A remembrance of Peter Drucker (1909-2005). David B. Allen, Department Chair and Professor of Strategic Management, Instituto de Empresa.
As Peter Drucker continued spinning his magic and looking into his crystal ball into his 90’s, it became commonplace to praise Drucker as the father of management and the anti-guru guru who had explained to us just about everything there is to know about management.

This is true, of course. Drucker explained management theory and practice in a way that made sense to managers. He used his broad and diverse learning to provide us with ideas and pictures of how the profession of management could achieve worthy goals: he linked value creation and social responsibility long before these were fashionable. He bridged the academic and professional world, and reminded us again and again that entrepreneurship is the foundation of business. He taught, he inspired, as he gave coherence to the mass of new information and research that emerged after World War II when management suddenly became an academic field of study.

But he did something more. He refused to change his ideas according to the fashion. Oddly, the man promoted innovation and entrepreneurship, did not waver in his ideas. Drucker set out his views in two fundamental books written more than half a century ago: "Concept of the Corporation" first published in 1946, and "The Practice of Management" published in 1954. In the decades that followed, Drucker stayed the same, refining his ideas, challenging us to keep up with the pace of change. And so we changed, and we began to see that Drucker’s greatest contribution, like that of Chester Barnard, was to remind us why management matters. As his work matured, Drucker talked to managers increasingly about leadership in a society of organization. His analogies and examples, his ability to combine erudition with a lively writing style made him the favorite of serious managers who care about the profession of management. It is hard to imagine who will be able to take up his role. Two or three more Peter Druckers would not be a bad idea


Peter Drucker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was a management theorist who created many phrases common in business today.

Drucker, born in Vienna, Austria, fled from the Nazis to the United States in 1937. In 1943, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He taught at New York University as Professor of Management from 1950 to 1971. From 1971 to his death he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate University.

He wrote about 30 books, the first in 1939, and from 1975 to 1995 was an editorial columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review. He continued to act as a consultant to businesses and non-profit organizations when he was in his nineties.

Several ideas run through most of Drucker's writings:

A profound skepticism about macroeconomic theory. Drucker contended that economists of all schools fail to explain significant aspects of modern economies.

A desire to make everything as simple as possible. According to Drucker, corporations tend to produce too many products, to hire employees they don't need (the better solution is contracting out), and to expand into economic sectors that they should stay out of.

A belief in what he called "the sickness of government." Drucker made ostensibly non-ideological claims that government is unable or unwilling to provide new services that people need or want - though he seemed to believe that this condition is not inherent to democracy. Even successful programs, such as US Social Security, long ago ceased to be interesting to an increasingly alienated citizenry.

The need for "planned abandonment." Corporations as well as governments have a natural human tendency to cling to "yesterday's successes" rather than seeing when they are no longer useful.

The lasting contribution of the "father of scientific management", Frederick Winslow Taylor. Although Drucker had little experience with the analysis of blue-collar work (he spent his career analyzing managerial work), he credited Taylor with originating the seminally important idea that work can be broken down, analyzed, and improved.

The need for community. Early in his career, Drucker predicted the "end of economic man" and advocated the creation of a "plant community" where individuals' social needs could be met. He later admitted that the plant community never materialized, and by the 1980s, suggested that volunteering in the non-profit sector might be the key to community.

Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002. He was the Honorary Chairman of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, now the Leader to Leader Institute, from 1990 through 2002. His most controversial work was on compensation schemes, in which he said that senior management should not be compensated more than twenty times the lowest paid employees. This made him an enemy of some of the same people who had previously praised him.

Drucker died November 11, 2005 in California of natural causes. He was 95.

List of publications

The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1939)

The Future of Industrial Man (1942)

Concept of the Corporation (1945)

The New Society (1950)

The Practice of Management (1954)

America's Next 20 Years (1957)

Landmarks of Tomorrow: A Report on the New 'Post-Modern' World (1959)

Power and Democracy in America (1961)

Managing for Results: Economic Tasks and Risk-Taking Decisions (1964)

The Effective Executive (1966)

The Age of Discontinuity (1968)

Technology, Management and Society (1970)

Men, Ideas and Politics (1971)

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices (1973)

The Unseen Revolution: How the Pension Fund Came to America (1976)

An Introductory View of Management (1977)

Adventures of a Bystander (1979)

Song of the Brush: Japanese Painting from the Sanso Collection (1979)

Managing in Turbulent Times (1980)

Toward the Next Economics and Other Essays (1981)

The Changing World of the Executive (1982)

The Temptation to Do Good (1984)

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles (1985)

The Frontiers of Management (1986)

The New Realities (1989)

Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Practices and Principles (1990)

Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond (1992)

The Post-Capitalist Society (1993)

The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition (1993)

The Theory of the Business (1994)

Managing in a Time of Great Change (1995)

Drucker on Asia: A Dialogue Between Peter Drucker and Isao Nakauchi (1997)

Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management (1998)

Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)

The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (2001)

Leading in a Time of Change: What it Will Take to Lead Tomorrow (2001; with Peter Senge)

The Effective Executive Revised (2002)

Managing in the Next Society (2002)

A Functioning Society (2003)

The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done (2004)

Managing Oneself (2005)


External links