Mary Parker Follett

Mary Parker Follett (3 September 1868 – 18 December 1933) was an American social worker, management consultant, philosopher and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behavior. Along with Lillian Gilbreth, she was one of two great women management experts in the early days of classical management theory. She has been called the “Mother of Modern Management”.[2] Instead of emphasizing industrial and mechanical components, she advocated for what she saw as the far more important human element, regarding people as the most valuable commodity present within any business. She was one of the first theorists to actively write about and explore the role people had on effective management, and discuss the importance of learning to deal with and promote positive human relations as a fundamental aspect of the industrial sector.[3]

Life

Follett was born in 1868 in Quincy, Massachusetts, to a wealthy Quaker family. Her family was composed of Charles Allen Follett, a machinist in a local shoe factory, and Elizabeth Curtis (née Baxter) Follett, respectively of English-Scottish and Welsh descent, and a younger brother. Follett attended Thayer Academy, a collegiate preparatory day school in Braintree, Massachusetts, and spent much of her free time caring for her disabled mother. In September 1885 she enrolled in Anna Ticknor‘s Society to Encourage Studies at Home.[4]

From 1890 to 91, she studied at the University of Cambridge and then moved to study at Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women in Cambridge (later known as Radcliffe College).[5] For the next six years, Follett attended the university on an irregular basis, eventually graduating summa cum laude in 1898. Her Radcliffe thesis, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, was published in 1896. She would go on to apply to Harvard but would be denied entrance to the university on the basis that she was a woman.[6]

Over the next three decades, she published many works. 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 US President Theodore Roosevelt as his personal consultant on managing not-for-profit, nongovernmental, and voluntary organizations.[7]

Follett died in 1933 in BostonMassachusetts.

Ideas and influences

Mary Parker Follet defined management as “the art of getting things done through people“. Follett’s educational and work background would shape and influence her future theories and writings. One of her earliest career positions would see her working as a social worker in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston from 1900 to 1908. During this period her interactions with the Roxbury community would lead her to realize the importance of community spaces as areas to meet and socialize.[8]

Her experience in developing vocational guidance and evening programs in public schools, she would develop what would be her life’s work and her theories in group dynamics. “The New State,” her second writing published in 1918, would evolve from a report into her second published work. This publication would go on to lay the foundational theories for her most important theories and become a major center of attention of her career.[9]

By participating in local recreational, educational, and advocacy groups Parker developed her ideals of participatory democracy and her ideals of society as “integrative.” Observing people led Parker to believe that the boundaries of a person’s identities are porous, affected by the society around them, which, in turn, is affected by the identities of the people within it. Thus the self and the society, according to Parker, are in a cycle in which they constantly help to create one another.[10]

Organizational theory

In her capacity as a management theorist, Follett pioneered the understanding of lateral processes within hierarchical organizations (their 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.[11]

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.”[12]

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.[13] She was also a pioneer in the establishment of community centers.

Writings

Follett’s unique background often led her to take positions on major issues that mediated between the conventional viewpoints. In The New State, she took the position on societal change that:

It is a mistake to think that social progress is to depend upon anything happening to the working people: some say that they are to be given more material goods and all will be well; some think they are to be given more “education” and the world will be saved. It is equally a mistake to think that what we need is the conversion to “unselfishness” of the capitalist class.[14]

Likewise, her position on the labor movement was as follows:

Neither working for someone nor paying someone’s wages ought to give you power over them.[15]

Transformational leadership

Ann Pawelec Deschenes (1998) found obscure reference pointing to Mary Parker Follett having coined the term “transformational leadership“. She quotes from Edith A. Rusch’s The Social Construction of Leadership: From Theory to Praxis (1991):

…writings and lectures by Mary Parker Follett from as early as 1927 contained references to transformational leadership, the interrelationship of leadership and followership, and the power of collective goals of leaders and followers (p. 8).

