How Not to Manage Knowledge Workers

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest online column for Time magazine, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about a class-action lawsuit in which 64,000 workers are suing Google, Apple and other tech companies for allegedly colluding to suppress wages by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees.

“It will be up to a federal court jury in San Jose, Calif., to decide whether the tech giants violated antitrust law—though the current betting is that a pre-trial settlement is likely,” Wartzman writes. “What is already clear is that they violated [PeterDrucker.”

Indeed, Drucker believed that “one of the hallmarks of the knowledge age . . . was the ability of software engineers and other specialists to shift fluidly among different employers,” Wartzman explains.

In restricting recruiting practices, he adds, some of the country’s leading tech executives have “revealed something rather remarkable about themselves: They’re just as intent on exercising power over their workers as the old-line corporate dinosaurs that Silicon Valley tends to look down upon.”

The organization “must never be permitted the dangerous delusion that it has a claim to the loyalty or allegiance of the individual—other than what it can earn by enabling him to be productive and responsible,” Drucker wrote. A company “must never be allowed to consider its relationship to the individual member as an indissoluble union; it must treat it as existing only for a specific purpose and therefore revocable.”