Chester Barnard

From CEOpedia | Management online
Chester Barnard
See also

Chester I. Barnard (1886-1961) is one of the so-called "transitional period" in the history of organizing thought.

His main achievement was the introduction to the classical faculty of aspects related to human resource management.

In 1927, he assumed the position of Managing Director of the New Jearsy Bell Telephon Company, where he used his professional experience, knowledge of Weber's work and knowledge of philosophy and sociology to develop his own theories, published in 1938 in the book entitled "The Functions of The Executive". In this study, he perceives the organization as a social system that requires cooperation between people.

The most important achievement of Barnard is the theory that the efficient operation and survival of an enterprise depends on the balance and convergence of the goals of the organization and the people working in it. He based his thesis on observations, which showed that people in organizations combine interactive social relations. They form informal, organized groups to achieve goals that they would not be able to achieve separately. Noticing the huge role of informal organizations, and the willingness to meet their own needs by employees resulted in the creation of a theory that only stable and mutually beneficial conditions are possible for longer-lasting work of individuals.

Barnard also described the role of manager in the company as the person responsible for promoting a sense of moral goal among employees, and obliged to make decisions that go beyond self-interest, and also having regard to the well-being and needs of its employees. He also saw the significant role of workers, calling them the basic strategic factor of each organization. He devoted a lot of attention to the cooperation of individuals in groups.

Barnard is also known for his theory in which he proclaimed the need for the managers to constantly study the organization's environment so that they can adapt the organization to changing conditions. The organization's managers, in order to avoid the threat of the existence of an organization, should take care of a constant inflow of supplies and materials, as well as for outlets for their own products.

Barnard's ideas and theories make him a precursor of modern organizing thought. Nowadays, enterprises are more often chosen as the basic unit by self-governing, cooperating working groups, while paying great attention to the flexible adaptation of the organization's strategy to the dynamically changing conditions of the environment.