Classics of Organization Theory

Topics: Mary Parker Follett, Management, Chester Barnard Pages: 2 (585 words) Published: January 29, 2013

Follett, M. P. (1996). The giving of orders. In Shafritz, J.M. & Ott, J.S. (Eds.). Classics of organization theory (pp.156-162). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Review of article from Shafritz & Ott by Victor Montemurro Giving and receiving orders is a human resource issue that should not be taken lightly since consequences of not understanding the impact of an order on an employee's work and attitude could be ineffective management if not also ruinous organizational behavior. In the essay "The Giving of Orders" published in 1926, Mary Parker Follett argues that both the employer and the employee should study the situation and discover the law of the situation. Both employer and employee should obey the law of the situation. Employers should avoid acting as if the employee is "under" the employer. The attitude of the employee, previous behavior, the education and training, the circumstances and environment of the work situation need to be carefully considered before so-called "orders" are given. Orders should be depersonalized. Rather than delivering orders from on high, employers would do better to have face-to-face conversation that looks at the situation, and then both employer and employee should agree to "take their orders from the situation." Follett asserts that no one likes to be bossed; one feels a lack of self-respect, becomes defensive, and acts angry or sullen. The wrong mindset is created in the employee and the result is likely to be the wrong behavior. Follett says that, "One person should not give orders to another person, (Follett's italics), but instead managers should concentrate on "how to devise methods by which we can best discover (again Follett's italics) the order integral to a particular situation. The manager's authority should be an exercise of the "authority of the situation." The manager must create in himself the proper mindset and attitude; this work


must be done in advance of the situations that will arise...
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