Austen’s Powers

It’s back-to-school time across the country, eliciting groans from many a student. But, though they may not see it at the moment, what they are learning will one day help them manage organizations of all sorts, as well as manage themselves. “Managers,” Drucker once said, “draw on all the knowledge and insights of the humanities and the social sciences.” In this edition of Drucker Apps, you’ll find tools to help you understand why management is a liberal art, the way in which work and society connect, why we need to balance words and concepts with results, and how management books “corrupt the style.” These insights—at once timely and timeless—are based on the ideas and ideals of the late Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management.

Management as a liberal art

“Management deals with action and application; and its test is its results. This makes it a technology…But management also deals with people, their values, their growth and development— and this makes it a humanity…Management is thus what tradition used to call a ‘liberal art’.”— Peter F. Drucker, The New Realities

Where work and society intersect

“Work is a central factor in shaping and molding society, social order and community…society is held in tension between two poles, the pole of great ideas, especially of course great religious ideas, and the pole of how man works.”— Peter F. Drucker, The Ecological Vision

  • How most historians, economists and philosophers view technology. Read more here.
  • Hear C. William Pollard, chairman emeritus of ServiceMaster Co., discuss how Drucker would draw on a wide range of disciplines to help him understand “the human condition”.

Living in two worlds

“The educated person will…have to be prepared to live and work simultaneously in two cultures— that of the ‘intellectual’ who focuses on words and ideas, and that of the ‘manager’ who focuses on people and work.”— Peter F. Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society

  • How intellectuals and managers “need each other.” Read more here.
  • Listen to Joseph Maciariello, the academic director at the Drucker Institute, on why work is the place where a person’s “intellectual and moral capacities” can be developed.

Excerpt from Post-Capitalist Society reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. Copyright ©1993 by HarperCollins: all rights reserved.

Jane Austen, management guru?

“I am rereading each summer—and have for many years—the main novelists…I never read management books. All they do is corrupt the style.”— Peter F. Drucker in a 1997 letter to a friend

Excerpt from The Last of All Possible Worlds reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. Copyright ©1982 by HarperCollins: all rights reserved.