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Edited by Pauline Graham, McGraw-Hill Book Co. Europe, 1995, ISBN 087584 563 0, hardback, $25.95
In the best managed plants. . .a person should
have just as much, no more, no less, authority as
goes with the function or task. Authority should
go with knowledge and experience. . .no matter
whether it is up the line or down. Where knowledge
and experience are located, there. . .you
have the key person to the situation.
These words belong to Mary Parker Follett and they were spoken nearly 60 years ago, before anyone had heard of empowered workers or the flat organization, much less of a female management guru. Follett wrote about management and organizations in the 1920s and 1930s, bringing the perspective of a political philosopher and a social worker to the task of making businesses more democratic by replacing a bureaucratic framework with groups of networked individuals who would share responsibility for decision making. Although well known for her …