Abstract


It is something of a marvel to recognize just how much of what is only now coming forth concerning leadership by means of complex systems research was already anticipated in the carefully considered insights published by Chester Barnard as far back as 1938. In his book, The Functions of the Executive, Barnard described an integrated perspective placing the individual actions of leaders squarely within the context of a systemic understanding of organizations. In this regard, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith credited Barnard with had providing the most informative definition of organization of the time. Other researchers from Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon to James March have also been inspired by his insights - March suggesting that Barnard had actually instigated much of the later research and Simon pointing out the deep complexity perspective that Bernard enunciated.