Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management

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Father of modern management, social commentator, and preeminent business philosopher, Peter F. Drucker has been analyzing economics and society for more than sixty years. Now for readers everywhere who are concerned with the ways that management practices and principles affect the performance of the organization, the individual, and society, there is The Essential Drucker -- an invaluable compilation of management essentials from the works of a management legend.

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Overview

Father of modern management, social commentator, and preeminent business philosopher, Peter F. Drucker has been analyzing economics and society for more than sixty years. Now for readers everywhere who are concerned with the ways that management practices and principles affect the performance of the organization, the individual, and society, there is The Essential Drucker -- an invaluable compilation of management essentials from the works of a management legend.

Containing twenty-six selections, The Essential Drucker covers the basic principles and concerns of management and its problems, challenges, and opportunities, giving managers, executives, and professionals the tools to perform the tasks that the economy and society of tomorrow will demand of them.

The first selection of Drucker's management work from 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 [and] gives an overview of my works on management and thus answers a question I have been asked again and again: which of my writings are essential?"

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Not to know how to manage," writes Peter Drucker, "is the single largest reason for the failure of new ventures." Anyone who feels a need to learn more about the practice and discipline of management would do well to consult this book, a collection of eloquent and insightful essays that spans the 60-year length of Drucker's career. One of the pleasures of this volume is Drucker's continual emphasis on enduring principles (the importance of structure, the need to develop disagreement) and values (employers must lead rather than manage, focus should remain on the work instead of the personalities that organize it.) One of Drucker's seemingly radical statements -- "The manager is a servant" -- nicely encapsulates much of his philosophy: The institution being managed, the work that needs to be done, the creation of an effective organization -- these are the true masters in any corporate environment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060935740
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/29/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter F. Drucker is the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at the Claremont Graduate School. Widely regarded as America's leading expert on modern organizations and their management, Dr. Drucker has published 28 books which have been translated into more than 20 languages.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Management as Social Function and Liberal Art



When Karl Marx was beginning work on Das Kapital in the 185Os, the phenomenon of management was unknown. So were the enterprises that managers run. The largest manufacturing company around was a Manchester cotton mill employing fewer than three hundred people and owned by Marx's friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels. And in Engels's mill -- one of the most profitable businesses of its day -- there were no "managers," only "charge hands" who, themselves workers, enforced discipline over a handful of fellow "proletarians."

Rarely in human history has any institution emerged as quickly as management or had as great an impact so fast. In less than 150 years, management has transformed the social and economic fabric of the world's developed countries. It has created a global economy and set new rules for countries that would participate in that economy as equals. And it has itself been transformed. Few executives are aware of the tremendous impact management has had. Indeed, a good many are like M. Jourdain, the character in Molière's Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who did not know that he spoke prose. They barely realize that they practice -- or mispractice -- management. As a result, they are ill prepared for the tremendous challenges that now confront them. The truly important problems managers face do not come from technology or politics; they do not originate outside of management and enterprise. They are problems caused by the very success of management itself.

To be sure, thefundamental task of management remains the same: to make people capable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structure, and the training and development they need to perform and to respond to change. But the very meaning of this task has changed, if only because the performance of management has converted the workforce from one composed largely of unskilled laborers to one of highly educated knowledge workers.

The Origins and Development of Management


On the threshold of World War I, a few thinkers were just becoming aware of management's existence. But few people even in the most advanced countries had anything to do with it. Now the largest single group in the labor force, more than one-third of the total, are people whom the U.S. Bureau of the Census calls "managerial and professional." Management has been the main agent of this transformation. Management explains why, for the first time in human history, we can employ large numbers of knowledgeable, skilled people in productive work. No earlier society could do this. Indeed, no earlier society could support more than a handful of such people. Until quite recently, no one knew how to put people with different skills and knowledge together to achieve common goals.

