Peter Ferdinand Drucker (/ˈdrʌkər/; German: [ˈdʀʊkɐ]; November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, he invented the concept known as management by objectives and self-control, and he has been described as "the founder of modern management".
Drucker's books and scholarly and popular articles explored how humans are organized across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors of society. He is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization; the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning. In 1959, Drucker coined the term "knowledge worker," and later in his life considered knowledge-worker productivity to be the next frontier of management. Drucker gave his name to three institutions: the Drucker Institute and the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, both at Claremont Graduate University in the United States, and the Peter F. Drucker Academy, China. The annual Global Peter Drucker Forum, held in his hometown of Vienna, honors his legacy.
Peter Ferdinand Drucker
November 19, 1909
|Died||November 11, 2005 (aged 95)|
|Alma mater||Goethe University Frankfurt (PhD)|
|Occupation||Management consultant, educator and author|
|Awards||Henry Laurence Gantt Medal (1959) |
Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class (1991)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2002)
Drucker grew up in what he referred to as a "liberal" Lutheran Protestant household in Austria-Hungary. His mother Caroline Bondi had studied medicine and his father Adolf Drucker was a lawyer and high-level civil servant. Drucker was born in Vienna, Austria, in a small village named Kaasgraben (now part of the 19th district of Vienna-Döbling). He grew up in a home where intellectuals, high government officials, and scientists would meet to discuss new ideas. These included Joseph Schumpeter, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Hans Kelsen was his uncle.
After graduating from Döbling Gymnasium in 1927, Drucker found few opportunities for employment in post-World War I Vienna, so he moved to Hamburg, Germany, first working as an apprentice at an established cotton trading company, then as a journalist, writing for Der Österreichische Volkswirt (The Austrian Economist). Drucker then moved to Frankfurt, where he took a job at the Daily Frankfurter General-Anzeiger. While in Frankfurt, he also earned a doctorate in international law and public law from the Goethe University Frankfurt in 1931.
In 1933, Drucker left Germany for England. In London, he worked for an insurance company, then as the chief economist at a private bank. He also reconnected with Doris Schmitz, an acquaintance from the University of Frankfurt, and they married in 1934. The couple permanently relocated to the United States, where he became a university professor as well as a freelance writer and business consultant.
In 1943, Drucker became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He then had a distinguished career as a teacher, first as a professor of politics and philosophy at Bennington College from 1942 to 1949, then twenty-two years at New York University as a Professor of Management from 1950 to 1976.
Drucker went to California in 1971, where he developed one of the country's first executive MBA programs for working professionals at Claremont Graduate University (then known as Claremont Graduate School). From 1971 until his death, he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont. Claremont Graduate University's management school was named the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management in his honor in 1987 (later renamed the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management). He established the Drucker Archives at Claremont Graduate University in 1999; the Archives became the Drucker Institute in 2006. Drucker taught his last class in 2002 at age 92. He continued to act as a consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations well into his nineties.
Drucker died November 11, 2005 in Claremont, California of natural causes at 95. He had four children and is the grandfather of tech entrepreneur Nova Spivack, one of six grandchildren. Drucker's wife Doris died in October 2014 at the age of 103.
Among Drucker's early influences was the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, a friend of his father's, who impressed upon Drucker the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. Drucker was also influenced, in a much different way, by John Maynard Keynes, whom he heard lecture in 1934 in Cambridge. "I suddenly realized that Keynes and all the brilliant economic students in the room were interested in the behavior of commodities," Drucker wrote, "while I was interested in the behavior of people."
Over the next 70 years, Drucker's writings would be marked by a focus on relationships among human beings, as opposed to the crunching of numbers. His books were filled with lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers can find a sense of community and dignity in a modern society organized around large institutions. As a business consultant, Drucker disliked the term "guru," though it was often applied to him; "I have been saying for many years," Drucker once remarked, "that we are using the word 'guru' only because 'charlatan' is too long to fit into a headline."
As a young writer, Drucker wrote two pieces — one on the conservative German philosopher Friedrich Julius Stahl and another called "The Jewish Question in Germany" — that were burned and banned by the Nazis.
Drucker's career as a business thinker took off in 1942, when his initial writings on politics and society won him access to the internal workings of General Motors (GM), 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. In 1943 Brown invited him in to conduct what might be called a "political audit": a two-year social-scientific analysis of the corporation. Drucker attended every board meeting, interviewed employees, and analyzed production and decision-making processes.
The resulting book, Concept of the Corporation, popularized GM's multidivisional structure and led to numerous articles, consulting engagements, and additional books. GM, however, was hardly thrilled with the final product. Drucker had suggested that the auto giant might want to re-examine a host of long-standing policies on customer relations, dealer relations, employee relations and more. Inside the corporation, Drucker's counsel was viewed as hypercritical. GM's revered chairman, Alfred Sloan, was so upset about the book that he "simply treated it as if it did not exist," Drucker later recalled, "never mentioning it and never allowing it to be mentioned in his presence."
