Abstract: Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management

This is a collection of Drucker´s most influential articles written, over a period of many years, for the Harvard Business Review.
Abstract: Peter Drucker on the Profession of Management

Nan Stone (Editor), Peter Ferdinand Drucker
Harvard Business School Press

This is a collection of Drucker´s most influential articles written, over a period of many years, for the Harvard Business Review. Other business books three times greater in length offer about a third of what this anthology does in terms of substance.

In Part I, Drucker examines "The Manager''s Responsibilities" and in Part II, "The Executive''s World." At one point, Drucker observes that he is "not comfortable with the word manager any more, because it implies subordinates." This is a revealing comment in light of what the word profession literally means: "to make a public declaration or vow."

For Drucker, professionals are those who have crystal clear, non-negotiable values and make a total commitment to them. For Drucker, a manager worthy of the name simply does not think in terms of "senior and junior polarities", of achieving and then sustaining arbitrary control over others (ie; subordinates), of gaining and defending "turf", of commanding rather than earning respect. "Knowledge is power, which is why people who had it in the past often tried to make a secret of it.

In post-capitalism, power comes from transmitting information to make it productive, not from hiding it. That means you have to be intolerant of intellectual arrogance. And I mean intolerant."

Drucker asserts that a theory of business has three parts:

  1. Assumptions about the environment of the organization;
  2. Assumptions about the specific mission of the organization; and
  3. Assumptions about the core competencies needed to accomplish the organization''s mission.

He then explains the specifications for each cluster of assumptions. Whether using the word "manager" or "executive", Drucker stresses the importance of making effective decisions, especially those concerning the management of others, and suggests a sequence of steps involved in the decision-making process. He reaffirms his conviction that the "fundamental task of management remains the same: to make people capable of joint performance by giving them common goals, common values, the right structure, and the ongoing training and development they need to perform and to respond to change."

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