ of management as the ultimate arbiter of work processes. The committing of processes to writing and film would be Taylorized even more completely under Frank Gilbreth’s motion study, while workers would be enrolled more fully into the new labour process by the equally coercive and ideologized Taylorization of their minds in Lillian Gilbreth’s much more teacherly psychology of management.

Keywords: Frank Gilbreth; Lillian Gilbreth; management thought; motion studies; Frederick Taylor; Taylorization

Article.  8937 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.