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Most of us become anxious at the mention of conflict, and are eager to find ways to avoid or calm it. But Mary Parker Follett had a very positive view of the role of conflict in organizations. Rather than seeking to eradicate or suppress it, she felt, we should find ways to put it to work for us. Follett illustrated this point by comparing conflict with friction. While it is true, as she conceded, that our work with friction is usually directed at eliminating it, we also study how to understand and exploit it.


We began, yesterday, talking about Mary Parker Follett’s views on conflict in organizations. She recognized that the most obvious way to deal with it is through compromise. This method enjoys broad support and is widely viewed even today as the most sophisticated and mature approach to the resolution of conflict. But is it really?

Integrating conflict

As we have noted, conflict causes great stress for many managers, whether it is resolved through domination or compromise. But the great early 20th century management thinker Mary Parker Follett argued that there is a vastly superior way to treat the issue. . .

Leaders and conflict

As we saw yesterday, the great early 20th century management thinker Mary Parker Follett was a pioneer in the innovative and constructive use of conflict in organizations. She believed they should be resolved by neither domination nor compromise, but rather by integration. However, she was fully aware of the potential obstacles to its use. A principle one is the presence in a situation of a strong individual leader. . .

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