Burns makes no reference to Follett in Leadership. However, Rusch was able to trace what appear to be parallel themes in the works of Burns and Follett. Rusch presents direct references in Appendix A. Pawelec (Deschenes) found further parallels of transformational discourse between Follett’s (1947, 1987) work and Burns (1978).[citation needed]

From The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett (p. 247): “Moreover, we have now to lay somewhat less stress than formerly on this matter of the leader influencing his group because we now think of the leader as also being influenced by his group.”[12]

Influence

Although most of Follett’s writings remained known in very limited circles until republished at the beginning of this[which?] decade, her ideas gained great influence after Chester Barnard, a New Jersey Bell executive and advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, published his seminal treatment of executive management, The Functions of the Executive. Barnard’s work, which stressed the critical role of “soft” factors such as “communication” and “informal processes” in organizations, owed a telling but undisclosed debt to Follett’s thought and writings. Her emphasis on such soft factors paralleled the work of Elton Mayo at Western Electric’s Hawthorne Plant, and presaged the rise of the Human Relations Movement, as developed through the work of such figures as Abraham MaslowKurt LewinDouglas McGregorChris Argyris and other breakthrough contributors to the field of Organizational Development or “OD”.[16]

Her influence can also be seen indirectly perhaps in the work of Ron Lippitt, Ken Benne, Lee Bradford, Edie Seashore and others at the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine, where T-Group methodology was first theorized and developed.[17] Follett’s work set the stage for a generation of effective, progressive changes in management philosophy, style, and practice, revolutionizing and humanizing the American workplace and allowing the fulfillment of Douglas McGregor’s management vision of quantum leaps in productivity. effected through the humanization of the workplace.[18]

Legacy

After her death, her work and ideas would disappear from American organizational and management circles of the time but continue to gain followership in Great Britain. In the last decades, her work has been rediscovered. During the 1960s, her ideas would re-emerge in Japan, where management thinkers would apply her theories to business.[citation needed]

Management theorist Warren Bennis said of Follett’s work, “Just about everything written today about leadership and organizations comes from Mary Parker Follett’s writings and lectures.”[19]

Her texts outline modern ideas under participatory management: decentralized decisions, integrating role of groups, and competition authority. Follett managed to reduce the gap between the mechanistic approach and contemporary approach that emphasizes human behavior.[20]

Her advocacy for schools to be used after hours for recreational and vocational use affected the Boston area, where schools opened their doors after hours for such uses, and community centers were built where schools were not located, which was a revolutionary concept during the 20th century. Her experience working in that area taught her a lot about notions of democracy and led her to write more for a wider audience, particularly the business world. She believed that good practice in business would have a significant impact on other institutions.[18]

Follett’s legacy has been recognized by the establishment, in 1992, of the annual Mary Parker Follett Award for the outstanding paper to appear each year in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. The award citation states that it is named “in memory of a pioneering woman in the field of management and accountability literature who was international and interdisciplinary in her approach.”[21]

“Fake Alpha” Narcissists vs True Alphas

Authority vs Competence

Force an Agenda vs Gives Time to Buy into an Agenda

Unearned Loyalty vs Earned Byproduct of Relationship

Thin-skinned vs Understanding Difference.  Thick Skinned

Cult based on their Personal Preference vs Solid Ideas

Insistence vs Patient Planning & Process, dealing with problems that come up

Demand Obedience vs Creativity & Diversity

Desperate for Agreement vs Confident

Bullying, Threats, Name Calling, Derision vs Assertiveness with decency. Allows others Dignity

Has to be on top, Concerned with Rank vs Common Good

Self-impressed vs Humble

Exploitative vs Lifting Others Up

Appearance of Success vs Essence, Lets my Inner Being Speak

Angry Under Pressure vs Calm under Pressure

 

Short-term Brute Force

 

Life isn’t all about me.  Life is about Us

DRC: dignity, respect, civility

Donald Trump Promises to Dominate Jesus Christ

Donald Trump thanks Wendy’s for their donation and then says he would beat up Jesus if he got in his way.

