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Management as an integrating activity: A comparative textual analysis of the work of Mary Parker Follett and Oliver Sheldon

Sébastien Damart (Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University, CNRS, UMR, Paris, France)
Sonia Adam-Ledunois (Normandie Univ, UNIROUEN, UNICEAN, UNIHAVRE, NIMEC, Rouen, France)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 11 September 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to compare the contributions of two authors and practitioners from the 1920s whose work was, to a certain extent, at odds with the dominant scientific management approach of the period.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, a comparative textual analysis of texts written by Sheldon and Follett in the 1920s has been performed. This technique consists of a hierarchical descendant classification, which we use to uncover the thematic universes that Sheldon and Follett create in characterizing the fundamentals of management activity.

Findings

This comparative textual analysis shows that Follett and Sheldon developed two different ways of relying on a singular fundamental principle of management: integration.

Originality/value

A comparative analysis of Follett and Sheldon’s work has never been attempted. While textual analysis has been used in management research, to the authors’ knowledge, such analyses are rare in research seeking to understand management history.

Keywords

Citation

Damart, S. and Adam-Ledunois, S. (2017), "Management as an integrating activity: A comparative textual analysis of the work of Mary Parker Follett and Oliver Sheldon", Journal of Management History, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 452-470. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-04-2017-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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