Drucker taught that management is "a liberal art," and he infused his management advice with interdisciplinary lessons from history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, culture and religion. He also believed strongly that all institutions, including those in the private sector, have a responsibility to the whole of society. "The fact is," Drucker wrote in his 1973 Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, "that in modern society there is no other leadership group but managers. If the managers of our major institutions, and especially of business, do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will."
Drucker was interested in the growing effect of people who worked with their minds rather than their hands. He was intrigued by employees who knew 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 good will. If their organizations struggled, he believed it was usually because of outdated ideas, a narrow conception of problems, or internal misunderstandings.
Drucker developed an extensive consulting business built around his personal relationship with top management. He became legendary among many of post-war Japan's new business leaders trying to rebuild their war-torn homeland. He advised the heads of General Motors, Sears, General Electric, W.R. Grace and IBM, among many others. Over time he offered his management advice to nonprofits like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. His advice was eagerly sought by the senior executives of the Adela Investment Company, a private initiative of the world's multinational corporations to promote investment in the developing countries of Latin America.
Drucker's 39 books have been translated into more than thirty-six languages. Two are novels, one an autobiography. He is the co-author of a book on Japanese painting, and made eight series of educational films on management topics. He also penned a regular column in the Wall Street Journal for 10 years and contributed frequently to the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist.
His work is especially popular in Japan, even more so after the publication of "What If the Female Manager of a High-School Baseball Team Read Drucker's Management", a novel that features the main character using one of his books to great effect, which was also adapted into an anime and a live action film. His popularity in Japan may be compared with that of his contemporary W. Edwards Deming. Researcher Ross M. Brown credits Peter Drucker and Ferrel Heady in the late 1980's with the initial development of his groundbreaking New Religion theory that suggests that ciguatera outbreaks caused by warm climatic conditions in part propelled the migratory voyages of Polynesians via distinct "public" management and administration efforts between 1000 and 1400AD.
Peter Drucker also wrote a book in 2001 called The Essential Drucker. It is the first volume and combination of the past sixty years of Peter Drucker's work on management. The information gathered is a collection from his previous findings, The Practice of Management (1954) to Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999), this book offers, in Drucker's words, "a coherent and fairly comprehensive introduction to management". He also answers frequently asked questions from up and coming entrepreneurs who tend to ponder the questionable outcomes of management.
Drucker is considered the single most important thought leader in the world of management, and several ideas run through most of his writings:
The Wall Street Journal researched several of his lectures in 1987 and reported that he was sometimes loose with the facts. Drucker was off the mark, for example, when he told an audience that the English language was the official language for all employees at Japan's Mitsui trading company. Drucker defended himself: "I use anecdotes to make a point, not to write history."
Also, while Drucker was known for his prescience, he was not always correct in his forecasts. He predicted, for instance, that the nation's financial center would shift from New York to Washington.
Others maintain that one of Drucker's core concepts," management by objectives," is flawed and has never really been proven to work effectively. Critic Dale Krueger said that the system is difficult to implement and that companies often wind up overemphasizing control, as opposed to fostering creativity, to meet their goals.
Drucker's classic work, Concept of the Corporation, criticized General Motors while it was considered the most successful corporation in the world. Many of GM's executives considered Drucker persona non grata for a long time afterward. Although Alfred P. Sloan refrained from personal hostility toward Drucker, he considered Drucker's critiques of GM's management to be "dead wrong."
Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002. He also received honors from the governments of Austria, including the Grand Silver Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria in 1974, the Grand Gold Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in 1991 and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class in 1999 and Japan (Order of the Sacred Treasure, 3rd class; 24 June 1966).
Drucker was the Honorary Chairman of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, now the Leader to Leader Institute, from 1990 through 2002. In 1969 he was awarded New York University's highest honor, its Presidential Citation. For his article, "What Makes an Effective Executive", Harvard Business Review honored Drucker in the June 2004 with his seventh McKinsey Award — the most awarded to one person. Drucker was inducted into the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame in 1996. He received 25 honorary doctorates from American, Belgian, Czech, English, Spanish and Swiss universities. His 1954 book The Practice of Management was voted the third most influential management book of the 20th century in a poll of the Fellows of the Academy of Management. In Claremont, California, Eleventh Street between College Avenue and Dartmouth Avenue was renamed "Drucker Way" in October 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Drucker's birth. Drucker was posthumously honored when he was inducted into the Outsourcing Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field. In 2018, Drucker was named the world's most influential business thinker on the Thinkers50.com list.
