Mary Parker Follett, who was born in 1868 and died in Boston in 1933, is acknowledged as a prophet of management (as she was called in the title of an anthology of her writing introduced by Peter Drucker).
She began her career by studying the role of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, an examination of how that institution operated, and ended at the London School of Economics with research into the organization of the firm.
Her humane and pragmatic systemic approach to relationships in the workplace is remarkably relevant to the present day. She discusses topics such as conflict management, the role of business executives and managers, decision-making and group dynamics which firms, unions and governmental bodies can still learn from today.
Marc Mousli has brought together some of her writings in translation with an excellent introduction in a recent book under the title Diriger au-delà du conflit (Paris: Village mondial, August 2002); we reprint here an extract about methods of managing conflicts.