The Mary Parker Follett Network

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. - MPF

I really want to see a conference organized for 2015. In case anyone wants to know how it can be done, here's how I organized a Follett conference more than 10 years ago, with no experience in organizing conferences:

(1) I adopted a tentative format, name, etc. for the conference. It happened to be inspired by the Asilomar Conversation Conference approach I'd experienced in 1996-1999, which I still feel is the most useful and powerful. I called it "Follett Conversation on Creative Democracy," since that seemed the essence of her ideas and work.

(2) I found a place that had meeting rooms, food, etc., availability of space, how much it would cost to pay for those rooms, food, etc. This place happened to be a university. I also considered retreat centers.

(3) I sent out a "Call for Themes and Participants" to every Follett fan I knew of, plus any organizations, bulletin boards, etc. who might represent people interested in a Follett Conversation. In parallel to this, a system was set up to accept registration payments, process, send receipts.

(4) Once we had teams/themes in hand, those were sent out to the world in another announcement, so people could find each other and begin working with their groups ahead of time.

(5) It all came together.

(6) We send out a "Proceedings" with the various teams' follow-up papers.

This Follett network is approaching 400 participants. Surely we can get a good level of attendance for an event next year!

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I would love to see another Follett conference!

Yes, I would be interested in the Spring or Summer 2015 to attend a Follett conference. 

Hi Matthew,

A conference in 2015 ? I will be there for sure. I realized these last 4 years how useful and stimulating it was, for our community to meet and discuss about Follett's ideas. As you know it Matthew, we organized two meetings these last 4 years about Follett: the first one in Boston in 2011 and a second one in Rouen, in 2012. Each time, between 15 and 30 participants from a large range of countries. At the end of each meeting, a lot of projects, a lot of interesting perspectives.

hello Matthew,

I am attending an education conference (HERDSA- Higher Education Research and Development Society Australasia) in July 7-10, Hong Kong. I will be hosting a roundtable discussion on Mary and her contributions to education in particular and am interested in gauging who knows about her or is interested in learning more.

So will use some salient quotes as discussion starters. I also am developing quite a list of references!

If you have any powerful questions or extra special quotes that are good for discussion starters please let me know. I am new to this network and to Mary... and it was only yesterday that this session was confirmed!

I also will raise the proposal for a conference, but was thinking 2018, as a major year centenary since her first publication interim conference in 2015 is also worthwhile considering to build momentum...

The title of my roundtable presentation is Remembering Mary: progress in education - proposal for major conference 2018. I make some connections to two other Marys- Wollstonecraft and W Shelley who published Frankenstein in 1818.

Let's keep in touch and see how things shape up after July,

Best regards


I'd also be interested! I've now been through Human Systems Dynamics training and I'd like to engage again with MPF's and be able to bring my  complexity and chaos theory questions/thoughts. I really enjoyed the 2012 gathering in France and would enjoy another rendezvous!

Given a year's lead time, MAYBE this can be organized by the fall of 2015. We'd need a committed team of volunteers to be able to make that happen. Key tasks: identifying and selecting a venue, and later coordinating logistics with the owner of that venue; conducting outreach for participants; collecting conference fees, paying conference expenses; and maintaining process of teams of participants (if we use the Conversation approach).

I am wondering if the MPF Network members would be interested in the 10th International Whitehead Conference in June 2015 in Claremont, CA. The track on Governance and Public Administration will be highly focused on Follett because she has been the primary source of process philosophy for scholars with this focus. It is sort of a conference within a conference and I am a co-chair of that track. If you are interested, check for updates as the program develops:


A conference within a conference might make sense and pull together new people, the structure in place would be helpful. I am interested.

Suzanne, continue to check the conference site (link provided above) and I will post things here as they develop.

I, too, am very interested in a conference and would be also interested in helping to set it up.  My experience with these kinds of things, is that you need a committee of dedicated volunteers to get things going and as Mathew Shapiro states, this just maybe possible to do, although time is very short.

It might also make sense to encourage people to attend the Whitehead Conference in California with its track on MPF and then organize something specifically on her and her work in 2018.  Really, in this kind of thing, not that far away!

I might add, I live in Yellow Springs, Ohio, home of Antioch College.  Douglas McGregor was president here in the late 1940's and others in the MPF "Group". who attended Antioch were Warren Bennis and Theodore Levitt.   Possibly we could "host".

Dear Matthew,

it is a very good idea to organize a conference. I would like to come.

Do you have yet a fix date for the conference?

Thanks for your answer.

Marlies W. Fröse from Switzerland

Hello everyone... please see the attached pdfs and conference website:

Section X has the track on governance and public administration where Follett will figure prominently. Our focus is on how process thought can reshape these activities toward a more sustainable, flourishing future.

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