Eighteenth-century China was the envy of contemporary Western intellectuals because it supplied more jobs for educated people than all of Europe did -- some twenty thousand per year. Today, the United States, with about the same population China then had, graduates nearly a million college students a year, few of whom have the slightest difficulty finding well-paid employment. Management enables us to employ them.

Knowledge, especially advanced knowledge, is always specialized. By itself it produces nothing. Yet a modern business, and not only the largest ones, may employ up to ten thousand highly knowledgeable people who represent up to sixty different knowledge areas. Engineers of all sorts, designers, marketing experts, economists, statisticians, psychologists, planners, accountants, human-resources people-all working together in a joint venture. None would be effective without the managed enterprise.

There is no point in asking which came first, the educational explosion of the last one hundred years or the management that put this knowledge to productive use. Modern management and modern enterprise could not exist without the knowledge base that developed societies have built. But equally, it is management, and management alone, that makes effective all this knowledge and these knowledgeable people. The emergence of management has converted knowledge from social ornament and luxury into the true capital of any economy.

Not many business leaders could have predicted this development back in 1870, when large enterprises were first beginning to take shape. The reason was not so much lack of foresight as lack of precedent. At that time, the only large permanent organization around was the army. Not surprisingly, therefore, its commandand-control structure became the model for the men who were putting together transcontinental railroads, steel mills, modern banks, and department stores. The command model, with a very few at the top giving orders and a great many at the bottom obeying them, remained the norm for nearly one hundred years. But it was never as static as its longevity might suggest. On the contrary, it began to change almost at once, as specialized knowledge of all sorts poured into enterprise.

The first university-trained engineer in manufacturing industry was hired by Siemens in Germany in 1867 -- his name was Friedrich von Hefner-Alteneck. Within five years he had built a research department. Other specialized departments followed suit. By World War I the standard functions of a manufacturer had been developed: research and engineering, manufacturing, sales, finance and accounting, and a little later, human resources (or personnel).

Even more important for its impact on enterprise -- and on the world economy in general -- was another management-directed development that took place at this time. That was the application of management to manual work in the form of training. The child of wartime necessity, training has propelled the transformation of the world economy in the last forty years because it allows low-wage countries to do something that traditional economic theory had said could never be done: to become efficient -- and yet still low-wage -- competitors almost overnight.

Adam Smith reported that it took several hundred years for a country or region to develop a tradition of labor and the expertise in manual and managerial skills needed to produce and market a given product, whether cotton textiles or violins...

The Essential Drucker. Copyright © by Peter F. Drucker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Origin and Purpose of The Essential Drucker
I: Management
1: Management as Social Function and Liberal Art ..... 3
2: The Dimensions of Management ..... 14
3: The Purpose and Objectives of a Business ..... 18
4: What the Nonprofits Are Teaching Business ..... 39
5: Social Impacts and Social Problems ..... 51
6: Management's New Paradigms ..... 69
7: The Information Executives Need Today ..... 95
8: Management by Objectives and Self-Control ..... 112
9: Picking People - The Basic Rules ..... 127
10: The Entrepreneurial Business ..... 136
11: The New Venture ..... 144
12: Entrepreneurial Strategies ..... 161
II: The Individual
13: Effectiveness Must Be Learned ..... 191
14: Focus on Contribution ..... 207
15: Know Your Strengths and Values ..... 217
16: Know Your Time ..... 225
17: Effective Decisions ..... 241
18: Functioning Communications ..... 261
19: Leadership as Work ..... 268
20: Principles of Innovation ..... 272
21: The Second Half of Your Life ..... 280
22: The Educated Person ..... 287
III: Society
23: A Century of Social Transformation - Emergence of Knowledge Society ..... 299
24: The Coming of Entrepreneurial Society ..... 321
25: Citizenship through the Social Sector ..... 329
26: From Analysis to Perception - The New Worldview ..... 337
Afterword: The Challenge Ahead ..... 347
Index ..... 351
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First Chapter

The Essential Drucker Chapter One Management as Social Function and Liberal Art

When Karl Marx was beginning work on Das Kapital in the 185Os, the phenomenon of management was unknown. So were the enterprises that managers run. The largest manufacturing company around was a Manchester cotton mill employing fewer than three hundred people and owned by Marx's friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels. And in Engels's mill—one of the most profitable businesses of its day—there were no "managers," only "charge hands" who, themselves workers, enforced discipline over a handful of fellow "proletarians."

