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Article

Mary Ann Feldheim

Coming from a long tradition of Quaker beliefs, Mary Parker Follett advocated for an integrative unity in the organization or state where members work together, consensus…

Abstract

Coming from a long tradition of Quaker beliefs, Mary Parker Follett advocated for an integrative unity in the organization or state where members work together, consensus is built, and power is shared. She applied her process of integration to management practices in both business and government. Parker Follettʼns communitarian ideas and philosophy of smaller more participative government have often run counter to administration and managementsʼn focus on regulation and centralized power. This has contributed to the benign neglect of Parker Follettʼns work in the administrative and management literature. Parker Follettʼns work has been lost and found repeatedly over the past half century. In the rapidly changing and uncertain times of the new millennium we need once again to rediscover her holistic and healing approach to administration and management.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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C. McLarney and Shelley Rhyno

This paper proposes the use of the model of visionary leadership adapted by this researcher from Westley and Mintzberg’s 1989 paper “Visionary leadership and strategic…

Abstract

This paper proposes the use of the model of visionary leadership adapted by this researcher from Westley and Mintzberg’s 1989 paper “Visionary leadership and strategic management” to view the work of Mary Parker Follet. The model augments Westley and Mintzberg’s model with much earlier work by Mary Parker Follett. Follett’s work on leadership, group membership, contribution, participation and co‐operation are as relevant to the study of human relations today as they were 70 years ago. The model highlights the elements of visionary leadership and group membership. This model was developed to place a framework on the many writings of Follett. The framework is fully discussed and is based on some of the work of Westley and Mintzberg.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 14 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article

Jane Whitney Gibson, Wei Chen, Erin Henry, John Humphreys and Yunshan Lian

The purpose of this paper is to take a look at significant contributions of Follett through the lens of critical biography to put her work in the context of her life…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to take a look at significant contributions of Follett through the lens of critical biography to put her work in the context of her life events, her mentors, and the other major influences on her work.

Design/methodology/approach

Critical biography is a qualitative method with which social historians research the individual scholar's or practitioner's critical incidents in life in order to explore and explain the subject's scholarly development and intellectual contributions, situated in the social and historical background of the subject.

Findings

Key theoretical contributions of Mary Parker Follett, which seemed ahead of her time and inexplicable given that she did not work in the private sector, are revealed to be linked to her educational, professional and personal experiences.

Research limitations/implications

Qualitative research in general and critical biography in particular are demonstrated to be the useful methods for providing context for management history. The limitation of author interpretation is recognized.

Practical implications

The current usefulness of Follett's ideas are demonstrated and a case is made for increasing management history coverage in today's business schools.

Originality/value

The paper offers a critical biography of Mary Parker Follett and provides a historical, social and political context for the evolution of her work.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article

Mark E. Mendenhall, James H. Macomber and Marc Cutright

The writings of Mary Parker Follett can inform the current debate regarding whether or not concepts from the field of nonlinear dynamics should be incorporated into the…

Abstract

The writings of Mary Parker Follett can inform the current debate regarding whether or not concepts from the field of nonlinear dynamics should be incorporated into the social sciences. The paper argues that Follett’s writings serve as an ideological bridge between these two camps, and also reflect a rich understanding of nonlinear dynamics in social phenomena. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications that Follett’s writings hold for social scientists today in the area of research methodology.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article

Lee D. Parker and Philip Ritson

The management profession has a long and well‐documented history adopting and abandoning “fads” promulgated by a series of thinkers, practitioners, and opinion leaders who…

Abstract

Purpose

The management profession has a long and well‐documented history adopting and abandoning “fads” promulgated by a series of thinkers, practitioners, and opinion leaders who enjoy a “guru” like status. The purpose of this paper shows that stereotyping contributes to the existence of this guru‐fad phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the characteristics of both management fads and the phenomenon of stereotyping with reference to two leading historical management practitioners and thinkers, Henri Fayol and Mary Parker Follett.

Findings

Drawing on the examples of Mary Parker Follett and Henri Fayol, it argues that the influence exerted by other management gurus and fads, such as Frederick Winslow Taylor's Scientific Management and Elton Mayo's Human Relations Movement, gave rise to a stereotyped view of both Follett and Fayol's work that prevented an accurate appraisal of their ideas.

Research limitations/implications

In addition, this paper notes that, while Follett and Fayol exhibited an extraordinary capacity to identify the very issues that have spawned many subsequent management fads, the contemporary management discipline's approach to both thinkers is quite different. While Follett has escaped her earlier stereotypes, allowing management thinkers a new opportunity to re‐assess her work and value its contemporary relevance, Fayol remains misclassified as a European Taylorist who has little to offer the contemporary management practitioner.

Originality/value

This paper provides an interesting insight into the characteristics of both management fads and the phenomenon of stereotyping.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 43 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article

Su Maddock and Marion Macalpine

Mary Parker Follett was an outstanding public intellectual of her day, both in the US and the UK. We have a lot to learn from her about the ‘democratic deficit’…

Abstract

Mary Parker Follett was an outstanding public intellectual of her day, both in the US and the UK. We have a lot to learn from her about the ‘democratic deficit’, leadership, participation, partnership and difference, that is relevant to key current concerns in the UK. Her thinking was based on her own extensive experience, observation and reflection, her ideas are profound, relevant and accessible for us today. In this article we signal her continuing significance in three areas: building democratic processes, leadership and ideas about complexity.

Details

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9886

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Article

Sébastien Damart and Sonia Adam-Ledunois

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…

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.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article

Brian R. Fry and Lotte L. Thomas

Examines the extent and nature of Mary Parker Follett’s contribution to the literature of public administration and related fields. First reviews the substantive…

Abstract

Examines the extent and nature of Mary Parker Follett’s contribution to the literature of public administration and related fields. First reviews the substantive contribution, and then employs a citation analysis to explore the frequency of references to Follett’s works and the areas in which they have had the greatest impact. The analysis suggests some relative neglect of Follett’s writings compared with other major authors in the field, but some recent resurgence of interest prompted largely by her focus on conflict resolution.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-252X

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Article

Laurie J. Barclay

To examine Mary Parker Follett's writings with respect to organizational justice and highlight insights that can advance contemporary organizational justice theory as well…

Abstract

Purpose

To examine Mary Parker Follett's writings with respect to organizational justice and highlight insights that can advance contemporary organizational justice theory as well as help justice scholars effectively address challenges currently facing the field.

Design/methodology/approach

By comparing and contrasting Follett's writings with contemporary research, the author argues that Follett provides a number of insights that can advance contemporary justice theory and research. Discusses ways in which the field can capitalize on these insights.

Findings

Follett foreshadowed a number of important justice issues that have subsequently captured the attention of contemporary justice scholars. More importantly, her process‐oriented perspective suggests a number of research avenues that have yet to be fully explored including emotionality of injustice, integrative unity, and circular responses. In order to take advantage of Follett's insights, however, contemporary justice researchers may need to re‐examine current assumptions about: the nature of organizational justice; the way that it should be studied; and the relationship between theory and practice.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to examine Follett's writings in the context of organizational justice. Although the field of organizational justice has not yet recognized Follett's work, her writings deal both explicitly and implicitly with the concept of justice in considerable depth. Not only does Follett foreshadow contemporary research, but her writings also provide alternative avenues for theory development and research.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 43 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article

Manjula S. Salimath and David J. Lemak

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 42 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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