The Mary Parker Follett Network

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

Network members Francois Heon and Emmanuel Grouton have taken the initiative to organize a a Follett-inspired gathering, with the agreed date of October 14-15, 2011, and location in the Boston area. This discussion focuses on the details of that gathering. 


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Albie!!!!!

 

Yeahhhh!!!

 

:)

 

François

 

Hi everyone,

 

I love your suggestions Albie. I agree, a good living room with a fireplace would be an excellent environment. I also find the B&B option interesting. I'm in. The vision of the barn is very alluring but I will probably not have the time after the weekend... Thanks.

 

Here is a suggestion of a possible schedule (please feel free to co-create):

Friday October 14.

Opening evening. Discovering our interests for MPF 

 

Saturday October 15 (am)

  • Opening
  • Workshops/presentations
  • Plenary

Lunch

 

Saturday October 15 (pm)

  • Workshops/presentations
  • Plenary

 

Visit and supper

 

Sunday October 16 (am):

Concluding session

  •  What have we learned?
  •  The future
  • The network

 

François

Hi François and all,

 

I toss on the table a Follett approach toward our own time together.  In a sense, throughout the first four pages of this conference thread, we (me joining of late) have been hinting at what Follett had come to believe.  When working with groups, she was using a spiral diagram.  This unpublished diagram  was written up by Richard Clarke Cabot after Follett died. The Meaning of Right and Wrong (1936.)  Cabot, a medical doctor and Porfessor of Social Ethics at Harvard University, also played the violin, as I recall, thus his reference to musical groups.  I'm going to paste in the page where he illustrates the elements that lead to cooperative growth in groups.  Joan Tonn write up these concepts in pages 438-439 of her MPF biography, "Participation as a Means of Evoking, Interacting, Integrating, and Emerging."

 

In a second reply box, I'd like to offer a metaphor created by Anna Boynton Thomaston which I actually used at a seminar on Mary Parker Follett that I gave at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School at the time on the impending impeachment of President Clinton.  This one worked really well in a group of about 40 people interested in mediation and negotiation.

 

Albie

Hello again, it's Albie with a second approach toward our meeting together.  

 

This one comes straight from Anna Boynton Thompson, Follett's middle and high school teacher who remained her life-long friend.  They attended Radcliffe at the same time.  

 

Anna, in order to help us understand her view of Fichte's philosophy, asks us to:

 

  • Imagine a glass globe whose circumference is filled with millions of eyes all looking inward.  
  • All the eyes see the same content, though each from its own special point; 
  • and into the view of each eye the view of the others is received, though from its own particular angle
  • Now, suppose that the substance of the globe, instead of glass, is merely the sight projeced from each eye,
  • that without the eyes and their sight nothing whatsoever of the globe would exist.
  • We then have in the globe a unity of blended individuals where the individuals may be looked upon as essential,
  • for without them, there is nothing; individuality is all that there is,
  • and the ultimate reality is a blending of all individualities.

At Harvard Law School when I used Anna's metaphor and asked the group to experiment with it in a literal way, the image I put up on the screen for them to view was of Monica Lewinsky in her beret, giving President Clinton a hug. The photo was from the National Enquirer, America's premier gossip rag.  The result was totally fascinating.  40 people each sharing their own view, some with sympathy, some with disgust, some amused, some through a political or historical lens, some much more personal, and in the process a rich tapestry was created.

 

In our instance, we could ask any question that we want to get to know each other better.

 

If you go to google books, you can download Anna Boynton Thompson's The Unity of Fichte's Doctrine of Knowledge (1895) for free.  Below is a copy of the page on which this quote is found.

 

 

 

 

 

The nicest academic facilities in all of greater Boston are probably at the Harvard Business School.
On a related note, I'm wondering whether we might want to engage one of the top HBS woman professors -- either Rosabeth Moss Kanter or Regina Herzlinger. Even if they are not scholars of MPF, they may be sympathetic and interested in supporting (and perhaps even speaking at) a gathering focused on MPF as the first substantial woman management theorist.

 

 

Thanks Albie and John!

 

Albie, I like the way you invite us not only to focus on MPF content but also in designing a process in the same spirit.  Should we start the Friday evening with a picture of MPF in the middle so that we each share what this person represents to us?! Too much? Or is it that we start conversations in that manner or that we ensure sufficent plenary time to engage in dialogue after presentations?

 

Could you check the B&B options? If John looks for meeting rooms, we could compare notes. Cost is obviously a primary criterion. I say yes to John for pursuing contacts. After reading Rosabeth Moss Kanter's testimony in Prophet of Management, I would say she is VERY sympathetic. Why not ask her if she does not know of a room we could use for the weekend. A room to celebrate Mary. P Follett in the context of an international gathering.

I already have three friends wishing to attend(from Canada, Belgium and US). Their request is an official invitation. It would be good to start thinking about this. Should we announce it with (location to be confirmed?) or do we wait?

 

By the way, any one has contacts with people at the MPF Foundation? If I undersand well this group organized a first event in Boise.

 

 

;-)

 

François

Hi Francois,

 

Or, maybe on Friday, we sit in a circle, hold a seance and invite Mary to speak to us directly, and tell each other what we heard, saw and felt!

