Mary P. Follett (1868-1933) brought new dimensions to the theory and practice of management and was one of America's preeminent thinkers about democracy and social organization. The ideas Follett developed in the early twentieth century continue even today to challenge thinking about business and civic concerns. This book, the first biography of Follett, illuminates the life of this intriguing woman and reveals how she developed her farsighted theories about the organization of human relations. Out of twenty years of civic work in Boston's immigrant neighborhoods, Follett developed ideas about the group basis of democracy and the foundations of social interaction that placed her among leading progressive intellectuals. Later in her career, she delivered influential lectures on business management that form the basis of our contemporary discourse about collaborative leadership, worker empowerment, self-managed teams, conflict resolution, the value of inclusivity and diversity, and corporate social responsibility.
Joan C. Tonn is an organizational psychologist and associate professor in the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.