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Toggling with Taylor: A Different Approach to Reading a Management Text


  • Nanette Monin
  • David Barry
  • D. John Monin


This paper identifies influential, but previously unrecognized, subtexts in the writings of Frederick Winslow Taylor. Working with analytical methods developed from reader-response theories of literary criticism, we look "at" the words of the text as we share the standard meaning-making of the management community, as well as "through" the words of the text searching out the worldview that emerges from our particular reading of the subtext. We have described our approach to reading as 'toggling': that is, switching between reading text 'rhetorically' and reading it 'philosophically'. We conclude that reader identification with textual voices may appear in philosophical as well as rhetorical reading outcomes - that Taylor's text may inveigle readers into accepting a moral worldview wrapped up in a seemingly rational argument - and that 'toggling' would empower management theory readers. Copyright 2003 Blackwell Science Asia Pty. Ltd..

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  • Nanette Monin & David Barry & D. John Monin, 2003. "Toggling with Taylor: A Different Approach to Reading a Management Text," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 377-401, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:2:p:377-401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keith Grint, 1998. "The Violent Rhetoric of Re-engineering: Management Consultancy on the Offensive," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(5), pages 557-577, September.
    2. Bradley G. Jackson, 1999. "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?: A Rhetorical Critique of Stephen Covey and the Effectiveness Movement," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 353-377, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lutz Preuss & David Dawson, 2009. "On the Quality and Legitimacy of Green Narratives in Business: A Framework for Evaluation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 135-149, January.
    2. Michal Zawadzki, 2013. "Konsekwencje zalozen funkcjonalistycznych w epistemologii kultury organizacyjnej. Perspektywa nurtu krytycznego w naukach o zarzadzaniu (The consequences of functionalist assumptions in the epistemolo," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 11(44), pages 58-74.
    3. repec:spr:manint:v:46:y:2006:i:4:d:10.1007_s11575-006-0101-y is not listed on IDEAS

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