Peter Ferdinand Drucker was an amazing writer, brilliant management consultant and a self-defined “social ecologist”. His works distinguish the organization of human across business, government and the non-profit sectors of society. Peter is among the best known and most influential thinkers on the matter of management theory and practices. Peter’s writings that envisaged several major developments became true when in the late twentieth century, privatization and decentralization ruled the world. He had also predicted the rise of Japan to economic world power, the importance of marketing and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning. He is the one who had coined the term “knowledge worker" in 1959. In the late years of his life, Drucker believed that the ‘knowledge work productivity’ would be the next outline of management.
Peter Drucker Childhood & Early Life
Peter Drucker was born on November 19, 1909 to Caroline Bond and Adolf Drucker in a small village called Kaasgraben in Vienna, Austria. His father was a lawyer and high-level civil servant. He grew up seeing intellectuals, high government officials and scientists discussing new ideas and concepts. Drucker graduated from Döbling Gymnasium. Since there was less opportunity for employment in post-Habsburg Vienna, he moved to Hamburg, Germany. He initially worked as a trainee at a cotton trading company and then served as a journalist, writing for Der Österreichische Volkswirt. Drucker, then, shifted to Frankfurt and took up a job at the Daily Frankfurter General-Anzeiger. While his days in Frankfurt, in 1931, he acquired a doctorate in international law and public law from the University of Frankfurt.
Initially, Drucker was greatly influenced by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, friend of his father, who stressed on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship. His initial works, one on the conservative German philosopher Friedrich Julius Stahl and the second, “The Jewish Question in Germany”, were later burned and banned by the Nazis. In 1933, Drucker left Germany and moved to London. During his days in London, he worked in insurance company, later switching his job as a chief economist at a private bank. Later, Drucker married Doris Schmitz and shifted permanently to United States. In America, he took a job of a university professor, simultaneously working as a freelance writer and business consultant. In 1943, Drucker gained the citizenship of United States. Due to his effective initial writings on politics and society, he got access to the General Motors (GM) internal management in 1942.
In 1943, Donaldson Brown, master mind of General Motor’s (GM) administrative control invited Drucker to conduct so called “political audit”, under which he had to analyze the corporation for two years in social- scientific methods. Drucker participated in each board meeting, interviewed all the employees, analyzed production and decision-making processes. At the end, he came out with a book “Concept of the Corporation”. The book gained extraordinary popularity both in and outside GM and promoted the company’s multidivisional structure. The book resulted in several articles, consulting engagements, and more books. Internally, the work of Drucker’s guidance was looked as very critical.
Alongside his stint at General Motors, Drucker simultaneously taught at various educational institutes, like Bennington College from 1942-1949. Thereafter, he served as a professor of management at New York University from 1950 to 1971. Peter moved to California in 1971, where he established one of the America’s first executive MBA programs. This program was for the working professionals at Claremont Graduate University. Drucker then became the Clarke professor of social science and management at Claremont Graduate University. The management school of the university was named as the "Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management" to honor him in 1987.
In the second half of the twentieth century, Drucker’s ideology proved to accomplish mature business. Apart from serving as the consultant in GM, he had worked with various major corporations like General Electric, Coca-Cola, Citicorp, IBM, and Intel. In spite of his helping corporate executives to taste success, Drucker was alarmed when according to the reports of Fortune 500, the level of CEO’s salary in United States increased to hundreds of times in comparison of that of an average worker. Drucker also served as a consultant for several government agencies and non-profit organizations in United States, Canada and Japan. He was the person who predicted the rise of social sector in United States. His writings focused on relationship between human beings, lessons on how corporation can dig out the best in people and how workers can discover a sense of community and dignity in modern society when surrounded by bigger institutions.
Awards & Honors
In the year 1969, Peter Drucker was awarded New York University’s highest honor, the NYU Presidential Citation. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996. Peter Drucker was awarded with prestigious the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in July 2002 by President George W. Bush in acknowledgement of his work in the stream of management. He also received similar honor from governments of Japan and Austria. Drucker was appointed as the Honorary Chairman of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, now the Leader to Leader Institute, from 1990 through 2002. In 2004, Drucker was honored with his seventh McKinsey Award for his article, "What Makes an Effective Executive" by Harvard Business Review. To top it all, Drucker holds 25 honorary doctorates from American, Belgian, Czech, English, Spanish and Swiss Universities. Posthumously, the Eleventh Street between College Avenue and Dartmouth Avenue was renamed “Drucker Way” in October 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Peter Drucker.
Peter died a natural deathonNovember 11, 2005 at his home in Claremont, California. He was 95 then. Over the years, Drucker contributed immensely as a management consultant.
Work As An Author
One of the best-known thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice, Drucker in his lifetime wrote 39 books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Two amongst those are novels and one an autobiography. He was also the co-author of a book on Japanese painting, and made eight series of educational films on management topics. Apart from this, he also penned a regular column in the Wall Street Journal for 20 years and contributed every now and then to the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist. Right through his life, Drucker continued to act as a consultant to businesses and non-profit organizations.