Kudos to Jillaine ...for the old school tip on early
Mary Parker Follett was best known for her work around the administration and management of organizations. In 1925, she presented an influential paper, 'The Psychological Foundations of Business Administration' to executives at the annual conference of the Bureau of Personnel Administration in New York. She argued that the ideas she had been developing with regard to communities could equally be applied to organizations (we have seen a similar shift in recent years around the notion of social capital). Organizations, like communities, could be approached as local social systems involving networks of groups. In this way Mary Parker Follett was able to advocate the fostering of a 'self-governing principle' that would facilitate 'the growth of individuals and of the groups to which they belonged'. By directly interacting with one another to achieve their common goals, the members of a group 'fulfilled themselves through the process of the group's development'.
Obviously, human nature and organizational culture have not changed much over the years. It is hard to imagine Mary (if she were around today) not being a leader in network-centric advocacy. The leaps in tools to "see" network connections among participants would have made her work so much more compelling and the quantum leap in the amount of connections that are possible in today's connected age would have made her very excited about the power of the self-organized nature of ad hoc project teams.
She is next on my reading list.