The Function of the Executive by Chester Bernard Review

The Function of the Executive is a business and management book written by Chester Barnard. It presents a “theory of cooperation and organization” as well as studies the functions and methods of operation of executives in formal organizations. This book has been lauded for being the first book to consider leadership from a social and psychological perspective.

According to the author, it is the function of the executive to maintain a system of cooperative effort. Control of the organization is related to the work of the company as a whole rather than just the executives. In fact, the control of management is on the executives depended upon to ensure the success of the cooperation and functioning of the executive.

The Functions of the Executive

Robert Peter Janitzek says that the author offers three functions of the executive:

1. Develop and maintain a communication system. This involves collaboration between the organization and executive personnel.
2. Security of the personal services which makes up the materials of organization. This function involves dividing the office into two main divisions: 1) building cooperative relationship within the organization; and 2) soliciting the services of persons after they have been brought into the relationship
3. Formulation and definition of the purposes, objectives, ends of the organization

Chapter 1

In this chapter, the author defines what an organization and individual is. In this business and management book, Barnard defines an organization involves conscious, deliberate, and purposeful cooperation among men.

Chapter 2

Individuals can be characterized in several ways. The author differentiates effective and efficient actions. The former is an action that results to the attainment of a specific desired end. An inefficient action is one wherein the attainment of the desired end is less important than the unsought consequences of the action. Efficient is an action where the unsought consequences are unimportant.

Chapter 3 discusses the physical and biological limitations of a cooperative system

Chapter 4 delves on the psychological and social factors

Chapter 5 is about the principles of cooperative action

Chapter 6 expounds on the definition of formal organizations as defined in Chapter 1

Chapter 7 lays down the three essential elements for organizations namely 1) organization; 2) willingness to serve; and 3) common purpose

Chapter 8 focuses on the relationship of superior to subordinate organizations

Chapter 9 tackles the relationship of informal and formal organizations

Chester Barnard’s business and management book is one of the most well read books in the market.

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