With the rise of National Socialism ( National Socialism, Nazism ) numerous artists, scientists and writers fled to other lands. Among them were many Austrian social scientists. Often they left because of their ancestry and frequently because of their political views. More than 350 names of social scientists (and sometimes their pseudonyms) are listed on the database at the University of Graz, Austria. A number of names are well known in America or Great Britain because it was there that they built new lives. The list is by no means complete and is based on the sole fact that each writer published at least one book or a number of journal articles.
Included among Austrian social scientists in exile are Alfred Adler, Otto Bauer, Peter Blau, Berger, Bruno Bettelheim, Rudolf Carnap, Deutsch, Peter Drucker, Erik Erikson, Hugo O. Engelmann, Sigmund Freud, Heider, Keller, Arthur Koestler, Lukács, Karl Mannheim, Karl Polanyi, Pollard, Karl Popper, Possony, Schumpeter, Tietze, and Ullmann.Bob Buford
Bob Buford was a cable-TV pioneer, social entrepreneur, author, and venture philanthropist. He co-founded Leadership Network in 1984, and later the Halftime Institute in 1998. Bob became founding chairman in 1988 of what was initially called The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, and popularized the concept of Halftime through several books he authored.
Bob was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and of the Owner Managed Program at Harvard. He has played active roles in Young Presidents' Organization and World Presidents' Organization and serves on the board of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard Business School.
In the fall of 1999, Bill Pollard of ServiceMaster, Nan Stone, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, and several other people agreed that it was vitally important to preserve the writings and management ideas of Peter Drucker for the future leaders of business and nonprofit organizations. In connection with Claremont Graduate University, The Drucker Institute was created. Buford served on the Board and in 2008 was appointed Chairman of its Board of Advisors.
In 2014, Buford authored Drucker & Me (Worthy Publishing ISBN 978-161795-276-0) about Buford's 23-year relationship with Drucker. Believing non-profit organizations change lives, they worked with Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and others to design a new management model for non-profits in the 20th century. Bob has been featured in Forbes Magazine (April 2014), Christianity Today (April 2014), and The Christian Broadcasting Network (April 2014) about his relationship and business ventures with Peter Drucker.
Bob was the recipient of Christian Management Association's 2005 Christian Management Award. Bob lived in Dallas with his wife, Linda. He died in 2018 at the age of 78.Business guru
A business guru or management guru is a leading authority on business practices and can be defined as 'a person with influential ideas or theories about business'. The earliest use of the term business guru can be tracked back to the 1960s being used in Business Week. There are no existing qualifications that make someone a business guru. The lists of people who have been accepted as business gurus have constantly changed over time. However, there are some people who have been accepted by a great majority as a business guru and also some organizations which have created their own lists of gurus. One English writer has described management gurus as "overwhelmingly a US phenomenon."Business process
A business process or business method is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks by people or equipment which in a specific sequence produce a service or product (serves a particular business goal) for a particular customer or customers. Business processes occur at all organizational levels and may or may not be visible to the customers. A business process may often be visualized (modeled) as a flowchart of a sequence of activities with interleaving decision points or as a process matrix of a sequence of activities with relevance rules based on data in the process. The benefits of using business processes include improved customer satisfaction and improved agility for reacting to rapid market change. Process-oriented organizations break down the barriers of structural departments and try to avoid functional silos.Charles Handy
Charles Handy CBE (born 1932) is an Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the "portfolio worker" and the "Shamrock Organization" (in which professional core workers, freelance workers and part-time/temporary routine workers each form one leaf of the "Shamrock").
He has been rated among the Thinkers 50, a private list of the most influential living management thinkers. In 2001 he was second on this list, behind Peter Drucker, and in 2005 he was tenth. When the Harvard Business Review had a special issue to mark their 50th Anniversary they asked Handy, Peter Drucker and Henry Mintzberg to write special articles.
