Barnard's Regret: Zones of Accountability and the Limits of Authority
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
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AbstractAbstract Nearly two decades after his seminal Functions of the Executive was published, ChesterBarnard came to believe that moral responsibility and accountability might be a more powerful principle for guiding individual actions within organizations than the executiveauthority it emphasized. This article elaborates one direction in which Barnard might have developed his insight, by adopting ethical acceptance rather than self-interested indifference as the metaphor describing organization members' willingness to act in accordance with institutional needs rather than purely individual preferences. The alternative metaphor opens up opportunities for understanding how organizations structure their members' ethical commitments, and suggests that leaders can enhance organizational behavior by working to recognize, understand, and (re)design organizational accountability and discretion.