Rarely in human history has any institution emerged as quickly as management or had as great an impact so fast. In less than 150 years, management has transformed the social and economic fabric of the world's developed countries. It has created a global economy and set new rules for countries that would participate in that economy as equals. And it has itself been transformed. Few executives are aware of the tremendous impact management has had. Indeed, a good many are like M. Jourdain, the character in Molière's Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who did not know that he spoke prose. They barely realize that they practice—or mispractice—management. As a result, they are ill prepared for the tremendous challenges that now confront them. The truly important problems managers face do not come from technology or politics; they do not originate outside of management and enterprise. They are problems caused by the very success of management itself.

To be sure, the fundamental task of management remains the same: to make peoplecapable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structure, and the training and development they need to perform and to respond to change. But the very meaning of this task has changed, if only because the performance of management has converted the workforce from one composed largely of unskilled laborers to one of highly educated knowledge workers.

The Origins and Development of Management

On the threshold of World War I, a few thinkers were just becoming aware of management's existence. But few people even in the most advanced countries had anything to do with it. Now the largest single group in the labor force, more than one-third of the total, are people whom the U.S. Bureau of the Census calls "managerial and professional." Management has been the main agent of this transformation. Management explains why, for the first time in human history, we can employ large numbers of knowledgeable, skilled people in productive work. No earlier society could do this. Indeed, no earlier society could support more than a handful of such people. Until quite recently, no one knew how to put people with different skills and knowledge together to achieve common goals.

Eighteenth-century China was the envy of contemporary Western intellectuals because it supplied more jobs for educated people than all of Europe did—some twenty thousand per year. Today, the United States, with about the same population China then had, graduates nearly a million college students a year, few of whom have the slightest difficulty finding well-paid employment. Management enables us to employ them.

Knowledge, especially advanced knowledge, is always specialized. By itself it produces nothing. Yet a modern business, and not only the largest ones, may employ up to ten thousand highly knowledgeable people who represent up to sixty different knowledge areas. Engineers of all sorts, designers, marketing experts, economists, statisticians, psychologists, planners, accountants, human-resources people-all working together in a joint venture. None would be effective without the managed enterprise.

There is no point in asking which came first, the educational explosion of the last one hundred years or the management that put this knowledge to productive use. Modern management and modern enterprise could not exist without the knowledge base that developed societies have built. But equally, it is management, and management alone, that makes effective all this knowledge and these knowledgeable people. The emergence of management has converted knowledge from social ornament and luxury into the true capital of any economy.

Not many business leaders could have predicted this development back in 1870, when large enterprises were first beginning to take shape. The reason was not so much lack of foresight as lack of precedent. At that time, the only large permanent organization around was the army. Not surprisingly, therefore, its commandand-control structure became the model for the men who were putting together transcontinental railroads, steel mills, modern banks, and department stores. The command model, with a very few at the top giving orders and a great many at the bottom obeying them, remained the norm for nearly one hundred years. But it was never as static as its longevity might suggest. On the contrary, it began to change almost at once, as specialized knowledge of all sorts poured into enterprise.

The first university-trained engineer in manufacturing industry was hired by Siemens in Germany in 1867—his name was Friedrich von Hefner-Alteneck. Within five years he had built a research department. Other specialized departments followed suit. By World War I the standard functions of a manufacturer had been developed: research and engineering, manufacturing, sales, finance and accounting, and a little later, human resources (or personnel).

