Template:Specspsy Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909–November 11, 2005) was an Austrian author of management-related literature. The son of a high level civil servant in the Habsburg Empire, Drucker was born in a suburb of Vienna in a small village named Kaasgraben (nowadays part of the 19th district, Döbling). Following the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, there were few opportunities for employment in Vienna so he went to Germany after finishing school, first working in banking and then in journalism. He also earned a doctorate in International Law while he was there. The rise of Nazism forced him to leave Germany in 1933 and after four years in London he moved for good to the United States in 1937, where he became a professor as well as a freelance writer. According to George Orwell, he was one of the only writers to predict the German-Soviet Pact of 1939 [1].

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 also unwittingly ushered in the knowledge economy and made famous the term knowledge worker, which effectively challenges Karl Marx's world-view of the political-economic landscape.

His career as a business thinker took off in 1945, when his initial writings on politics and society won him access to the internal workings of General Motors, which was one of the largest companies in the world at that time. His experiences in Europe had left him fascinated with the problem of authority. He shared his fascination with Donaldson Brown, the mastermind behind the administrative controls at GM. Brown invited him in to conduct what might be called a political audit. The resulting Concept of the Corporation popularized GM's multidivisional structure and led to numerous articles, consulting engagements, and additional books.

Drucker was interested in the growing importance of people who worked with their minds rather than their hands. He was intrigued by employees who know more about certain subjects than their bosses or colleagues and yet had to cooperate with others in a large organization. Rather than simply glorify the phenomenon as the epitome of human progress, Drucker analyzed it and explained how it challenged the common thinking about how organizations should be run.

His approach worked well in the increasingly mature business world of the second half of the twentieth century. By that time, large corporations had developed the basic manufacturing efficiencies and managerial hierarchies of mass production. Executives thought they knew how to run companies, and Drucker took it upon himself to poke holes in their beliefs, lest organizations become stale. But he did so in a sympathetic way. He assumed that his readers were intelligent, rational, hardworking people of goodwill. If their organizations struggled, he believed it was usually because of outdated ideas, a narrow conception of problem, or internal misunderstandings.

Drucker is the author of thirty-nine books, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. Two of his books are novels, one an autobiography. He is the co-author of a book on Japanese painting, and has made four series of educational films on management topics. His first book was written in 1939, and from 1975 to 1995 was an editorial columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. He continued to act as a consultant to businesses and non-profit organizations when he was in his nineties. Drucker died November 11 2005 in Claremont, California of natural causes. He was 95.

Basic ideasEdit

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.
  • He wrote extensively about Management by objectives
  • Companies have three responsibilities: 1) make a profit, 2) satisfy employees, and 3) be socially responsible.

Awards and CritiqueEdit

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 attracted criticism from some of the same people who had previously praised him.

Key WorkEdit

  • Gets PhD in Public & International Law, University of Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Works as investment banker in London, UK
  • Works as investment advisor and correspondent for Financial News, USA
  • Works as a private consultant to business and on government policy
  • Teaches at Sarah Lawrence College
  • Professor at Bennington College, Vermont
  • Spends 18 months interviewing senior management at General Motors, which produces: The Concept of the Corporation- Assessing the weaknesses of GM - Becomes best-seller
  • Becomes Professor of Management at New York University Graduate School of Business
  • Publishes more than 33 books over seven decades
  • Founds the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-profit Management

List of publications Edit

  • Friedrich Julius Stahl: konservative Staatslehre und geschichtliche Entwicklung (1932)
  • The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1939)
  • The Future of Industrial Man (1942)
  • Concept of the Corporation (1945) (A study of General Motors)
  • 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 Pension Fund Socialism Came to America (1976)
  • An Introductory View of Management (1977)
  • Adventures of a Bystander (1979) (Autobiography)
  • 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 Discipline of Innovation, Harvard Business Review, 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, Harvard Business Review, September-October 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)
  • Managing Oneself, Harvard Business Review, March-April 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)
  • They're Not Employees, They're People, Harvard Business Review, February 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


  • What Makes An Effective Executive, Harvard Business Review, June 2004.
  • The Effective Executive in Action (2005)

Books about Peter DruckerEdit

External links Edit

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