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Management article
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Reference no. R0911F
Authors: Alan M Kantrow
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2009
Length: 14 pages

Abstract

Peter Drucker's extensive writings, including more than 30 HBR essays, are landmarks of the managerial profession. They've influenced the practice and teaching of management for decades and no doubt line thousands of bookshelves. But does anyone read his works? More important, ought they? More important still, what will they gain if they do? In this 1980 article, Kantrow maintains that Drucker's real contribution to the discipline of management lies not so much in the cash value of his ideas but in the rigorous activity of mind by which they are formulated. One can learn far more deeply from watching Drucker think, says Kantrow, than from studying the content of his thought. Using specific passages from many of Drucker's books, the author demonstrates how Drucker's broadly contextual, logical, holistic play of thought enacts a kind of ongoing drama of perspective and how, combined with his fair-minded approach and commonsense flow of reasoning, Drucker so effectively convinces the reader. Kantrow also classifies Drucker's works into four groups - social and political thought, business and management analyses, views of what might logically develop in the future, and how-to primers on business tasks - and offers a guide for how to choose the best book for you. Accompanying Kantrow's article are essays by five leaders who write about Peter Drucker's influence on them: AG Lafley, of Procter & Gamble; Frances Hesselbein, of the Leader to Leader Institute; Oscar Motomura, of the Amana-Key Group; Peter Paschek, of Delta Management Consultants; and Zhang Ruimin, of Haier. Peter Drucker's contributions to Harvard Business Review spanned 54 years and were, in the aggregate, more influential than those of any other single contributor. November 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. This special spotlight includes some wise guesses about what Drucker would make of our continuing economic difficulties.

About

Abstract

Peter Drucker's extensive writings, including more than 30 HBR essays, are landmarks of the managerial profession. They've influenced the practice and teaching of management for decades and no doubt line thousands of bookshelves. But does anyone read his works? More important, ought they? More important still, what will they gain if they do? In this 1980 article, Kantrow maintains that Drucker's real contribution to the discipline of management lies not so much in the cash value of his ideas but in the rigorous activity of mind by which they are formulated. One can learn far more deeply from watching Drucker think, says Kantrow, than from studying the content of his thought. Using specific passages from many of Drucker's books, the author demonstrates how Drucker's broadly contextual, logical, holistic play of thought enacts a kind of ongoing drama of perspective and how, combined with his fair-minded approach and commonsense flow of reasoning, Drucker so effectively convinces the reader. Kantrow also classifies Drucker's works into four groups - social and political thought, business and management analyses, views of what might logically develop in the future, and how-to primers on business tasks - and offers a guide for how to choose the best book for you. Accompanying Kantrow's article are essays by five leaders who write about Peter Drucker's influence on them: AG Lafley, of Procter & Gamble; Frances Hesselbein, of the Leader to Leader Institute; Oscar Motomura, of the Amana-Key Group; Peter Paschek, of Delta Management Consultants; and Zhang Ruimin, of Haier. Peter Drucker's contributions to Harvard Business Review spanned 54 years and were, in the aggregate, more influential than those of any other single contributor. November 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. This special spotlight includes some wise guesses about what Drucker would make of our continuing economic difficulties.

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