Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People
Chester Barnard was a Harvard economist and follower of Max Weber. And he was one of the few major management thinkers who actually held a senior line management position! He spent all of his working life at American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T).
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The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.5
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 5: Masters of Organizations
Other videos in this section include:
🎬 Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory https://youtu.be/dAsiS_ignIQ
🎬 Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization https://youtu.be/QrF82M9aVQc
🎬 Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture https://youtu.be/TMqTN4fGb1k
🎬 Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations https://youtu.be/kCkXc-hPsbg
🎬 Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship https://youtu.be/N2QxvQ5t2Lo
Chester Barnard was focused on the interconnectedness of organizations and the involvement of executives, employees, suppliers, customers, and investors.
In many ways, he anticipated ideas like Porter’s 5 Forces and the conception of stakeholders of men like E Merrick Dodd, Frank W Abrams, and Igor Ansoff.
Barnard’s basic idea is simple.
People have their own individual motivations. But, when we come together to work towards common goals (or purpose), we become an organization.
The organization then needs to prompt further willingness to collaborate, with incentives. This is especially so when the purpose of the organization differs in some way from the goals of its individual members.
Barnard also focused on the need for effective communication:
• A formal channel of communication to link every member to the organization
• Everyone understands the channels of communication
• Communication channels short be as short and direct as possible
He believed that large organizations are made up of lots of small organizations – thus anticipating ideas around ad hocracy and holacracy! Smaller groupings can operate with less formality and therefore greater speed. But, as they grow, they have to establish more formal systems, to ensure everyone understands and focuses on the same goals.
How effective is communication in your organization? Assess it by reference to are Chester Barnard’s three criteria. (3 MC CPD Points)
Chester Barnard’s book, ‘The Functions of the Executive’ is not available. But the book, ‘Management Theory by Chester Barnard: An Introduction’ explains his ideas well
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Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)
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