Portrayals of F.W. Taylor across textbooks Academic Article uri icon


  • PurposeTo conduct a content analysis of the portrayal of Frederick W. Taylor in management and psychology textbooks to reveal differences both within and across disciplines.Design/methodology/approachFortyfour textbooks from six subdisciplines within management and psychology were content analyzed for the amount and accuracy of the material presented about Taylor and the extent to which key terms were included in these descriptions.FindingsThe data show that more information is provided in the management texts and the majority of the information conveyed across disciplines appears accurate.Research limitations/implicationsNot all textbooks were examined within all subdisciplines within management or psychology or all subdisciplines to which Taylor ostensibly contributed. Future research is needed to determine why Taylor is portrayed differently across texts.Practical implicationsResults have important teaching implications as they reveal how accurately textbooks portray one controversial historical figure and what students are learning. Students might be encouraged to consult original sources and information beyond the text. Textbook authors should be held accountable for the accuracy of the information in their texts and may find the comparison information informative. Instructors may find the results useful when selecting a new text.Originality/valueThis paper depicts variability in how historical figures are depicted in textbooks, which is an important part of management history education.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Payne, S. C., Youngcourt, S. S., & Watrous, K. M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Payne, Stephanie C||Youngcourt, Satoris S||Watrous, Kristen M

publication date

  • January 2006