Chapter 12: Queering the Principles: A Queer/Intersectional Reading of Frederick W. Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management’
12. Queering the principles: a queer/ intersectional reading of Frederick W. Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management* Alexander Fleischmann INTRODUCTION Discrimination of various groups such as women, immigrants and older people continues . . . Additionally, various kinds of programmes aimed at removing inequality, such as gender equality or managing diversity programmes, may actually promote it by making differences visible and stabilizing them. Management, under such circumstances, comes to refer to the management of appearances which substitutes for (other) more radical acts. (Czarniawska and Höpfl, 2002, p. 1) What could these ‘other’ more radical acts look like? How is discrimination embedded in the principles of management? How is this reflected in constructions of manager identities? The aim of the present text is to approach these questions by deconstructing a highly influential text in management, Frederick W. Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management, from a queer and intersectional perspective. This approach stands in line with others that treat management theory as texts to be analysed. For example O’Connor (1996) analysed Taylor’s authority as ‘self-authorized’ and his legitimising of management ‘by associating it with science’, and Monin et al. (2003) identified moralistic elements echoing Christian morality implied in Taylor’s ‘rationality’. But until now, a deconstruction of Taylor’s work from a queer or intersectional perspective is missing. Within organisation studies, discriminations on the basis of gender have been studied by various scholars during the last few years (for overviews, see, for example, Hearn and Parkin, 1983; Alvesson and Billing, 1997; Calás and Smircich, 1999,...
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