Interpretations of scientific management usually conflate the entire system with its technical features, particularly as these relate to the economic determinism of incentive wage payment schemes or deskilling. This has served to limit consideration of Taylor's strategies for social integration and/or cultural control. In this context it has been relatively easy for theorists to present scientific management as an outmoded form of technical control, which lacks current relevance. The following paper is intended to rescue Taylor's ‘philosophy’ from obscurity in order to show that its long-term significance has been far greater than that of its various methods. It will be argued that a re-evaluation of this philosophy provides insight into the ideological trajectory of the strategies associated with the advocacy of cultural change in organizations and human resource management.