Mary Parker Follett--prophet of Management: A Celebration of Writings from the 1920s

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Mary Parker Follett, Pauline Graham
Harvard Business School Press, 1995 - Business & Economics - 309 pages
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Though Mary Parker Follett died in 1933, her philosophy of business organization and management is echoed in companies today where quality circles employee empowerment, and more horizontal organizational structures built on networks and relationships have been adopted with impressive results. Ahead of her time in the 1920s and 1930s, Follett was a political scientist, social work pioneer, speaker, and advisor to leaders concerned with labor-management relations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her advocacy of conflict as a constructive and creative means of problem solving and her general criticism of strict hierarchical structures in business organizations ran counter to the administrative dictates of the post-World War II era. Accordingly, her insights were neglected in the years following her death, and much of her work fell out of print. In Mary Parker Follett - Prophet of Management, editor Pauline Graham presents a selection of Follett's remarkable writings, culled from all her work, including her lectures. These, delivered between 1925 and 1933, provide a fascinating perspective on critical management topics that have continued relevance for managers today: conflict, power, authority, leadership, control, the role of the individual in the group, and the place of business in society. This collection brings together an eminent group of management experts from four continents and two generations who celebrate their own good fortune in having encountered Mary Parker Follett in the decades when her work was uncovered primarily through library research. Commentaries by Warren Bennis, John Child, Angela Dumas, Tokihiko Enomoto, Henry Mintzberg, Nitin Nohria, and Sir Peter Parker accompanyFollett's own words. Their reflections underscore the contemporary significance of Follett's ideas and testify to the excitement of discovering eloquence and truth in the observations of a brilliant thinker who continues to lead the way in her espousal of business as a social institution. During her twenty-five-year career in social work, which preceded her second calling as business advisor and management theorist, Follett published two important books whose titles bear witness to the contemporary nature of her concerns: The New State-Group Organization the Solution of Popular Government (1918) and Creative Experience (1924). Always the keen observer of organizational and political phenomena (her undergraduate study, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, drew praise from Theodore Roosevelt), Follett understood that in a democratic society, leaders derive their authority from the people. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter points out in her preface to this collection, Follett's enduring contribution to organization theory stems from her conviction that relationships in organizations, based on mutual understanding and respect, are essential to effective management. Mary Parker Follett - Prophet of Management is indispensable for everyone involved in the study or practice of management. Kanter's preface, an introduction by Peter Drucker, and an epilogue by Paul Lawrence frame the book and guide the reader in understanding the historical and present-day significance of Follett's concepts and policy prescriptions.

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Contents

Mary Parker Follett Prophet of Management
1
A Pioneering Life
11
The Circular Response
35
Copyright

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