Examining the Work of Mary Parker Follett through the Lens of Critical Biography
Journal of Management History
ISSN or ISBN
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.
Gibson, Jane Whitney; Chen, W.; Henry, E.; and Humphreys, John, "Examining the Work of Mary Parker Follett through the Lens of Critical Biography" (2013). HCBE Faculty Articles. 197.