The Giving of Orders

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Mary Parker Follett discusses the psychology and human behavior behind giving and receiving orders. There is so much more that goes into giving and receiving orders than meets the eye, and is not as straightforward as one would initially think. Follett begins by explaining that human beings are complex creatures, and that we are the sum of all of our past experiences, emotions, beliefs, desires, habits and trainings. This means that people respond in different ways, and most have formed certain habits of mind called habit-patterns. Essentially, when people have been acting a certain way most or all of their lives, changing these habits is nearly impossible. Even if you intellectually reason with someone, you are likely to encounter resistance if their developed way of thinking and acting goes against the concluded reasoning. People are only inclined to obey orders if it appeases their previously learned habit-patterns. This can often lead to confusion and confrontation, as a manager may view an order not being followed by an employee as that employee rebelling and not obeying, when that employee does not follow the order simply because it goes against their life-long habits.

In order to address these habit-patterns, Follett states that it is essential to do three things: (1) build up certain attitudes, (2) provide for the release of these attitudes, and (3) augment the released response as it is being carried out. Follett provides an example of a salesman, where first he must create an attitude that the customer wants the item being sold, then allows the customer to fulfill this desire by finalizing the sale, and then provides the customer with references of other satisfied customers to help solidify their decision to purchase the item. This mentality can also be applied to business, and everyday life. It is important to note that in order to do this, one cannot simply suppress the augments of the mind of the person in question, as that will only...
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