Sample Essay on Organizational Culture and Retention

Organizational Culture and Retention

Organizational culture is a vital retention component in business and government. The above statement has been widely critiqued, with some arguing for its correctness, and others deeming organizational culture as useless. Numerous management theories have been articulated that accentuate or differ with the thesis that organizational culture is important for employee retention. This paper looks at two prominent theorists whose views on management differ on the above subject.

Mary Parker Follet

A social worker, political theorist, and organizational consultant, she proffered the ‘human factors approach’ to management whose principles have made a significant impact on organizational behavior. Follet was born into a rich family in 1868 in Queens state, MA. She was gifted academically, and attend the Tayer Academy before going to Harvard and later to Newham College in Cambridge, England. Due to her mother’s illness, she came back to Queens after completing her studies. She became interested in the challenges of professional choice, adult education, and incipient social psychology and hence started generalizing Taylor’s concepts and generating her own. Due to her numerous publications, people started calling her the prophet of management, even though during her lifetime only three books and two journals were ever published (Graham, 1995). Even though her work has never been widely read or discussed, the ‘inventor of management’ managed to produce work that is often invoked and lauded for its principles on leadership and organizations.

Follet eschewed the human factors approach to management that emphasizes the need for managers to view management holistically and develop strong interactions with workers. She deems management as ‘the art of getting things done through people’ and terms a leader as ‘someone who sees the whole rather than the particular’ (Follet, 1918). She was also among the first to write on organizational conflict in her 1924 essay, ‘power’ in which she differentiates coercive power from participative power as well as power ‘over’ and power ‘under.’

George R. Terry

He is one of the most cited management logicians for his work in his book ‘The Principles of Management. Little is known of his childhood, with existing information stating that he attended the University of Cincinnati before later acquiring an MBA and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. He has held many positions, the first being the research director for Foote, Cone, and Belding Inc. He then became president of the American Products Company before joining the Northwestern University School of Administration where he worked for 25 years (BallState, 2015). He then became a lecturer at the Ball State University College of Business, a position he held until his demise in 1979. Terry was also the 16th president of the Academy of Management and even has a book award named after him. The award aims to recognize authors who have made the most outstanding contribution towards the advancement of knowledge in management theory, conceptualization, research, and practice.

Terry’s biggest contributions are towards management principles for use in the modern world elucidated in his widely acclaimed book, ‘the principles of management.’ The book discusses some basic managerial concepts and objectives. Terry also discusses how managers should respond to innovation as well as various approaches to problem solving and decision making (Terry, 1960). He states that his management principles are aimed at providing guidelines so as to be able to solve problems efficiently and smoothly. Terry states that the main principles of management are planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling. These activities allow the manager to navigate the complexities of modern business.


Mary Parker Follet and George R. Terry are cited widely in numerous publications that make an attempt at defining management. Both Follet and Terry use different words to present the same idea of management. Follet deems management the ‘art of getting things done through people (Follet, 1941). Terry, on the other hand, terms management as ‘a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling performance to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources’ (Terry, 1960). Both aim to utilize people in the organization to achieve the end means.

The two also view management as an art. Terry defines art as ‘bringing about of desired results through the application of skill’ (Terry, 1960). According to both, managers must utilize their skills and knowledge in solving complicated challenges facing the organization successfully. Each manager has their unique style and this, according to Follet, makes management more of an art.


Where Terry is more descriptive of the functions of leaders, Follet is vague. Terry, for example, states that leaders need to plan, organize, actuate, and control performance. Follet only makes a reference to leaders getting things done.

Terry and Follet have different themes when it comes to management. While Terry focuses on the practices of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling performance, Folletfocuses on the themes of coordination and integration, resolving conflict, consent, leadership, and control and authority.

Lastly, the management approaches articulated by the two differ on their applicability to employee retention. Follet’s emphasis on the development of strong interactions between workers is bound to aid in retention since their needs will be fulfilled. Hence, a focus on employees will aid in retention. Terry, however, does not cater to the needs of employees. He deems them a tool to be utilized in achieving the company’s objectives and hence is not applicable to the study of employee retention.


BallState. (2015, February 23). George R. Terry papers. George R. Terry papers RG.04.01.11. Muncie, Indiana, USA: Ball State University.

Follet, M. P. (1918). The new state. Glouchester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith.

Graham, P. P. (1995). Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management: A Celebration of Writings from the1920s. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Terry, G. (1960). The Principles of Management. Homewood: Richard Irwin Inc.