Chester Barnard 's The Functions Of The Executive

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I have chosen Chester Barnard’s “The Functions of the Executive” to review as part of our Management Theory class. Barnard was an executive and an author; he served as the president of AT&T and throughout his life he published major works in management theory and organizational studies. “The Functions of the Executive” was published in 1938, at the time of the great depression, and has always been deemed to be one of the most pioneering and foundational works in management. I will begin this review with a summary of the book, presenting the prominent arguments made by Barnard. I will then offer a critique of the book and its teachings, and lastly, I will derive a theory of management based on the book. Summary: Barnard opens the book with…show more content…
Moreover, Individuals’ decisions to enter cooperative systems and contribute effort are a function of incentives. Barnard (1968) argued that individuals’ egotistical motives of self-preservation and self-satisfaction are dominant forces, if not achieved, the effectiveness of the cooperative system and the organization are at risk. It is important to note though, that material rewards are futile beyond an individual’s subsistence level; non-materialistic and personal rewards are of greater value in acquiring cooperative effort (Barnard, C.I., 1968). Barnard then set forth the concepts of purpose and limitation. He argued that without a purpose, limitations hold no significance. The fact that individuals have purposes and experience limitations, makes cooperation valuable. It is through cooperation that individuals can overcome their respective biological limitations and accomplish purposes that would, otherwise, remain restricted. Furthermore, organizations have purposes and their continuance relies on their ability to carry out their purposes. As such, through coordinated human efforts, achieved through cooperative systems, organizations can, too, combat the limitations they experience and advance toward achieving their purpose and deriving concrete actions. It is
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