The Mary Parker Follett Network

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

Attached is an electronic copy of "Community is a Process," an article by Follett published in 1919.

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I have read this article a few times at this point. Though the language by today's standards is not as direct overall as it might be, MFP makes a many very key points.

The time in which MFP lived was pivotal to the extent that it was already engaged in suppressing all progressive thought and advocacy. It is also the era of the Palmer Raids, the begining of Edward Bernays career, the "father" of spin, in his involvement with the advocacy for the involvement of the US in WWI, the widespread suppression of American Socialism and Communism, and more of a similar cut. It could probably also be established that there was a major break between what was conceived to be social sciences and political economists of a continental version, with the preoccupation with "functionalism" and "behaviorism," which has persisted pretty much upto the present.(Google "Twilight and Dawning")

She wrote from and to her particular context, and the material deserves a major updating. There are several varieties of social psychology which are kindred by their values, which did not exist in her time. There are authors such as Hannah Arendt and Wilhelm Reich and others more recently which could easily be referenced and whose research and observations would further validate her perspective. Though Peter Drucker spoke very highly of MPF, and I do not believe that even he does her full justice. The major problem obstructing appreciation for MPF's wisdom, IMO, is that so much of our social and social scientific legacy has been scrubbed so that people hardly realize that there is or was an alternative perspective on the process of community, beyond conformity or "adaptation."

The disconnect is particularly apparent for me within the context of cooperatives and management within cooperatives. What generally has happened is that either the designated management role is assumed to be a position, rather than primarily a function to be shared.

As an example there is a recent article in the New York Times covering the German corporation Trumpf which specializes in laser technology applied to metal cutting. The article is effectively one long sneer toward Trumpf and its management operating under the premise and promise of being a community(cf The New York Times July 12, 2009 "A Happy Family of 8,000, but for How Long?" By CARTER DOUGHERTY). My point here is that much as with the suppositions of neo-classical economics and the privatization of sovereign monetary systems (this noteably was approved by the faux progressive Woodrow Wilson in 1913), there is a major investment in fortifying those assumption of "There Is No Alternative, aka "T.I.N.A."

I could go on and on obviously, and will probably as the occasion and context appear. I am working on a couple of articles currently one regarding management within cooperatives and another on non-authoritarian forms of leadership. These issues are an ongoing concern for me.

I hope you join us at the June 2018 conference!!

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