glyph 589: history and development of management practices and language ... management by objectives ... knowledge worker ... privatization ... Peter Drucker's contribution to the struggle between freedom and tyranny ... responsible management, [articipatory democracy ..... World Export Processing Zones Association [WEPZA], Robert C. Haywood


Peter Drucker - What Management Learned from Him

a remembrance, by Bob Haywood

World Export Processing Zones Association News
From the Desk Of: Robert C. Haywood, Director, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2005

WEPZA Friend Peter Drucker Dead At 95

It is with great sadness that I note the death of WEPZA's friend and mentor Peter Drucker Friday night, November 11. Initially his passing received far less notice than this great man deserved. Part of this is no doubt due to the desires of his wonderfully loving and supportive wife Doris and their four daughters. Part of it is also due to the humility of Peter himself. For most of his life this Doctor of International Law, professor, writer, and advisor to captains of industry answered his own phone with a characteristic "This is Peter".

But perhaps the greatest reason for the quietness of his passage is the fact that his thoughts and writings so define American business culture that many of today's managers, editors and journalists do not appreciate how much they live in the shadow of Peter's prolific 65 year career. They would not know that it was Peter who coined the term 'Management by Objectives' in the 1940's that they still use today in its many adaptations. 'Knowledge Worker', that term, which is so in vogue today, was coined by him during the 1950s when he recognized the impact of the GI Bill in empowering workers. In the 60's he coined 'Privatization', and he saw the importance and value of outsourcing when he coined word 'Production Sharing' in the 1970s.

While he is best known for his writings on management, Peter had a much greater impact our society. Peter believed that effective private sector organizations, business and nonprofits were the cornerstone of our liberty. In 1974 he wrote:

Our society has become, within an incredibly short fifty years, a society of institutions. If the institutions of our pluralist society of institutions do not perform in responsible autonomy, we will not have individualism and a society in which there is a chance for people to fulfill themselves. We will instead impose on ourselves complete regimentation in which no one will be allowed autonomy. We will have Stalinism rather than participatory democracy, let alone the joyful spontaneity of doing one's own thing. Tyranny is the only alternative to strong, performing autonomous institutions...

He focused on management because responsible management is what creates performing, autonomous institutions. It is what permits a pluralistic democratic society. The near universal acceptance of Drucker's concepts of management by American executives is also what stands between the overwhelmingly positive contribution of American capitalism and the apocalyptic predictions of its European and Socialist critics who don't understand it.

Peter Drucker's passing was hardly noticed by the common man. However, if free markets and democracy survive another 200 years, Peter's works will be seen to define the basics of the highly productive economy which emerged in the late 20th century in the same way that Adam Smith defined the new rules emerging in late 18th century Europe. Adam Smith's work marks the beginning of the Age of Industrialization. Peter Drucker's works should be seen as marking the beginning of the Age of Freedom: the ending of tyranny.

In the end perhaps he was the journalist he liked to describe himself as, reporting on 'The future that has already happened.'
December 2, 2017; edited/updated June 11, 2019

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