Management Challenges for the 21st Century

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-04
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Peter F. Drucker discusses how the new paradigms of management have changed and will continue to change our basic assumptions about the practices and principles of management. Forward-looking and forward-thinking, Management Challenges for the 21st Century combines the broad knowledge, wide practical experience, profound insight, sharp analysis, and enlightened common sense that are the essence of Drucker's writings and "landmarks of the managerial profession." --Harvard Business Review

Author Biography

Peter F. Drucker is a writer, a teacher, and a consultant. The author of twenty-six books, he has been the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont University since 1971. He is a frequent contributor to magazines and journals and was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 1995. He lives in Claremont, California

Table of Contents

Introduction: Tomorrow's ``Hot'' Issues ix
Management's New Paradigms
Strategy-The New Certainties
The Change Leader
Information Challenges
Knowledge-Worker Productivity
Managing Oneself
Acknowledgments 197(2)
Index 199


Management Challenges for the 21st Century

Chapter One

Management Is Business Management

For most people, inside and outside management, this assumption is taken as self-evident. Indeed management writers, management practitioners and the laity do not even hear the word "management"; they automatically hear business management.

This assumption regarding the universe of management is of fairly recent origin. Before the 1930s the few writers and thinkers who concerned themselves with management—beginning with Frederick Winslow Taylor around the turn of the century and ending with Chester Barnard just before World War II—all assumed that business management is just a subspecies of general management and basically no more different from the management of any other organization than one breed of dogs is from another breed of dogs.

The first practical application of management theory did not take place in a business but in nonprofits and government agencies. Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), the inventor of "Scientific Management," in all probability also coined the terms "Management" and "Consultant" in their present meaning. On his calling card he identified himself as "Consultant to Management"—and he explained that he had intentionally chosen these new and strange terms to shock potential clients into awareness of his offering something totally new. But Taylor did not cite a business but the nonprofit Mayo Clinic as the "perfect example" of "Scientific Management" in his 1912 testimony before the Congress which first made the United States management-conscious. And the most publicized application of Taylor's "Scientific Management" (though aborted by union pressure) was not in a business but in the government-owned and government-run Watertown Arsenal of the U.S. Army.

The first job to which the term "Manager" in its present meaning was applied was not in business. It was the City Manager—an American invention of the early years of the century. The first conscious and systematic application of "management principles" similarly was not in a business. It was the reorganization of the U.S. Army in 1901 by Elihu Root (1845-1937), Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of War.

The first Management Congress—Prague in 1922—was not organized by business people but by Herbert Hoover, then U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Thomas Masaryk, a world-famous historian and the founding President of the new Czechoslovak Republic. And Mary Parker Follett, whose work on Management began at roughly the same time, never differentiated between business management and nonbusiness management. She talked of the management of organizations, to all of which the same principles applied.

What led to the identification of Management with Business Management was the Great Depression with its hostility to business and its contempt for business executives. In order not to be tarred with the business brush, management in the public sector was rechristened "Public Administration" and proclaimed a separate discipline—with its own university departments, its own terminology, its own career ladder. At the same time—and for the same reason—what had begun as a study of management in the rapidly growing hospital (e.g., by Raymond Sloan, the younger brother of GM's Alfred Sloan) was split off as a separate discipline and christened "Hospital Administration."

Not to be called "management" was, in other words, "political correctness" in the Depression years.

In the postwar period, however, the fashion turned. By 1950 business had become a "good word"—largely the result of the performance during World War II of American business management. And then very soon "business management" became "politically correct" as a field of study, above all. And ever since, management has remained identified in the public mind as well as in academia with "business management."

Now, however, we are beginning to unmake this sixty-year-old mistake—as witness the renaming of so many "business schools" into "schools of management," the rapidly growing offerings in "nonprofit management" by these schools, the emergence of "executive management programs" recruiting both business and nonbusiness executives or the emergence of Departments of "Pastoral Management" in divinity schools.

But the assumption that Management is Business Management still persists. It is therefore important to assert—and to do so loudly—that Management is not Business Management—any more than, say, Medicine is Obstetrics.

There are, of course, differences in management between different organizations—Mission defines Strategy, after all, and Strategy defines Structure. There surely are differences between managing a chain of retail stores and managing a Catholic diocese (though amazingly fewer than either chain stores or bishops believe); between managing an air base, a hospital and a software company. But the greatest differences are in the terms individual organizations use. Otherwise the differences are mainly in application rather than in principles. There are not even tremendous differences in tasks and challenges. The executives of all these organizations spend, for instance, about the same amount of their time on people problems—and the people problems are almost always the same. Ninety percent or so of what each of these organizations is concerned with is generic. And the differences in respect to the last 10 percent are no greater between businesses and nonbusinesses than they are between businesses in different industries, for example, between a multinational bank and a toy manufacturer. In every organization—business or nonbusiness alike—only the last 10 percent of management has to be fitted to the organization's specific mission, its specific culture, its specific history and its specific vocabulary.

That Management is not Business Management is particularly important as the growth sector of a developed society in the 21st century is most unlikely to be business—in fact, business has not even been the growth sector of the 20th century in developed societies. A far smaller proportion of the working population in every developed country is now engaged in economic activity, that is, in "business," than it was a hundred years ago. Then virtually everybody in the working population made his or her living in economic activities (e.g., farming). The growth sectors in the 20th century in developed countries have been in "nonbusiness"—in government . . .

Management Challenges for the 21st Century. Copyright © by Peter Drucker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Management Challenges for the 21st Century by Peter F. Drucker
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