Henry Gantt biography and theory

Henry Gantt - Toolshero

Henry Gantt (1861 – 1919) was an American engineer and famous management consultant. Henry Gantt was best known for his planning methodology, the Gantt Chart. This methodology helped him realize major infrastructure projects including the construction of the Hoover Dam in the United States.

Henry Gantt biography


Henry Gantt graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (AB) from McDonogh School (United States) in 1878. Then he went on to the Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey, United States) to obtain his Master’s degree in Engineering (ME). After obtaining this degree Gantt worked as a teacher until 1887.

Midvale Steel

From 1887 Henry Gantt chose a new challenge and joined Midvale Steel Company in Philadelphia, United States. His manager Frederick Taylor involved Gantt in a number of large infrastructure projects. Together with Taylor, he applied different scientific management principles in order to implement these projects successfully. Henry Gantt worked for Midvale Steel Company until 1893.

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He continued his career as a management consultant and developed his famous planning methodology. He also developed a task and bonus system of wage payment and measurement instruments to provide an insight to worker efficiency and productivity.

In 1916, inspired by Thorsten Veblen, Gantt set up a trade association that was aimed at the development of industrial efficiency within political processes. In addition, he called into question the industrial system under control of managers and Polakov’s analysis of inefficiency within the industrial sector.

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Famous quotes

  1. “Whatever we do must be in accord with human nature. We cannot drive people; we must direct their development. The general policy of the past has been to drive; but the era of force must give way to the era of knowledge, and the policy of the future will be to teach and lead, to the advantage of all concerned.”
  2. “The increase of this efficiency is essentially the problem of the manager, and the amount to which it can be increased by proper study is, in most cases, so great as to be almost incredible.”
  3. “The greatest problem before engineers and managers today is the economical utilization of labor. The limiting of output by the workman, and the limiting by the employer of the amount a workman is allowed to earn, are both factors which militate against that harmonious co-operation of employer and employee which is essential to their highest common good.”

Publications and books by Henry Gantt et al.

  • 1919. Organizing for Work, Harcourt, Brace, and Howe, New York.
  • 1916. Work, Wages, and Profits, second edition, Engineering Magazine Co., New York.
  • 1916. Industrial leadership. Yale University Press.
  • 1903. A graphical daily balance in manufacture, Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Volume XXIV, pages 1322–1336.

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Van Vliet, V. (2012). Henry Gantt. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/toolsheroes/henry-gantt/

Original publication date: 04/04/2012 | Last update: 07/20/2023

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Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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