Peter Drucker

Peter F. Drucker, writer of a multitude of management books and articles, has passed on. The Wall Street Journal, which published many of his articles, deeply respected him:

Mr. Drucker invented management—not as a practice, but as a field of study. It was he who first asked managers to decentralize their operations and treat their employees like humans—in the 1940s. The concept of “knowledge work” is his coinage, from the 1950s.

I have to agree. While many companies are still adopting ideas he pioneered, his contributions led us away from the dehumanizing “scientific management” of Frederick Taylor and towards a more synergistic relationship between people and business.

President Bush awarded Drucker the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 2002.

The Financial Times also grieved his passing:

Drucker's reputation, among many practitioners and theorists alike, as the father of post-war management went back to two of his early works, Concept of the Corporation in 1946, and The Practice of Management in 1954.
The former, a study of the workings of General Motors, was the first detailed account of the way a large company operated. The latter contained pathfinding work on such varied topics as the key role of marketing; the importance of clear objectives, both for the corporation and for the manager; and the need to balance long-term strategy and innovation against short-term performance.
This early work laid the foundation for such basic principles of modern business as asking: “What business are we in, and who are our customers?” It dealt with the recruitment and development of executives, the proper role of boards of directors, the defence of profits as an essential foundation of future survival, and the development of the responsible and productive worker.

Of Drucker's books, I've only read a few, but I've liked them all. I could only wish to have 95 years of groundbreaking work under my belt. I'm having enough of a hard time just reading everyone who came before me. links:

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Nov 12 2005 08:51 AM

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