Mary P. Follett: translating philosophy into a paradigm of lifelong learning

Manjula S. Salimath (Department of Management and Operations, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)
David J. Lemak (Department of Management and Operations, Washington State University, Tri‐Cities, Richland, Washington, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 1 December 2004


There is a divergence between the contributions of Mary Parker Follett on an intellectual plane and the practical application of her ideas and rationale. Apart from her unparagoned writing style, the obvious complexity of her abstract and interdisciplinary approach makes it extremely challenging to understand and apply her insights to achieve a harmonious organizational life. Yet, in her integrative mind, she viewed philosophy as directly related to action and reality. This paper reduces this divergence by translating her thoughts into practical guidelines for the manager, educator and researcher. The application of Follett's philosophy to a paradigm of lifelong learning and education, the key to lasting change (hitherto unexplored), is addressed, along with implications for the researcher. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to view the work of Follett through a new lens – that of advocate of lifelong learning. Two appendices list Follett's contribution to management thought and education.



Salimath, M. and Lemak, D. (2004), "Mary P. Follett: translating philosophy into a paradigm of lifelong learning", Management Decision, Vol. 42 No. 10, pp. 1284-1296.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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