Working Papers Home

2015 Working Papers
2014 Working Papers
2013 Working Papers
2012 Working Papers
2011 Working Papers
2010 Working Papers
2009 Working Papers
2008 Working Papers
2007 Working Papers
2006 Working Papers
2005 Working Papers
2004 Working Papers
2003 Working Papers
2002 Working Papers
2001 Working Papers
2000 Working Papers

Search All Papers

JEL Classification

Past Working Papers (Prior to 2000)

Office of Research
Home Page

Information on
Submitting a Paper

"Chester Barnard and the Systems Approach to Nurturing Organizations"

Andrea Gabor and Joseph T. Mahoney


First Author :

Andrea Gabor
Baruch College, City University of New York
One Bernard Baruch Way
55 Lexington at 24th St.
New York, NY 10010


Second Author :

Joseph T. Mahoney
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
350 Wohlers Hall, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820


Abstract :
Chester Barnard was best known as the author of The Functions of the Executive, perhaps the 20thcentury’s most influential book on management and leadership. Barnard offers a systems approach to the study of organization, which contains a psychological theory of motivation and behavior, a sociological theory of cooperation and complex inter-dependencies, and an ideology based on a meritocracy. Barnard’s teachings drew on personal insights as a senior executive of AT&T in the 1920s and 1930s, and he emphasized the role of the manager as both a professional and as a steward of the corporation. For leadership to be effective, it had to be perceived as legitimate, Barnard maintained. Barnard sensed that the central challenge of management was balancing both the technological and human dimensions of organization. The challenge for the executive was to communicate organizational goals and to win the cooperation of both the formal and the informal organization; but he cautioned against relying exclusively on incentive schemes to win that cooperation. Responsibility—in terms of the honor and faithfulness with which managers carry out their responsibilities--is the most important function of the executive.
Manuscript Received : 2010
Manuscript Published : 2010
This abstract has been viewed 4327 times.
Click here to view the full text of this paper.