Mary Parker Follett and Pragmatist Organization

Chris Ansell

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Mary Parker Follett and Pragmatist Organization

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business History



Although Mary Parker Follett's reputation rises and falls with academic and management fashion, she has established a fairly secure place in the pantheon of organization studies. As many have noted, her contributions are sometimes difficult to classify because of her strong interdisciplinarity. Her writings range across political science, democratic theory, management, public administration, conflict resolution, social psychology, and organization theory, and she can be fairly claimed by all these fields. Her work is often seen as having a prescient or ‘prophetic’ quality, in that she anticipated developments in many of these fields that came to prominence much later. The revival of interest in her work has often coincided with the attempt by these emerging fields to establish their intellectual pedigrees. This article argues that what remains powerful and exemplary about Follett's work is her attempt to provide, and work through, the implications of a basic philosophical perspective for the social sciences.

Keywords: Mary Parker Follett; organization studies; social sciences; philosophical perspective; organization theory; social psychology

Article.  10198 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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