time and motion study, analysis of the operations required to produce a manufactured article in a factory, with the aim of increasing efficiency. Each operation is studied minutely and analyzed in order to eliminate unnecessary motions and thus reduce production time and raise output, which increases productivity. The first effort at time study was made by F. W. Taylor in the 1880s. Early in the 20th cent., Frank and Lillian Gilbreth developed a more systematic and sophisticated method of time and motion study for industry, taking into account the limits of human physical and mental capacity and the importance of a good physical environment.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.