Abstract: The Application of Taylorism in France: The Role of the Michelin Family in the Rationalization of French Work

Francesca Tesi


Early in the twentieth century, the first works concerning Frederick W. Taylor's theories were published in France. Real interest in applying these new work methods began at the end of World War I, when entrepreneurs began looking for new and better ways of avoiding waste in their work forces and operations. In this essay, I analyze the Michelin Company's particular attraction to Taylorism, which began during the 1910s. Marcel Michelin introduced the firm to the principles of scientific management after a journey to the United States to study the new theories. Michelin began an important campaign to disseminate information about the Taylor system in the French industrial sector, resulting in 1921 in the founding of the Comité Michelin. Although the committee ended its campaign in the early 1930s, Michelin's interest continued, and the company went on to create and publish a magazine that dealt with Taylorism and its uses at Michelin.

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