In July 2006 he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws by Trinity College, Dublin.Concept of the Corporation
Concept of the Corporation (1946) is a book by management professor and sociologist Peter Drucker. It is widely held to be the first book of its kind.Customer
In sales, commerce and economics, a customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a good, service, product or an idea - obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier via a financial transaction or exchange for money or some other valuable consideration.Global Peter Drucker Forum
The Global Peter Drucker Forum is an international management conference dedicated to the management philosophy of Peter Drucker. Drucker, who lived from 1909 to 2005, was a management professor, writer, and consultant, frequently referred to as a "management guru." The Forum is held annually in November, in Drucker's home town of Vienna, Austria and is put on by the Peter Drucker Society Europe, an affiliate of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University.Hermann Simon
Hermann Simon (born 10 February 1947) is a German author and business leader. He is chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants. Simon is an expert in strategy, marketing and pricing. An ongoing online survey (in German language countries) voted him the most influential management thinker after Peter Drucker. Simon has authored numerous books and writes articles for international newspapers and business magazines.Kathleen Ross
Kathleen Ross, SNJM is founding president of Heritage University, which opened in 1982.A member of the religious order of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, she graduated from Fort Wright College with a B.A., from Georgetown University with a M.A., and from the Claremont Graduate School with a Ph.D., where she studied with Peter Drucker and Howard Bowen. In 1997 she was a MacArthur Fellow. She is the 2011 CGU Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Holy Names University in Oakland, CA.Knowledge economy
The knowledge economy is the use of knowledge (savoir, savoir-faire, savoir-être) to generate tangible and intangible values. Technology, and in particular, knowledge technology, helps to incorporate part of human knowledge into machines. This knowledge can be used by decision support systems in various fields to generate economic value. Knowledge economy is also possible without technology.The term was popularized by Peter Drucker as the title of Chapter 12 in his book The Age of Discontinuity (1969), that Drucker attributed to economist Fritz Machlup, originating in the idea of "scientific management" developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor.Other than the agricultural-intensive economies and labor-intensive economies, the global economy is in transition to a "knowledge economy", as an extension of an "information society" in the Information Age led by innovation. The transition requires that the rules and practices that determined success in the industrial economy need rewriting in an interconnected, globalized economy where knowledge resources such as trade secrets and expertise are as critical as other economic resources.Libertarian management
Libertarian management is participative and/or non-authoritarian self-management, which typically emphasizes repetition of proven successes, institutional learning, and earmarking funds to project investment. Libertarian consultants generally focus on management and system productivity, not worker productivity. Libertarian management exponents believe the method can be applied beyond industrial settings in areas such as alternate family arrangements, co-housing, and the cooperative movement.
While no text on the subject exists, libertarian management has been highly influential as a guiding concept among American Libertarian founders of intentional communities and American management productivity consultants. Noted proponents of libertarian management include W. Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker. Many companies use the concepts and techniques of libertarian management, some of which are listed below.Management by objectives
Management by objectives (MBO), also known as management by results (MBR), was first popularized by Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management. Management by objectives is the process of defining specific objectives within an organization that management can convey to organization members, then deciding on how to achieve each objective in sequence. This process allows managers to take work that needs to be done one step at a time to allow for a calm, yet productive work environment. This process also helps organization members to see their accomplishments as they achieve each objective, which reinforces a positive work environment and a sense of achievement. An important part of MBO is the measurement and comparison of an employee's actual performance with the standards set. Ideally, when employees themselves have been involved with the goal-setting and choosing the course of action to be followed by them, they are more likely to fulfill their responsibilities.
According to George S. Odiorne, the system of management by objectives can be described as a process whereby the superior and subordinate jointly identify common goals, define each individual's major areas of responsibility in terms of the results expected of him or her, and use these measures as guides for operating the unit and assessing the contribution of each of its members.Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management
The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, or more commonly, the Drucker School of Management, is the business school of Claremont Graduate University, which is a member of the Claremont Colleges. The school is named in honor of Peter Drucker, who taught management at the school for over 30 years.Post-Capitalist Society
The Post-Capitalist Society (1993) is a book by management professor and sociologist Peter Drucker.Russell L. Ackoff
Russell Lincoln Ackoff (12 February 1919 – 29 October 2009) was an American organizational theorist, consultant, and Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Ackoff was a pioneer in the field of operations research, systems thinking and management science.The Landmarks of Tomorrow
The Landmarks of Tomorrow is a book by Peter Drucker which appeared in 1959. It describes a change in society which took place between 1937 and 1957, whereby the precepts of the Cartesian world-view no longer hold sway. Cause is no longer the central concept in understanding the world, but rather pattern, purpose and process. He described this as the post modern world.It is the source of the concept "knowledge worker".Wharton School Publishing
Wharton School Publishing (known colloquially as WSP) was a publishing house, a division of The Wharton School and Pearson, the world's largest education publishing and technology company. The imprint brought together a variety of business educators and corporate executives on a list that featured works in many formats, including print, audio, electronic documents, CD-ROM and video. The imprint released 35 to 40 peer-reviewed books a year in 11 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Authors published by Wharton School Publishing included Howard Moskowitz, Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker, C.K. Prahalad, Russell L. Ackoff, Jerry I. Porras, Henry Mintzberg and Kenichi Ohmae.
The Wharton School's publishing partnership with Pearson ended in 2010. In 2011, The Wharton School launched its own book publishing imprint, Wharton Digital Press.Winfried W. Weber
Winfried W. Weber (born in Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany) is a German economist and management professor. He is director of Mannheim Institute of Applied Management Research at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences with a research focus on new role models of managing and on global family business. Weber is founder of managemendenker.de, an ongoing online survey which ranks the most influential management thinkers in German speaking countries. Weber is President and founder of a non-profit management network, the Peter Drucker Society of Mannheim e.V. whose aim is to strengthen the leadership of managers in Germany.