Chester Barnard, The Functions of the Executive (1938)
American business executive and expert on management (pictured right)
He died in 1961.
Chester Barnard in the Management Gurus section.
The functions of an
1. Defining purpose
An organization’s success depends on:
- creating a common purpose.
- building great relationships with customers, suppliers, creditors and employees.
- people work well together.
- employees are effectively co-ordinated (to achieve the organization’s
All acts of the organization and its employees are
“directly or indirectly interconnected and interdependent”.
Inspiring excellent results by:
- financial and non-financial rewards like interesting work.
- satisfying employees’ motives or needs (Barnard’s definition of
- the integrity (see point 4) and interpersonal skills of
A manager’s authority doesn't depend on hierarchical position but on:
4. Moral action (integrity)
Ensuring that managers’ (and their employees’) actions are based upon their personal
So managers must:
- deal with conflicting moral demands (for example, to family, religion and
- improve the organization’s performance whilst keeping
people’s integrity, free will and
So leadership and management must:
- ensure that work is seen as rewarding and morally right.
Effectively communicating the objectives of the organization and its employees
- the informal organization (informal contacts).
- the formal organization (managers’ official communications in the
People accept a manager’s communication when they:
- understand it and are physically and mentally able to do it.
- believe it helps their objectives (through work that is morally
right and rewarding).
- encourage people to take responsibility for making decisions.
Key quote on management
The inculcation of belief in the real existence of a common purpose is an essential executive function.
Key quote on leadership
The endurance of organizations depends upon the quality of leadership and that quality derives from the breadth
of the morality upon which it rests.