Joe’s Journal: On Tyranny and the Organization (Part 2)

“Tyranny substitutes one absolute boss for the pluralism of competing institutions….To make our institutions perform responsibly, autonomously, and on a high level of achievement is thus the only safeguard of freedom and dignity in the pluralist society of institutions. Performing, responsible management is the alternative to tyranny and our only protection against it.”

– Peter F. Drucker

This quote from Peter Drucker picks right up from my last Joe’s Journal entry, and underscores how Drucker’s lifework was devoted to producing a pluralistic society of competing, functioning organizations to prevent the tyranny of totalitarianism.

If private-sector organizations devote themselves to building institutions that generate wealth, and do so in a socially responsible way; if government evaluates its programs against predetermined objectives and abandons those programs that no longer perform to make room for others that are socially desirable; and if social-sector organizations establish missions that commit the institution to changing lives for the better, we will have something approaching a functioning society of pluralistic organizations that Drucker discusses in this passage. [EXPAND More]

This, of course, will never be easy to accomplish. There will always be special-interest groups whose motivations will be at odds with public priorities. There will always be private-sector organizations that violate the interests of society. And social sector organizations will always face the temptation to “do good” rather than to achieve results in an effective way.

Drucker seemed most optimistic, however, about the chances of the social sector. And I share that optimism. I am encouraged, in particular, by how many of our young people are devoting their lives to organizations that are seeking to change the lives of others, and to make our society better.

Young people must contend with economic conditions that recent generations of Americans have not had to contend with. The American Dream, as we have known it, may not be so easily reached by our children. But maybe significance is, in part, replacing traditional measures of success and redefining the definition of the American Dream. Let us hope so.

I wish each of you a Happy New Year.

— Joe Maciariello [/EXPAND]