Short Biography of Mary Parker Follett

Mary Parker Follett had lectured in newly formed department of business administration at the London School of administration Economics in 1933. She loved to be a London School while speaking to the students. She herself narrated her experiences in these lines:

“Certain changes have been going on in business practice which is destined, I believed, to alter our thinking fundamentally this is the contribution which business world but eventually to Government by helping to solve the problems of human relations.

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They are perhaps destined to lead the world in the solution of those great problems of coordination and control upon which our future progress must depend.”

Mary Parker Follett was born in Boston in 1868 of an old Quincy Massachusetts family. She received her secondary schooling at Thayer Academy at Brain tree. At Brain tree she met a brilliant teacher of History-Anna Boynton Thompson, who taught history at Thayer academy.

Her encounter with a brilliant teacher of History and Political Science of Harvard University changed her inclination from History to Political Science. Professor Albert Bushnell Hart encouraged her to get registered at Harvard’s Annexe for women in 1888 “a time when Professor Hart was getting interested in the problem of United States Congress Speaking.

Earlier she was educated at Radcliff College and Newnham College, Cambridge. She studied politics, economics, philosophy and law. While at Newham College, she submitted to its Historical society, her first ever written paper to be published later entitled: The speaker of the House of Commons representatives.

In 1896, Miss Follett published a full length book: The Speaker of the House of Representatives. This publication established Mary Follett as a serious student of legislative and political institutions.

At the age of 32, after graduation from Radcliffe, returned to Boston, began a career of public service. It was initially a debating society but it soon extended its activities to a series of social centres in poor areas.

She was the main campaigner to utilize school building during evening for recreational activities of the youth. It was in a way extended Use of School Buildings. She later got interested in vocational guidance, after a visit to Edinburgh, which she grafted on to the social centres in Boston.

Because of Miss Follett’s interest, Municipal Department of Vocational guidance was introduced in Boston in 1917. In the closing years of her life she visited London, when she had “first real contact with administration and problems of business and industry.

It marked a shift in her interests from political analysis to a concern with industrial relations: she brought in her, powers of scholarship and reflection to elucidate practical problems.”

Mary Parker Follett’s interest in social work gave her impetus to write her first important book: ‘The New State’ in which she forcefully advocated for a better ordered and controlled society.

In 1924, she published her second major work: ‘Creative Experience’; in this book she developed the idea of all psychological phenomena involved in human relations. The problem of conflict became one of her abiding interests. As a solution to conflict she advocated integration.