Everything old is new again: Barnard’s legacy ‐ lessons for participative leaders

Rikki Abzug (New York University, New York, USA)
Susan Phelps (Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 1 April 1998


What are the implications of assuming that employees have the knowledge and ability to direct their own work and make valuable contributions to achieving organizational success? This article explores some answers to this question by, among others: reviewing ideas of early management thinkers; establishing the pedigree of current management concepts of empowerment and participation; and by extracting lessons from successful management implementation of the latter two concepts in two types of organizations rarely discussed in the management literature: non‐profits and partnerships. Among the lessons for managers is the need to recognize the important roles that strong missions, genuine trust, and widely dispersed information play in attaining organizational success via empowerment and participation. Also examined are some unique and paradoxical challenges presented to leaders if they truly obtain the participation acknowledged as crucial for organizational survival in a postmodern age.



Abzug, R. and Phelps, S. (1998), "Everything old is new again: Barnard’s legacy ‐ lessons for participative leaders", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 207-218. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621719810210758

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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