While attending at Mount Hermon School and also during his three years at Harvard College he worked hard for his own maintenance. At the age of 23, after leaving Harvard, he got employed as a statistical clerk with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in Boston. He served this company for 39 long years since 1909 to 1948.
Barnard proved to be a successful economist in Bell Telephone Company for first 13 years. By 1922, when he was 36, he began performing what he was later to call “executive services” and by the age of 41 he had become the first President of New Jersy Bell Company. His 21 years as President were also the period of his most fruitful intellectual activity both his books were written during those years.
From 1931 to 1933 and again in 1935, Barnard served as state director of the New Jersey Relief Administration an experience that allowed him to organise life outside of the Bell System. This experience inspired his only piece of formal research as a participant- observer: he recorded and analysed his experiences in the form of a case for Lawrence J. Henderson’s course at Harvard on “concrete sociology.”
Barnard’s friendship with Henderson brought him into contact with a wider group at Harvard that included Elton Mayo Wallace V. Donham The Dean Dan of the Harvard Business school, Alfred North Whitehead, A Lawrence Loweu the President of Harvard University and Philip Cabot, member of the business school faculty whose social position gave him access to the elite in both the academic and the business community.
Barnard was encouraged by a brilliant team of researchers belonging to various disciplines pursuing a common interest: “behaviour of men at work in modern organizations”.
This team included men like Cabot, Denham, Lowex, Whitehead end Mayo which gave him impetus to write first book: The functions of the executive (1938), an examination of his own experiences as an executive in terms of the new conception scheme that one of them had been developing.
This book was not product of any formal research. In this book Barnard analysed-organizations as dynamic system of co-operative effort.