The Red Taylorist: The Life and Times of Walter Nicholas Polakov
The Red Taylorist traces the adult life and works of Walter Polakov, focusing on his socialist scientific management ideals and the ways these were constrained by conventionality in the USA in the first half of twentieth century. Tracing Polakov's activities and achievements, this book explores the contradictions of a prolific writer, socialist engineer and scientific management ideologue in the decades until his death in 1948. Written from a management history scholarly perspective, it presents a unique and detailed viewpoint. There have been no prior biographies on Polakov, and very few on his fellow scientific managers, consulting engineers, or like-minded public intellectuals. Moreover, perceptions of scientific management or Taylorism have tended to emphasise the negative impacts on workers, whereas Polakov's socialist commitment suggests a much more nuanced approach. Aimed at scholars of management and history of management, Diana Kelly offers a detailed narrative of this important individual, while greatly enriching understanding of the broader historical and industrial context.