The Mary Parker Follett Network

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

What is it about Mary Parker Follett's ideas and words that call you? Inspire you?

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Jeff and all,

the mechanism of this utility is already constraining the nominal "open" nature of this context.

Let me suggest a different twist by way of MPF's resonance with Henri Bergson, that the unity be based upon the experiencing of everyday life both in our residential and work related communities. On the distinction between appreciation and worship, it seems that in MPF's universe there is little space for worship in the conventional sense. Further, worship is often a dynamic within institutionalization that applies a hierarchic mode which is more interested in preserving an organization in a material sense than in investing in an ongoing reproduction of an organization through its integration with the demands of the situation.

Somewhere in here is an intersection with Douglas Rushkoff's core insights out of Life Inc, in effect that the values and structures characteristic of corporatism have invaded our daily lives to such an extent that there is virtually no concern for outcomes and results. In effect the problem "solving" of white collar corporate life is on the order of lifting citations from a policy manual, rather than the problem solving mode more characteristic of craftwork. Literally Rushkoff cites concerns for property value over the quality of life experienced. Rushkoff suggests that we have been shaped by a multi-century paradigm which is at the heart of the current economic collapse.

Whenever a transcontinental divide is supposed between emotional comforts and reason, somehow the outcome generally slips to a lower order of priority. Of what I have read of MPF's writings and lectures I have seen little in the way emotionalized comfort politics, except as the aspects and details of different world views might be understood and accepted. There is a level of discourse where it is supposed that emotional demonstrations are sometimes allowed to trump all other considerations. Comfort of this sort is typically based upon the familiarity of conventions and of privileged domains.

Perhaps simply asserting the priority and unity of MPF's evolved science of cooperation, and of the unity of the practice and extensions of that cultural shaping is all that is required. In effect to walk her "talk."

Istvan Meszaros may seem distant from the concerns and priorities of MPF, but actually in his most recent book "The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time" features a divestment from mass political movements for the sake of social and cultural change, and strongly favors an a constructive micro cultural process very much like MPF's science of cooperation. Her sense of "economy" is much much closer to the original meaning of "economics" from its etymology, the management of home and community. Tadit
Hello everyone! I love the growth of this forum, and it's diverse membership! And the thinking that has flowed from Candee Basford's supposedly simple question: "What is it!"

On Sep 3, Jeff Bedolla invited us to take the question literally, and I'm going to give it a try, while I confess I might give a different answer tomorrow than I give today.

What I like most about Follett is her concept of "plusvalents."

"Our older social philosophy gave us the pernicious theories of the balance of power between nations, of adjustments between capital and labor. It gave us always equivalents; our more recent thinking shows us how to create plusvalents.(Creative Experience, p. 75)

"The most fundamental idea of philosophy is, I think, the recognition that there is no Denkform in which as mould all thought is cast, but rather a constant mode of self-generating as thought, a perpetual law of unifying to which free activity submits itself, law and freedom each the entelechy of the other. (Creative Experience, p. 75, above the previous quote.)

Note: I had to look up "Denkform", German for "way of thinking" and entelechy on Wikipedia: (La. entelechia, from Gk. ἐντελέχεια, entelécheia) is, according to Aristotle, the condition of something whose essence is fully realized; actuality. In some modern philosophical systems it is a vital force that motivates and guides an organism. toward self-fulfillment.

Sometimes Follett can capture a concept in a few words: "All polishing is done by friction." (Dynamic Administration, p. 31.) Other times, she goes on a bit. Both styles are rich, cause me to think.

Because we have so many members from so many countries who speak so many languages, I would love to have people speak to us in their preferred languages now and then. I feel there would be lessons to learn in this process and that our dialogue would be enriched. As one who only speaks English, I would have to struggle with this process, but I believe I would be enriched.

Albie Davis, Thomaston, Maine, USA
Hello Albie, nice. Or how about "the talk is in the walking." Friction as a means to polishing, seems useful as a creative process. Though the thread of discourse which MPF represents was for the most part wedged into a narrow space for years. It seems much the same as the treatment that has been used to marginalize heterodox economists. The echo chamber built by ample patronage and recognition is a suffocating sort of friction.

The history of historians tells a similar story, often serving more as publicists and propagandist, than choosing to support either an open discourse or a full examination. The abuse of mathematics and mathematical modeling versus the misapplication of sophisticated techniques is another example of "friction" taken to the level of suppression and mis-direction. My major point here is not to dispute the opportunity for polishing provided by friction, and yet there is the strategic use of wooden shoes to reduce particular perspectives. Knollenburg's book "Washington and the Revolution" is a good example relative to the preference of myth and mis-direction. It places a different slant on the whole basis of and nature of leadership. By some sources the ratification of the 1787 counter-coup hinged upon the myths of personality.

There is often a gloss and sideways slide to avoid friction. Minsky was a major heterodox economist who was marginalized though he has very accurately predicted the current deflation/collapse. The current articles about Minsky are noticeably reconstructing his perspective and recommendations, much as was done to Keynes. Friction is good, and there are clearly political incentives being subsidized to apply more than a bit of friction. Perhaps I am being a pessimist to inject a bit of history. The thought arises though as to how do we can preserve friction as primarily a constructive and creative process. The whole cultural inertia we are experiencing on multiple levels needs some solvent if not creative intervention. next time.
Sometimes theory comes first, and then later people discover applications for it... other times, people discover an application first, and only later the theory that "explains" it...

for me, MPF is an instance of the latter: what calls to me, is that she describes what I have experienced to be possible in a group context, when there is a process in place that allows for each person to be deeply heard and that keeps the pressure toward groupthink and conformity at bay.

What I've seen is that unity emerges THROUGH divergence, not "in spite of" it...

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