Peter Drucker

Writer, Management Consultant and University Professor

alt text Peter Drucker 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.

Who is Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker-- (November 19, 1909–November 11, 2005) was a writer, management consultant and university professor-- born in Vienna, Austria in November 1909. After receiving his doctorate in Public and International Law from Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, Germany, he worked as an economist and journalist in London before moving to the United States in 1937.

Peter Drucker published his first book, The End of Economic Man, in 1939. He then joined the faculty of New York University's Graduate Business School as Professor of Management in 1950. Since 1971, he has been Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. The university named its management school after him in 1987.

Peter Drucker has written 35 books in all: 15 books deal with management, including the landmark books The Practice of Management and The Effective Executive; 16 cover society, economics, and politics; 2 are novels; and 1 is a collection of autobiographical essays. His most recent book, Managing in the Next Society, was published in fall 2002.

Peter Drucker also served as a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 1995 and has contributed essays and articles to numerous publications, including the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist. Throughout his career, he has consulted with dozens of organizations - ranging from the world's largest corporations to entrepreneurial start-ups and various government and non-profit agencies.

Experts in the worlds of business and academia regard Peter Drucker as the founding father of the study of management.

For his accomplishments, Peter Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002. A documentary series about his life and work appeared on CNBC 10 times from December 24, 2002 through January 3, 2003.


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, 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 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. However, 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 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, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist.

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.


Several ideas run through most of Drucker's writings:

A profound scepticism 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, hire employees they don't need (when a better solution would be contracting out), and 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.
  • 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
  • A company's primary responsibility is to serve its customers, to provide the goods or services, which the company exists to produce. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company's continued existence. Other responsibilities, e.g., to employees and society, exist to support the company's continued ability to carry out its primary purpose. continued ability to carry out its primary purpose.

{source: Wikipedia}

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