Lilian Gilbreth and her contributions to managementManagement has been around for many centuries.
Since ancient times people have been looking for ways to make their resources more effectively and to bring the society a better quality product for a better price. After the Industrial Revolution and with the arrival of machinery it was easy to mass-produce products both cheaper and quicker. During the 1900s because of the increased demand for products, people started looking for ways where they could make their businesses more productive, during this period, many contributions were made to management and where the business people widely used the term ‘management.’ The woman in the 1900s didn’t have the same rights or opportunities as a man, their only job was to do the house chores and take care of the children while the man worked in factories, but that was no the case with Lilian Gilbreth or better known by business people as “the mother of modern management”. Born in Oakland, California on May 24 of 1877, she was the daughter of a well-to-do family. She went to the California University and got an English degree with a minor in Psychology.
She then got married to Frank Gilbreth, the wealthy owner of a construction company and started helping him in his work. In 1907 they met and became involved with Frederick Taylor, a mechanical engineer who was looking for ideas to improve efficiency. Later they moved to Boston, where Lilian decided to get more education but this time to get her degree in Psychology so that she could help her husband in his company. Over the next seventeen years gives birth to twelve children.
The couple wrote several books that were and still are some of the best contributions in management, and because of the discrimination of woman at this time, Frank was always the book’s author. Frank and Lilian Gilbreth ran their company smoothly; they use the motion studies as they saw some workers were very productive while others slow, so the couple started analyzing and looking for ways to make their slowest workers as productive as they could be, work smarter, not harder. The couple taught those workers’ basic movements, making them more efficient.
Lilian knowledge of psychology lets her see that if the workers were satisfied and if the working environment was under appropriate conditions, it would make the workers more efficient, creating more production and more wealth for the company. A few years later, the couple sold the construction company and moved to Rhode Island, where they began workshops in their house, training people to use the techniques for management, furthermore, they worked as consultants, helping other businesses on how to be more productive.In 1924, Frank Gilbreth died of a heart attack, leaving Lilian and his twelve children. Lilian continued working as a consultant, but she experienced discrimination for being a woman, people refused to do business with her. Because of the low income that she was having as a consultant, she went back to have workshops in her house, this time she was working and with her family at the same time. Over time her reputation grew which let her be the Macy’s store consultant, and because of her success with the company, the store asked her to train the store executives.
No one could believe that she was taking care to twelve kids and work at the same time, at one point she started teaching at universities and finally retired in 1948.