Mary Parker Follett

Mary Parker Follett (3 September 1868 Ц 18 December 1933) was an American social worker, management consultant and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behavior. She also authored a number of books and numerous essays, articles and speeches on democracy, human relations, political philosophy, psychology, organizational behavior and conflict resolution. Along with Lillian Gilbreth, Mary Parker Follett was one of two great women management gurus in the early days of classical management theory. She admonished overmanaging employees, a process now known as micromanaging, as УbossismФ and she is regarded by some writers as the УmotherФ of Scientific Management. As such she was one of the first women ever invited to address the London School of Economics, where she spoke on cutting-edge management issues. She also distinguished herself in the field of management by being sought out by President Theodore Roosevelt as his personal consultant on managing not-for-profit, non-governmental, and voluntary organizations. In her capacity as a management theorist, Mary Parker Follett pioneered the understanding of lateral processes within hierarchical organizations (which recognition led directly to the formation of matrix-style organizations, the first of which was DuPont, in the 1920s), the importance of informal processes within organizations, and the idea of the "authority of expertise"--which really served to modify the typology of authority developed by her German contemporary, Max Weber, who broke authority down into three separate

categories: rational-legal, traditional and charismatic. Follett was born in Massachusetts and spent much of her early life there. In September 1885 she enrolled in Anna Ticknor's Society to Encourage Studies at Home. In 1898 she graduated from Radcliffe College, but was denied a doctorate at Harvard on the grounds that she was a woman.[citation needed] Over the next three decades, however, she published many works, including: The Speaker of the House of Representatives (1896) The New State (1918) Creative Experience (1924) The Giving of Orders (1926) Dynamic Administration (1942) (this collection of speeches and short articles was published posthumously). She recognized the holistic nature of community and advanced the idea of "reciprocal relationships" in understanding the dynamic aspects of the individual in relationship to others. Follett advocated the principle of what she termed "integration," or noncoercive power-sharing based on the use of her concept of "power with" rather than "power over." Her ideas on negotiation, power, and employee participation were highly influential in the development of the fields of organizational studies, alternative dispute resolution, and the Human Relations Movement.[citation needed] Follett contributed greatly to the win-win philosophy, coining the term in her work with groups. Her approach to conflict was to embrace it as a mechanism of diversity and an opportunity to develop integrated solutions rather than simply compromising. She was also a pioneer in the establishment of community centers.