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"'The Functions of the Executive' at 75: An Invitation to Reconsider a Timeless Classic"

Joseph T. Mahoney and Paul Godfrey


First Author :

Joseph T. Mahoney
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street
140C Wohlers Hall
Champaign, IL 61820


Second Author :

Paul Godfrey
Marriott School of Management
Brigham Young University
576 TNRB
Provo, UT 84602

801-422-0540 (Fax)

Abstract :
The year 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Chester I. Barnardís classic, 'The Functions of the Executive', a groundbreaking contribution to management theory. We maintain that Barnardís work provides a valuable perspective on the causes and potential solutions to challenges facing capitalism, business, and management consequent to the scandals and financial crises of the early 21st century. We suggest that Barnard would see a systemic failure of the moral dimension of organization as a driver of these crises. We look back on 'The Functions' and provide a review of key elements of Barnardís theory of organization. We then look forward from 'The Functions' and see unique insights and solutions into the ongoing challenges of managerial morality.
Footnotes & Acknowledgements :
We heartily thank Tom Donaldson, Ed Freeman, Kazuhito Isomura, Ellen OíConnor, Dave Whetten, and Alan Wilkins, for their insightful critique of an early draft of this manuscript. JMI Associate Editor Karen Patterson and the two anonymous reviewers have contributed greatly to the refinement of these ideas. During the writing of this manuscript Dr. William G. Scott, the scholar who introduced Paul to Barnard and his work, passed away. With the deaths of Bill Wolf in 2009 and Scottís passing in 2011 the field lost two outstanding Barnard scholars. We dedicate this article to them in the hopes of inspiring a new generation of Barnard scholarship.
Manuscript Received : 2014
Manuscript Published : 2014
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