Edward Cadbury

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Edward Cadbury (1873 – 21 November 1948) was a British chairman of Cadbury Brothers, business theorist, and philanthropist, known for his pioneering works on management and organisations.



Experiments in industrial organization (1912)


Cadbury, Edward. Experiments in industrial organization. (1912).

  • The supreme principle [in Industrial Organization] has been the belief that business efficiency and the welfare of the employees are but different sides of the same problem. Character is an economic asset ; and business efficiency depends not merely on the physical condition of employees, but on their general attitude and feeling towards the employer.
    • Introduction, p. vii; Partly cited in: Felix Behling et al., The Changing Worlds and Workplaces of Capitalism. 2015, p. 194
  • The test of any scheme of factory organization is the extent to which it creates and fosters the atmosphere and spirit of cooperation and good-will, without in any sense lessening the loyalty of the worker to his own class and its organizations.
    • Introduction, p. vii
  • [The younger employees] do not appreciate fully the great change that is taking place in their lives, nor do they realize the added responsibility that "growing-up" brings with it.
    • p. 2; As cited in: Felix Behling et al. (2015; 194)
  • Preference is given to applicants just leaving school, as they have not yet lost their habit of discipline and obedience, and they retain more of what they have learnt there.
    • p. 2; Cited in: Felix Behling et al. (2015; 194)
  • There is no doubt that the efficiency of the Works at Bournville is assisted by the Suggestion Scheme, and it has been found that the good accomplished, is not only in the pecuniary value to the Firm or to the suggestor, but also in the development of the mental and creative power, which makes both men and girls more efficient and valuable workers, and fosters an intelligent independence.
    • p. 16; Cited in: Chris Smith, John Child, Michael Rowlinson. Reshaping Work: The Cadbury Experience. Cambridge University Press, 1990. p. 64
  • The worker must recognize that the welfare of employer and employed are not antagonistic, but complementary and inclusive, and that each position brings its duties and its rights. Thus the workers are led, not driven, and each consciously co-operates with the management in working for a common end.
    • p. 69; Partly cited in: Felix Behling et al. (2015; 194)
  • Suggestions [by employees] are invited on the various matters indicated under the following headings : —
1. New or improved goods.
2. Improvement in method of manufacture.
3. Suggestions appertaining to advertisements or methods likely to increase sales.
4. Improvements with reference to management.
5. Suggestions affecting the social well-being, Athletic and other clubs, Societies, Libraries, Magazine, etc.
6. Any suggestion of whatever character so long as it bears some relation to, or is connected with, the Works at Bournville.
  • p. 212; Partly cited in: Morgen Witzel (2003), Fifty Key Figures in Management. p. 39

Quotes on Edward Cadbury

  • On one level, then, Cadbury can be seen as a classic example of Victorian industrial paternalism, albeit carried to greater lengths than in most other companies of the day. On another level, however, the Cadbury system resulted in a very strong, highly flexible organisation which, thanks to the strong levels of employee commitment and participation, could draw on a large bank of experience and intelligence to solve problems and undertake what amounted to continuous improvement. The employee participation system in particular meant that Cadbury was constantly upgrading its processes and products. Herbert Casson regarded Cadbury in the 1920s as one of the best-run companies in Britain, if not the world, and summed up the key to its success very succinctly: ‘At Cadbury, everybody thinks.’
    • Morgen Witzel (2003), Fifty Key Figures in Management. p. 39
    • Quote on the Cadbury company at the time Edward Cadbury was managing director
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