Scientific management is a systematic approach to organizing and controlling activities in business and industry that emphasizes efficiency as its primary goal. The brainchild of industrial consultant Frederick W. Taylor in the early part of the 20th century, scientific management became a movement that quickly spread to many fields and institutions in U.S. society. Educator Franklin Bobbitt was most responsible for introducing the approach to, and popularizing it within, the field of curriculum development.

Taylor's most extensive discussion of the use of scientific method is found in his book The Principles of Scientific Management. In the first decade of the 20th century, Taylor became convinced that rampant waste could be eliminated from the industrial process and efficiency maximized through the careful application of four principles:

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