 

Just kidding, but there was a strong interest in such psychic phenomenon during her day.  Her classmate at Radcliffe, Gertrude Stein, experimented with automatic writing.  William James of Harvard University was very interested in the powers of mediums. Henry Sidgwick & his wife, Eleanor, formed the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in London in 1982.  They also founded Newnham College, which Follett attended for a year and she knew them well. 

 

I'll call my friend who runs & small B&B in the South End, see if she has any contacts.  The B & B approach might only work for a small group, 8 to 16, perhaps.  Any more, and we may need other arrangements.  I've made a note to contact her tomorrow.

 

 I do believe the time for decisions is growing near.  I don't think it is necessary for this event to be a large one, in order to be a success.  I also think we need to find a way to "bless" you, Emmanuel, & John, if he is willing, to make decisions. Matthew, if he's interested. If anyone else wants to play that role as well, they should declare themselves in the next week or two.  

 

Perhaps Follett's concept, "The law of the situation," gives you the right to exercise the leadership function.  The Network can facilitate such events, but we do not have the structure, nor inclination, I believe, to set up a method of voting on such initiatives.  It might help to remember that any two or three people on the network can organize an event in their homeland or some place of interest to them, and some of us from other countries could attend.  I just saw Midnight in Paris and am eagerly awaiting the Follett event to be held there!  (This is a hint for Emmanuel and Sebastian.  Next year, Paris! )  This year, as the time, October, grows nearer, I can help "on the ground."  I'm not in a position to help with the major decisions at this time.

 

I second what you said about John's idea of inviting Rosabeth Moss Kanter to join us in some way.  She's a big fan of Follett's and I admire the work she has done.

 

Albie

 

 

 

 


Francois Heon said:

 

Thanks Albie and John!

 

Albie, I like the way you invite us not only to focus on MPF content but also in designing a process in the same spirit.  Should we start the Friday evening with a picture of MPF in the middle so that we each share what this person represents to us?! Too much? Or is it that we start conversations in that manner or that we ensure sufficent plenary time to engage in dialogue after presentations?

 

Could you check the B&B options? If John looks for meeting rooms, we could compare notes. Cost is obviously a primary criterion. I say yes to John for pursuing contacts. After reading Rosabeth Moss Kanter's testimony in Prophet of Management, I would say she is VERY sympathetic. Why not ask her if she does not know of a room we could use for the weekend. A room to celebrate Mary. P Follett in the context of an international gathering.

I already have three friends wishing to attend(from Canada, Belgium and US). Their request is an official invitation. It would be good to start thinking about this. Should we announce it with (location to be confirmed?) or do we wait?

 

By the way, any one has contacts with people at the MPF Foundation? If I undersand well this group organized a first event in Boise.

 

 

;-)

 

François

 

As said to François, I confirm I will joign you in October.

 

Emmanuel Groutel

 

Great to read you guys!

 

I agree with Albie that this event does not need to be large to be a success. I believe our success will be a function of our capacity to meet, share and learn together.  Thanks for your "on the ground" assistance.

 

François

 

 

 

 

Hello everyone,

 

Just to let you know that Albie and John are looking for a good location to meet as well as some lodging options. We are going ahead with the 14-16 of October. Please continue to offer your ideas in terms of a desired design.

 

I'm leaving for the beach and will be happy to rejoin the conversation and the organisation as of July 14th. Another next step will be to write-up an official invitation.

 

See you later.

 

François

 

Thanks to Albie and John for their work.

I agree with all of you about the success criteria of this meeting. From my point of view, success would be reached if we succeed in opening some interesting discussion spaces about MPF's thought. 

Albie and I got together a few hours ago in Boston. Great to finally meet someone else from this network in person. Here's a brief summary of some of what we discussed.

* Facilities - John is going to book us some meeting space at Northeastern University. We can still try to secure other locations, if we want to, such as Harvard Business School. Since John can easily book space at NU and it's in the community where MPF did her work, we might as well.

* Accomodations - We're going to compile a list of accommodation options at different prices including Albie's friend Judy's bed and breakfast in the South End.

* Dates - Although I've been reluctant to bring it up since I feel like I already asked to move the dates once, if it is possible to hold our gathering during the work week, that would be much better for me (John). I have two children and would really prefer to not take a weekend day away from them. So, perhaps October 13-14 or October 17-18?  Let me know. I wasn't sure if the proposal for a weekend was based on some folks not being able to meet during the workweek or not.

* Program Agenda - We can continue to work on this collectively over email.

* Outreach - We need to compile a big list of MPF-interested folks that we will eventually email an electronic flyer/email about the gathering. Albie is going to be doing a lot of work on this.
* Google group - I don't know about you all, but I find communicating via this ning-based discussion board to be slightly clunky for me because I only get an email that someone posted but it doesn't include the actual message. I'd prefer an email listserve, like a google group, where I'd get the messages themselves in my inbox and can respond via email. I'm willing to set them up if folks agree.
* I'm also willing to volunteer to serve as an additional admin on the Ning site since presumably we'll be using it to put up various conference information. Matt, would you be willing to add me as an admin?

 

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