Saturday, August 14, 2010

White Collar Hobo: the Travels of Whiting Williams

Just finished reading an interesting book, White Collar Hobo: the Travels of Whiting Williams, about a prominent Cleveland-based national human relations counselor, whose client list in the first years of the 20th century read like the period's Fortune 500. He'd research (not spy upon) a company's labor force from the inside, adopting the manners & dress of its unskilled laborers and working alongside them secretly to find out what motivated them, what troubled them and what they really wanted from their job. He was famous in corporate circles then and his innovative ideas widely adopted, but since he wasn't writing for an academic audience (despite teaching part-time at Harvard and Dartmouth), his management philosophy was generally credited to later writers.

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