“Classic Drucker: Essential Wisdom from the Pages of Harvard Business Review” is a book that contains a collection of articles by Peter Drucker. The book features a selection of articles, all of which come from the “Harvard Business Review”, and were authored by the prolific business author. Peter Drucker, the author of the articles, is arguably the most relevant management guru of the last century. The author has written approximately forty books in the course of his sixty-five-year consulting career.
We will write a custom Critical Writing on Peter Drucker’s Business Review Articles specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Some of the arguments and theories that are outlined in “Classic Drucker” have since found prominence in the management world. Most of Drucker’s publications have remained fresh and relevant over the years. Furthermore, Drucker’s contributions to management acted as trailblazers for other writers who used the author’s work as the backbone of their research (Beatty, 1998). “Classic Drucker” consists of fifteen of the most relevant articles out of the forty that the author contributed to the “Harvard Business Review” in the course of his career.
The articles are tied together by an insightful introduction that is put together by the book’s editor. The main argument in “Classic Drucker” is that effective management is the backbone of all organizations. Nevertheless, even though Peter Drucker was one of the most important management thinkers of the last century, not all his claims are ‘absolute truths’. This paper explores “Classic Drucker” with the aim of pointing out what the author got right or wrong.
One weakness in the book is that the author of “Classic Drucker” assumes the role of maverick in several articles within this book. This role can be seen in the chapter on “Managing for Business Effectiveness”. In this chapter, the author advises executives and business manager against spending time on activities that do not have significant outputs. The author cites “tasks such as purchasing, training, pricing, selling, quality control, scheduling, and customer service among others” (Drucker, 2006).
According to the author, most of these tasks take up most managers’ time while their contribution to profitability remains very low. The book advises managers to select the tasks that contribute most to profitability and focus on these tasks. This advice by Drucker is representative of a maverick’s way of thinking. All tasks within an organization are important and neglecting one of them might start a chain reaction of failure. Furthermore, most management-related duties are instinctive. Consequently, managers handle tasks instinctively and without necessarily relegating the ‘least’ significant ones.
It is possible for managers to create a backlog of unaccomplished tasks when they start putting away the activities that are of least importance to profitability. Drucker’s views can only find relevance in an ideal management environment. The author also claims that “in almost all human endeavors, approximately 20% of the inputs account for 90% of all results” (Drucker, 2006). However, the author neglects to show how the rest (80%) of inputs affect the results albeit indirectly. This omission is indicative of the author’s maverick tendencies.
It is important to note that even though only 20% of the workers in a certain organization are responsible for 80% of its output, the same enterprise would be dysfunctional without all its employees. Therefore, Drucker’s sentiment that becoming an effective manager means concentrating on the few activities that produce the most results is misplaced and inaccurate. The truth is that all minor and major activities in an organization are important for production of favorable results.
Drucker’s book fails to use quantitative methods when arriving to its conclusions. Consequently, most of the claims that have been made by the management theorist can easily be disputed. Most management theories utilize full-fledged academic studies when making claims and contributions on acceptable practices. However, the author of this book draws his inspiration from his earlier success as an author and from his job as a management consultant.
Even though, the author’s method cannot be fully dismissed as unsatisfactory and unethical, lack of quantitative methods weakens most of the claims that have been made by the author. For instance, the author’s views on how executives should make people decisions can easily be disputed. The author begins this portion of the book by forwarding the hypothesis that “executives spend more time on making people decisions than on anything else” (Drucker, 2006).
This declarative statement is not backed up by any academic studies or scientific statistics. Therefore, one can question how the author arrived at the conclusion that most of an executive’s time goes towards making human resource decisions. Furthermore, it is possible to dispute this claim altogether using academic and scientific studies. By failing to incorporate scientific methods in his book, Drucker makes his work vulnerable.
One of the most important and positive arguments in “Classic Drucker” involves decision-making. In an article titled “The Effective Decision”, Peter Drucker sought to investigate the “types of decisions and decision-makers” that are beneficial to management (Drucker, 2006). In this portion, the author concentrates on executive-level decision making. This portion of the book dispels the popular idea that good decision-makers are the ones who can make decisions fast whilst being able to process a great deal of information. Instead, the author presents the argument that a good decision maker is the one who has the ability to “concentrate on what is important, and focus on impact” (Drucker, 2006).
Drucker also breaks down the decision making process into six important steps. The decision making process that is outlined by Drucker reiterates the need to prioritize and focus. Drucker’s decision-making theory is applicable to organizations of all sizes and categories. In addition, the steps that are outlined in this article can be applied to personal lives and achieve results. For instance, step four of “The effective Decision” calls on decision makers to ‘decide on what is right’ (Drucker, 2006). According to the article, this step is the hardest when one is making a decision.
The author recognizes that only good judgment is required when deciding what is right. Consequently, there is no ‘manual’ that executives and managers can use when it is time to decide on the right course of action. This fourth step of the decision-making process shows how delicate executive decisions can be. We are reminded that even though “half a loaf is better than having no bread, half a baby is worse than no baby at all” (Drucker, 2006). Therefore, the author is right in implying that the complexities that involve personal decisions are also reflected in executive decision-making. Furthermore, the author correctly points out that at the end of the day, personal judgment is as important as theoretical knowledge when making decisions.
Another positive aspect of this book involves the author’s definition of “what makes an effective executive” (Drucker, 2006). Peter Drucker has authored several materials on the subject of effective executives. This chapter acts as an executive summary of Drucker’s impression of an executive. In the chapter, Drucker theorizes that “an effective executive does not always need to be a charismatic leader in the traditional sense of the word….(he/she) can range from extroverted to reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious” (Drucker, 2006).
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Moreover, the author outlines some of the seven practices that contribute towards the making of an effective executive. Some of the outlined practices include making action plans, taking responsibilities, finding out what is right for the enterprise, and thinking in terms of ‘we’ and not ‘I’. One of the most important pieces of information in this chapter is the author’s claim that an executive requires to know two vital facts. According to Drucker, knowing what is “right for the enterprise” and “what needs to be done” is the hallmark of an executive’s knowledge (Drucker, 2006).
When an executive has a clear knowledge of these two facts, he/she is able to develop an action plan and act on it. Drucker’s definition of an executive is appropriate for all seasons and all types of executives. This author’s definition of an executive adds validity to the claims that are contained in “Classic Drucker”. In an off-cuff but important remark, the author urges all potential executive managers to ‘listen first and speak last’ (Drucker, 2006).
The journal articles that are contained in “Classic Drucker” are a source of important information concerning management and leadership. Most of these articles offer insight into effective short and long-term management. Nevertheless, in some instances the author assumes a ‘maverick’ persona thereby neglecting small but important business decisions. Furthermore, the author shuns quantitative methods of business analysis and this leaves the book exposed to invalidation. The book offers important insights on leadership and decision-making processes. Overall, the book is a valuable asset to management practitioners all over the world.
Beatty, J. (1998). The world according to Peter Drucker. New York: Free Press.
Drucker, P. F. (2006). Classic Drucker: essential wisdom of Peter Drucker from the pages of Harvard Business Review. Boston: Harvard Business Press.