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The Handy Guide to the Gurus of Management
Charles Handy was, for many years, a professor at the London Business School. He is now an independent writer and broadcaster. He describes himself, these days, as a social philosopher.
Management and Work
Episode 3: Peter Drucker

  Listen to the radio programme in full
  Download the complete script (pdf)
    (Can't read pdf file? Get free Acrobat Reader)

We regret that Peter Drucker has died - however, his work is still highly influential, and for that reason the webpage and the radio programme about him have been left in their original format.


Peter Drucker's first great contribution was to focus on management as a discipline in its own right.

In 'The Concept of the Corporation', Drucker explained, for the first time, how and why decentralization worked. Drucker said decentralization was good because it created small groups where people felt that their contribution was important.

In'The Effective Executive' Drucker says the purpose of a business is to create a customer and a manager's main tasks are:

- to set objectives
- to organize
- to motivate and communicate
- to measure results
- to develop people

What Drucker wanted was a workplace where workers were trusted to get on with the job without too much supervision, where they knew what they needed to do and were clear about how it would be measured and how they would be rewarded. It was management by results rather than management by supervision.

In the 'Age of Discontinuity' Drucker focused on the changes in society and how the role of the manager would change too. The main changes he examined were:

- the arrival of 'knowledge industries' employing specialised workers
- the move to a global economy
- the move towards privatization.

Finally, Drucker started examining non-profit organizations which he called the 'social sector'. These organizations, says Drucker, are better than government in solving the social problems of competitive capitalism.

In the next talk, Charles Handy discusses another man who puts people first - Tom Peters.

Read Peter Drucker's biography

Some useful business words:

focused on
to focus on something is to direct attention to something

here, a subject of learning studied at university

the move of government and businesses from one central office to several more independent smaller ones

reason for existence

person or company which buys goods

set objectives
decide which aims need to be achieved

encourage someone to do something

measure results
judge whether results are good or bad

develop people
to help people grow in experience and knowledge

being watched to see if work is done well

to receive something in return for doing something good

global economy
the making and using of money across the whole world

selling a government-owned industry to private owners

non-profit organizations
companies which are not run to make money

competitive capitalism
economic system where each person is free to compete in business without government interference

puts people first
puts the benefit of people before the benefit of the organization

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