Transcript

00:00
so no thank you were very happy with the
00:03
donation from Wendy’s okay and you know
00:06
it’s it’s a nice thing because I tell
00:09
you Wendy was not so hot okay they
00:11
wouldn’t use a cartoon of her if she was
00:13
if she was like a hot redhead okay like
00:15
you know the one from Mad Men that’s a
00:17
great that’s a little thick for me but
00:20
you know that’s that’s a redhead if
00:23
Wendy looked like her it was Joan you
00:27
think they’d be using the cartoon now
00:29
they’d be putting like her breasts as
00:31
the logo for the show but instead Wendy
00:34
you know but we take the money we
00:35
appreciate even though Wendy was not so
00:37
hot and but I’m having a great time with
the evangelicals they’re great great
people they I think that I think they
liked it when I had deer gassed
everybody away from the church so I
could stand and hold a Bible I don’t
think the evangelicals who support me I
don’t even think they’d like Jesus if he
was here first of all he’s like Middle
Eastern so broadly a terrorist and he’d
be talking love and peace and all this
very weak ok very weak person let me
tell you something if Jesus was in front
of that church last night I would have
punched him right in the face I mean I
would have really you know I would have
sent a strong message you got to
dominate when a guy when the Brent’s off
base and that’s what they call him I
don’t think he’s dead he’s I mean he was
no real Prince but but we love Him we
love you know Jesus
bla bla bla but I got to tell you when
he was no Prince it was a very weak guy
and you send a strong message if a guy
tries to step in front he and he goes
himself the Prince of Peace or the king
of the Jews which we all know is Bibi
Netanyahu great guy
that’s a tough that’s a that’s a Jewish
person that can lead but if you punch
Jesus right in the face in front of all
those protesters they know you mean
business you got to dominate when a
peaceful Son of God shows up you got to
dominate or else all of a sudden they’re
gonna follow him so I would have punched
Jesus right in the mouth but these
evangelicals they’re so stupid they are
the ones that support me anyway I think
they just won all the Old Testament
nastiness which I love but without any
other like niceness of the New Testament
so I think it’s great I think we do
very strong and we’re dominating and
it’s a good thing so we’ll see what
happens

If We Had a Real Leader

Imagining Covid under a normal president.

This week I had a conversation that left a mark. It was with Mary Louise Kelly and E.J. Dionne on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and it was about how past presidents had handled moments of national mourning — Lincoln after Gettysburg, Reagan after the Challenger explosion and Obama after the Sandy Hook school shootings.

The conversation left me wondering what America’s experience of the pandemic would be like if we had a real leader in the White House.

If we had a real leader, he would have realized that tragedies like 100,000 Covid-19 deaths touch something deeper than politics: They touch our shared vulnerability and our profound and natural sympathy for one another.

In such moments, a real leader steps outside of his political role and reveals himself uncloaked and humbled, as someone who can draw on his own pains and simply be present with others as one sufferer among a common sea of sufferers.

If we had a real leader, she would speak of the dead not as a faceless mass but as individual persons, each seen in unique dignity. Such a leader would draw on the common sources of our civilization, the stores of wisdom that bring collective strength in hard times.

Lincoln went back to the old biblical cadences to comfort a nation. After the church shooting in Charleston, Barack Obama went to “Amazing Grace,” the old abolitionist anthem that has wafted down through the long history of African-American suffering and redemption.

In his impromptu remarks right after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy recalled the slaying of his own brother and quoted Aeschylus: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

If we had a real leader, he would be bracingly honest about how bad things are, like Churchill after the fall of Europe. He would have stored in his upbringing the understanding that hard times are the making of character, a revelation of character and a test of character. He would offer up the reality that to be an American is both a gift and a task. Every generation faces its own apocalypse, and, of course, we will live up to our moment just as our ancestors did theirs.

If we had a real leader, she would remind us of our common covenants and our common purposes. America is a diverse country joined more by a common future than by common pasts. In times of hardships real leaders re-articulate the purpose of America, why we endure these hardships and what good we will make out of them.

After the Challenger explosion, Reagan reminded us that we are a nation of explorers and that the explorations at the frontiers of science would go on, thanks in part to those who “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

At Gettysburg, Lincoln crisply described why the fallen had sacrificed their lives — to show that a nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” can long endure and also to bring about “a new birth of freedom” for all the world.