Even more important for its impact on enterprise—and on the world economy in general—was another management-directed development that took place at this time. That was the application of management to manual work in the form of training. The child of wartime necessity, training has propelled the transformation of the world economy in the last forty years because it allows low-wage countries to do something that traditional economic theory had said could never be done: to become efficient—and yet still low-wage—competitors almost overnight.

Adam Smith reported that it took several hundred years for a country or region to develop a tradition of labor and the expertise in manual and managerial skills needed to produce and market a given product, whether cotton textiles or violins...

The Essential Drucker. Copyright © by Peter Drucker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2004

    Perennial Wisdom from the High Priest of Management

    The Essential Drucker is an excellent introduction to the Peter Drucker¿s writings on management. Some readers, understandably, complain that the book is so general on some topics, that its practical value is sometimes limited. Ultimately, this recapitulation of Drucker¿s essential thoughts about management is an invitation to rethink some commonly accepted views on management. If one needs convincing on this point, consider the following ten examples: 1) Contrary to popular belief, management and entrepreneurship are not opposite, but complimentary (pg. 8, 136-143, and 161-188). An established company that does not innovate, is regularly doomed to what Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction. As Clayton Christensen demonstrates brilliantly in The Innovator¿s Dilemma, innovation is sometimes not even enough to avert business failure. Similarly, a poorly managed start-up will often end up broken (pg. 144-160). 2) One of the three tasks of management is managing social impacts and social responsibilities. The recent wave of corporate scandals unfortunately illustrates this point too well, often with disastrous consequences for their authors and the stakeholders who have a key interest in the success of the organization (pg. 16-20). Profit is not the explanation, cause or rationale of business behavior and business decisions, but rather the test of their validity as Drucker states (pg. 18). 3) Neither is there a separate ethics of business, nor one is needed. The ethics of responsibility is plain, everyday honesty. The issue is one of moral values and moral education of the individual. As Drucker bluntly points out, all that is needed is to mete stiff punishments to those ¿ whether business executives or others ¿ who yield to temptation (pg. 63-64). 4) Few organizations reach at least 30% of all potential customers in any market. And yet few organizations know anything about the non-customers (pg. 85). To start changing this, organizations have to understand what existing and potential customers really value in a product or service. This desired value is not necessarily what the supplier sells (pg. 86, 111, 148, 186). 5) Each manager should have the information he needs to measure his own performance and should receive it soon enough to make any necessary changes. Yet in most organizations, the results of the audits do not go to the managers audited, but to the top management who then confronts these managers with the audit of their operations (pg. 121-122). Management by self-control is more productive than management by domination to achieve excellence. 6) Most executives do not perform very well when they promote or hire. By all accounts, only one-third of such decisions turn out to be right; one-third are minimally effective; one-third are outright failures. In no other area of management is such dismissal performance tolerated (pg. 127). Drucker also reminds his readers that it is not intuitively obvious to most people that a new and different job requires a new and different behavior (pg. 132, 211). 7) Few people realize that many people make decisions within organizations. Knowledge workers who are considered partners rather than employees, can only be helped. The close supervision of knowledge workers is often illusory because of their unique expertise. Only effectiveness that focuses on contribution, transforms intelligence, imagination and knowledge into results (pg. 192-193, 196, 207). 8) Warm feelings and pleasant words are meaningless, if there is no achievement in what is, after all, a work-focused and task-focused relationship. An occasional rough word will not disturb a relationship that produces results and accomplishments for all concerned according to Drucker (pg. 213-214). 9) Many business policy statements contain no action commitment. No wonder that the people in the organization tend to view these statements cynically because they do not reflect

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2003

    Great book!

    Everything Peter Drucker writes becomes a classic. This is 'must' reading for senior managers. I also recommend 'Strategic Organizational Change' by Michael Beitler. Like Drucker, he is also an Austrian with the same broad knowledge and insight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2009

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