“When the accomplishment of a department is the result of a feeling of joint responsibility on the part of all concerned that accomplishment is likely to be of a higher grade.”
Subordinates should not follow directions blindly, should not possess attitude of quarrelling, of finding fault, of thinking things from above wrong.
Instead subordinate’s attitude should be of intelligent, something willingness to suggest changes courtesy in the Mary Parker Follett manners of suggesting changes, and no prejudice in the manner in which an order is prescribed but the assumption that the way prescribed is probably the best unless one can show some convincing reason to the contrary.
Arbitrary commands and blind obedience break initiative discourage self-reliance and lower self-respect. There are, according to Ms. Follett, four ways of avoiding such disasters.
1. Depersonalize orders.
2. Training to replace orders as far as possible by teaching the technique of a job.
3. To give reasons with the order.
4. To take measures that all shall know the purpose or purposes of factory, shop of bank, the purpose back of all directions.
“Orders come from the work, not work from the orders.” They have their roots in the activities of the people who are obeying them. Obedience is not a passive thing, for it is a moment in the process.
“Cooperation should be sought in the preliminary study of situations, reasons for policies discussed, the purposes of the company explained, reactions anticipated and training provided.”
Conflict and Co-operation:
To Follett conflict was neither good nor bad. It was the expression of divergent interests, different opinions which can manifest themselves any where in life where one human being deals with another.
She compared conflict to friction; an engineering problem which one understood seldom remained insuperable and was, in fact, often a help. Management, in its turn, must know when to eliminate human friction and when to use it.
When the conflict is an expression of diversity of approach, of varying environment rich in experience, there should always be an attempt to find a new synthesis, looking at conflict in such a constructive way often takes management a good deal of the way towards solving them.
It constitutes a positive approach, a search for a totally new way of viewing a situation. Two method of dealing with conflict were rejected by Follett domination and compromise. Settlements based on domination were unsatisfactory and based on only one view of the situation.
Compromise was equally unsatisfactory although it was frequently used manner of ending the conflict. Follett criticised compromise because of the thought that nobody wants to compromise because that means the giving up of something.
Integration, Follett believed, was more profitable as compared to domination and compromise.
Leadership and Progressive Organization:
To be effective, Follett felt that leadership must not be autocratic. The administrator should not think solely of what effect he will have on the group, but also what influence the group will have on him. There is a two-way-traffic. The leader must integrate, and not merely give orders.
Follett applied this constructive approach to leadership to the theory of checks and balance, the foundation of the American constitution. She felt that American system was a compromise and not the one conducive to creative leadership. In its place she wished to see multiple leadership based on integrative thinking, adapting to the evolving situation.
She criticized the concept of leader as a man taking quick decisions. To Follett the secret of leadership was the art of thinking ahead. One aspect of planning and thinking ahead is the ability to integrate the conflicting demands of the specialist and the general manager. Administrator must provide creative leadership.
Administrator should discharge the greatest responsibility in linking activities of various parts. Leadership is not the product of position, but of knowledge. Effective leadership is functional based on knowledge.