Of course, right now we don’t have a real leader. We have Donald Trump, a man who can’t fathom empathy or express empathy, who can’t laugh or cry, love or be loved — a damaged narcissist who is unable to see the true existence of other human beings except insofar as they are good or bad for himself.

But it’s too easy to offload all blame on Trump. Trump’s problem is not only that he’s emotionally damaged; it is that he is unlettered. He has no literary, spiritual or historical resources to draw upon in a crisis.

All the leaders I have quoted above were educated under a curriculum that put character formation at the absolute center of education. They were trained by people who assumed that life would throw up hard and unexpected tests, and it was the job of a school, as one headmaster put it, to produce young people who would be “acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.”

Think of the generations of religious and civic missionaries, like Frances Perkins, who flowed out of Mount Holyoke. Think of all the Morehouse Men and Spelman Women. Think of all the young students, in schools everywhere, assigned Plutarch and Thucydides, Isaiah and Frederick Douglass — the great lessons from the past on how to lead, endure, triumph or fail. Only the great books stay in the mind for decades and serve as storehouses of wisdom when hard times come.

Right now, science and the humanities should be in lock step: science producing vaccines, with the humanities stocking leaders and citizens with the capacities of resilience, care and collaboration until they come. But, instead, the humanities are in crisis at the exact moment history is revealing how vital moral formation really is.

One of the lessons of this crisis is that help isn’t coming from some centralized place at the top of society. If you want real leadership, look around you.

Dave Ramsey: Leaders Eat Last

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06:00
went off on a rabbit hole but anyway the
leaders the first thing that’s going to
happen in this in this organization is
the Ramseys will not get paid our names
on the building that’s the first thing
that will happen before I lay is sold
off and the second thing will happen is
our leaders in the operating board are
not going to get paid and by the way
they’re all okay with that and the third
thing that will happen is we’ve had a
whole bunch of volunteers at the next
level down that of leadership that says
I’m okay I can make it for 30 days also
get a paycheck too if it means we don’t
have to lay people off those are real
leaders they’re putting themselves ahead
they’re putting their team I had the
team’s good ahead of themselves
leadership generally sucks you’re
constantly having make bad decisions
with I mean make good decisions with bad
information and partial knowledge of
what’s going on and you got to make the
call
anyway it’s high-stress people’s
feelings are involved and no one
appreciates it but you got to do it
anyway that’s what leadership is the
leadership is going first on the hard
things if you don’t go you’re not you’re
not leading it’s not going first on the
upside it’s going first on the downside
and assuming the risk and absorbing that
so the team doesn’t have to right Ken
yeah well I think a lot of people taking
these loans are following everybody else
well everybody else is doing I’m gonna
do it again let’s break this thing about
my finesse my planner who makes less
than I make is advising me right my
accountant who you know does not has
never made a payroll in his life except
is one secretary is advising me on how
to run this business no no absolutely
not
do not take these loans out yeah you’re
going to create problems that you don’t
see yet a hundred percent chance of that
you don’t have to be a rocket scientist
to figure this out as my buddy Larry
Chapman says it ain’t rocket surgery so
I mean it’s just you know guys please
please there’s two problems here one is
is that you’re counting on debt to be
your supplier you’re your provider the
second thing is you’re waiting on the
government to be your provider neither
one of these turn out to be good
providers you come up with that is to
create revenues fresh and different and
digitally in the middle of this mess go
do something special and new even if
you’re just doing it for 30 days that
you’ve never done before and you may
never do again cut your own pay preserve
cache preserve cache preserve cache sell
off assets and protect your people
protect your people
that’s what you do well and if we have
to furlough them you’re gonna cry while
you do it and not take a paycheck to be
clear and you said this this morning in
our meeting you said at the end of the
day if it came down to it after doing
all that and you should do all those
things first we would have to do layoffs
before we take on debt on principle I’m
not one not on principle because I think
it’s the shortest way to healing it’s
the best way to run an organization
because it’s the most profitable and
it’s the smartest it’s the wisest avoid
the stinking debt please guys please and
you can be mad at me and you make fun of
me some dinosaur if you want but I’m
sitting here freaking open – so shut up