Mary Parker Follett’s View on Authority and Responsibility

Mary Parker Follett had refused the classical interpretation of the concept of authority. Mary Follett said; “Authority must be Functional and Functional Authority carries with it Functional Responsibility.” Mary Parker Follett had vehemently disregarded such words and terms as “ultimate authority” and it supreme control. She said:

“When writer on business management speak of ultimate authority and supreme control as two of the function of administration. I think that expression are being used which are survival of formal days.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Mary Parker Follett once said that final decisions have the form and the force which they have accumulated. An executive decision is a moment in a process. The growth of a decision is the accumulation of authority, not the final step. If, then, authority is derived from function, it has little to do with hierarchy of position as such, and in scientifically managed shops.

The duties, authority and responsibility of the staff executives are inherent in the plan of organization authority should go with function, but as the essence of organization in the inter-weaving of functions, authority we now see as a matter of inter-weaving.

An order, a command, is a step in progress, a moment in the movement of interweaving experience.

Ms. Follett wrote that a political scientist described authority that coordinates the experiences of men. She says: But I think this is a wrong view of authority. The form of organisation should be such as to allow or induce the continuous coordination of the experiences of men.

The business manager has to find the law of every managerial activity in question. This means that this man recognizes authority in question legitimate, authority flows from the coordination, not coordination from authority.

Mary Parker Follett says that responsibility is the outcome of an interweaving experience that we often find it so difficult to ‘fix responsibility pluralistic responsibility, this inter-locking responsibility, makes it difficult to fix responsibility, yet business success depends partly on doing just this.

Another corollary from this conception of authority and responsibility as a moment in inter-weaving experience is that you have no authority as a mere left-over.

You can not take authority which you won yesterday and apply it today. If the ideal organization authority is always fresh, always being distilled anew. The importance of this in business management has not been estimated.