The Three Faces of Bounded Reliability: Alfred Chandler and the Micro-Foundations of Management Theory

by Liena Kano, Alain Verbeke

Fall 2015

Volume 58
Issue 1

Full Article Browse Issue



Alfred Chandler, the celebrated business historian, provided detailed descriptions of the reasons for failed human commitments and the managerial tools needed to prevent/remediate such failings in the context of large business firms. Chandler’s historical narrative identifies three distinct "faces" of bounded reliability --opportunism, benevolent preference reversal, and identity-based discordance -- as the main drivers of commitment failure. Adopting bounded reliability (BRel) as a micro-foundation in management studies will raise the quality and relevance of scholarly recommendations to improve managerial decision making and action, because analysis of BRel challenges closely mirrors the real-world problems facing practicing managers.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us