(November19, 1909 – November 11, 2005)
Today is the one-hundred-and-fourth birth anniversary of Peter Drucker, the man who invented management. BusinessWeek reported shortly after his death at 95 in 2005 that: Whether it’s recognised or not, the organisation and practice of management today is derived largely from the thinking of Peter Drucker. What John Maynard Keynes is to economics or W. Edwards Deming to Quality, Drucker is to management.
Ahead of His Time
Drucker was always ahead of his time. BusinessWeek succinctly summarised some of the major accomplishments upon his death in 2005:
In the 1940s, he introduced the idea of decentralisation, which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organisation in the world.
In the 1950s, he was the first to assert that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.
In the1950s, he presented for the first time the concept of corporation as a human community built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won an almost Godlike reverence among the Japanese.
In the1950s, he was the first to clearly articulate that the purpose of any business is to create and keep a customer and that there is no business without a customer. A simple but powerful notion that ushered in a new marketing mindset.
In the1960s, he was the first to argue for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalised practices over charismatic, cult leaders.
In the 1970s, he wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers and for the first time explained how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.
Books written by Peter F. Drucker
1. The End of Economic Man, 1939
2. The Future of Industrial Man. A conservative approach, 1942
3. Concept of the Corporation, 1946
4. The New Society: The Anatomy of Industrial Order,
5. The Practice of Management, 1954
6. America’s Next Twenty Years, 1955
7. Landmarks of Tomorrow: A Report on the “New Post-Modern World”, 1957
8. Technology, Management & Society, 1958
9. Managing for Results, 1964
10. The Effective Executive, 1967
11. The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines for Our Changing Society, 1969
12. Preparing Tomorrow’s Business Leaders Today (Ed.), 1969
13. Drucker on Management, 1971
14. Men, Ideas & Politics: Essays, 1971
15. The New Markets & Other Essays, 1971
16. Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 1973
17. The Unseen Revolution – How Pension Fund Socialism Came to America, 1976
18. People and Performance: The Best of Peter Drucker on Management, 1977
19. Management Cases, 1977
20. Adventures of a Bystander (Autobiography), 1979
21. Managing in Turbulent Times, 1980
22. Toward the Next Economics and Other Essays, 1981
23. The Last of All Possible Worlds (Novel), 1982
24. The Changing World of the Executive, 1982
25. The Temptation to do Good (Novel), 1984
26. Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Practice & Principles, 1985
27. The Frontiers of Management: Where Tomorrow’s Decisions are Being Shaped Today, 1986
28. The New Realities, in Government and Politics, in Economics and Business, in Society and world View, 1989
29. Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Practices and Principles, 1990
30. Our Changing Economic Society: The Best of Drucker’s Thinking on Economic and Societal Change (Collection of articles), 1991
31. Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond, 1992
32. The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition, 1993
33. Post-Capitalist Society, 1993
34. Managing in a Time of Great Change, 1995
35. The Executive in Action: Managing for Results, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, The Effective Executive, 1996
36. The Pension Fund Revolution, 1996
37. Landmarks of Tomorrow (with a new introduction by Peter Drucker), 1996
38. Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management (A collection of articles published in HBR 1963-1994), 1998
39. Management Challenges for the 21st Century, 1999
40. The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management, 2001
41. Managing in the Next Society, 2002
42. A Functioning Society: Selections from Sixty-Five Years of Writing on Community, Society and Policy, 2003
43. The Daily Drucker, 2004
44. The Effective Executive in Action, 2006
45. Classic Drucker: Wisdom from Peter Drucker from the Pages of Harvard Business Review, 2006
46. Management. Revised Edition of Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 2008
Harvard Business Review Articles by Peter Drucker:
1. Behind Japan’s Success
2. Big Business and National Purpose
3. Getting Things Done. How to Make People Decisions
4. Is Business Letting Young People Down?
5. Looking Ahead. Implications of the Present
6. Management and the World’s Work
7. Management’s New Role
8. Managing for Business Effectiveness
9. Managing Oneself
10. New Templates for Today’s Organizations
11. Our Entrepreneurial Economy
12. Reckoning with the Pension Fund Revolution
13. Restoring Public Trust
14. The Big Power of Little Ideas
15. The Coming of New Organization
16. The Competitive World
17. The Discipline of Innovation
18. The Effective Decision
19. The Emerging Theory of Manufacturing
20. The Information Executives Truly Need
21. The New Productivity Challenge
22. The New Society of Organizations
23. The Right and Wrong Compromise
24. Theory of Business
25. They are not Employees, They are People
26. Twelve Fables of Research Management
27. What Business Can Learn from Non-profits
28. What Executives Should Remember
29. What makes an Effective Executive
30. What we can learn from Japanese Management
Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life said during the inaugural Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna celebrating Drucker’s 100th birthday in 2009: Peter was far more than the founder of modern management, far more than a brilliant man, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. He was a great soul. If I summed up Peter’s life in three words, it would be integrity, humility, and generosity… Peter was the only truly Renaissance man I’ve ever known. He had a way of looking at the world in a systems view that said it all matters.
Drucker’s simplicity and humility are palpable. He once said: None of my books or ideas means anything to me in the long run.What are theories? Nothing. The only thing that matters is how you touch people. Have I given anyone insight? That’s what I want to have done. Insight lasts; theories don’t. And even insight decays into small details, which is how it should be. A few details that have meaning in one’s life are important.
Jim Collins, best selling author of Good to Great and Built to Last once wrote about Drucker: For me Drucker’s most important lessons cannot be found in any text or lecture but in the example of his life. I made a personal pilgrimage to Claremont, California in 1994 seeking wisdom from the greatest management thinker of our age, and I came away feeling that I’d met a compassionate and generous human being who – almost as a side benefit -was prolific genius… Peter F. Drucker was driven not by the desire to say something, but by the desire to learn something from every student he met – and that is why he became one of the most influential teachers most of us have ever known.