Management is the art of getting things done through people

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1. My meaning of the statement of Mary Parker Follett
To rightly explain the meaning of this statement, the words have to be defined as they give all the significance.
First, as Grey (2009) underlined it, the etymology of to manage comes from the French ménager and the Italian maneggiare. Both have the same Latin origin, the word manus, “hand” in English, and both basically means to handle. Oneis in a household context while the other is about horse handling. Grey (2009) added that this origin gives to management “the sense that it is something dispersed, done by everyone” and we can still find this notion nowadays when we say for example I managed to eat a spoon full of mustard. Consequently, in an organisation, what does distinguish managers from average workers? There are differentinterpretations of the differentiation between the two groups. Nevertheless, a good notion to help in that way is the conception of power that managers have over workers. Here are two examples to illustrate my words. On the one hand, according to Braverman (1974), in Taylorism theory, managers have a monopoly of power over workers, as there is a transfer of knowledge from craftsmen to themanagement due to the separation between conception and execution. As for Grey (1999), the development of management as a specific discipline can be seen through three different points of view, according to the historical and economic context, which are technical, elite and political. If they give a different explanation of it, they are all about power whose origin can come either from technicalknowledge, social classes or control of labour.
That is how I understand management in this statement and it is even reinforced with the “done through people” of the statement that implicitly suggest certain subordination.
Secondly, I would like to clarify my understating of the word “art”. It evokes me more the meaning of a skill or a special ability than poetry or music. Moreover, art, as an expressionof feelings, is often opposed to science. Management is maybe not a hard science but its approach is scientific. Indeed, as Littler (1982) stated, Taylor used a systematic analysis of labour to calculate and plan the costs and the tasks; this is the basis of a scientific method. Also, McGregor used social science techniques to develop its theory X and Y that Roberts (1984) illustrated inpractice.
Finally, if we have now a quite clear vision of what management do, from Fayol (1916/1984) with the five functions of management to Hales (2001) with the “common activities of all managers”, what it gets from people is vague or more precisely vast as Grey (2009) mentioned: “ For what are the things that can be done in this way? Why, anything and everything”.
As a result, in my opinion, thestatement means that management, as a specific discipline, is the skill or the special ability of getting a lot of various things done through people by means of a certain kind of power.
2. My agreement with the statement
I agree with this statement because on the one hand, those words written down by Follet in 1941 are at all times true as there is always a distinction between the managementand workers which is depicted by the accent on power and control even if those two elements and consequently the separation are less visible nowadays.
I will try to show that through the decades, even if the organisational management theory and practices have evolved, it is possible to find evidence of this separation.
First signs of such a division of labour can be found in Weber (1978) andTaylor (Littler, 1978) works. For the first one, bureaucracy, as a rational-legal organisation where people are seen as part of a machine, offers a clear hierarchical structure, which induces a legitimate power, based on rules, that gives to the immediate superior, the manager, a bureaucratic control (Courpasson, 2000). Regarding the other, the separation took place in an industrial context. The...
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