Mary Parker Follett Has Been Described

1 January 2017

However, others have seen her as ahead of her time, and have even described her as ‘thoroughly modern’ (Hurst, 1992). What were Mary Parker Follett’s main contributions to management thought and practice; how do they relate to Classical management theory; and how are they relevant to practicing managers in contemporary organisations? ? Classical approach to management mainly concerned with the increasing the efficiency of workers and organisations based on management practices, which were an outcome of careful observation.

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Besides, administration principles are based on attempts to document and understand the experiences of successful managers’ (Management, p. 90). This essay will seek to some Mary Parker Follett’s main contributions to management thought and practice. It will also explain why Mary Parker Follett has been described as ‘thoroughly modern’ and an administrative theorist in the classical approach to management.

For example, the opinion of organisations based on the group behaviour has led to the idea of the self-managing team. “Integration” has become, in modern times, conflict resolution (Hurst, D. K, 1992, Business quarterly, p. 45). The aim of this essay is to determine that how her contributions relate to classical approach to management and also examine how they relevant to managers in contemporary organisations. The first section of this essay will examine Follett’s first contribution to managementis the importance of groups within organisation.

In societies we often think of the individual as being the opposite of the group, that groups negate individuality, but she acknowledged that groups are able to help society in general and achieve personal identity to improve the quality of group members’ lives, help to explain how people can work together effectively but with less risk of self-deceiving denials of power than occurs in our contemporary ideas about corporate culture and leadership. Follett had a clear idea of how a good boss helps people grow’ (The optimist: Mary Parker Follett, p. 103).

To Follett, an organisation cannot be successful if working without teamwork. Every member has their own unique opinion but each person’s opinion should be recognised. Therefore, all members need to combine their efforts to be successful. This contribution clearly relates to classical management theory, it relies on administration principles which concentrate on the management aspects such as teamwork. Integration is another increasingly important contribution in management; by this she found solutions to conflicts that were acceptable to both parties.

Follett said the conflicts existed in every organisation due to many different opinions between managers and workers. The conflicts are neither good nor bad but all depend on the knowledge of managers so they can be able to use or eliminate. ‘Follett viewed organisations as communities in which managers and workers should work in agreement, without one party dominating the other, and with the freedom to talk over and truly reconcile conflicts and difference.

Follett also thought differently than the other theorists of her day, discarding command-style hierarchical organisations where employees were treated like robots’ (Classical Schools of Management, 2012). She indicated three things to turn a conflict into a chance for changing and progress: ‘against compromise, domination and integration’ (Prophet of management, 1920, p. 20). Domination is the victory of one side over the other: it is not usually successful in the long run. Compromise means each part giving up something in order to have peace.

Integration is looking for a solution where the desires of both parts have a place, and neither side has to sacrifice anything. Follett thought that ‘only integration really stabilizes’ (Follett, 1940, p. 35). The third major contribution to the study of modern administrative behaviour is that she presented the concept of power with, not over. In other words power should be jointly developed between management and employees and not employed in a coercive way by management. Power is one of the problems in organisation.

Follett said that ‘the question of power was the central problem of social relations’ (Follett, 1930, p. 2). She did not think that power can be deputed but she believed in giving employees opportunities to gain his or her own power. Follett was only interested in studying how an organisation will give power while the others had been paid attention to the division of power and how to achieve it. She said: ‘So far as my observation has gone, it seems to me that whereas power usually means power-over, the power of some person or group over some other person or group, it is possible to develop the conception of power-with’ (Follett, 1940, p. 101).

Follett announced that only ‘power-with’ was acceptable. She explained this: “True power then is ‘power-with’ another, not ‘power-other’ another. Until everyone within an organisation realises that they are bound together, each will see only their own situation. “Power with” can only come from obedience to a single, shared situation(Dynamic Administration (DA), 1965, p. 100). Perhaps this is why managers in the 1970s seemed so powerless to implement their strategies.

They had ‘power over’ – but the strategies themselves did not generate ‘power with’. Mary Parker Follett, 1930) ‘Follett’s writings are probably most relevant to us today in her extensive discussions of leadership as an activity; she emphasises the sources of leadership in knowledge and experience rather than formal position” (Hurst, D. K, 1992, Business quarterly, p. 58). This is also her last contribution relevant to contemporary management problems. For Follett, managers are the important people in an organisation and leadership is a necessary management skill. The managers must have an intensive knowledge to show their orders are determined by the situation and a mind of great capacity to persuade other people.

The managers should be able to give their employees some facilities to learn how to control the situation and make a decision by themselves. “The leader must be able to lead us to wise decisions, not to impose his wise decisions upon us; we need leaders, not masters or drivers. Follett saw that life in an integrated group not only rewards the spirit but also inspires better work, giving corporate leaders a reason to want a group identify for their employees” (The New State, 1918 and The optimist: Mary Parker Follett, p. 123).

Follett is different far from the other theorists of her time. In classical management, leadership is also one of the important contributions in administrative principles. Her opinions about the group ethic, conflict, power, integration and leadership convince the modern organisations to change the management thoughts and actions. “Recognition of such interdependence is the basis of whatever genuine leadership it is possible for managers to exercise as a supplement to power rather than as a substitute for it” (The optimist: Mary Parker Follett, p. 28).

This essay here allows us to conclude that Mary Parker Follett has been described as ‘thoroughly modern’ and an administrative theorist in the classical approach to management. ‘Indeed, in practically every area when we begin to see the light, we find that Follett has already lit the pathway for us to follow” (Prophet of management, 1920, p. 31); her contributions about coordination,conflict, power and leadership have convinced many organisationstoday focused on the validity of psychological foundations in business management. Our modern organisation opinions are deeply influence by the human relations movement that was just getting underway near the end of Follett’s life”.

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