What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.     GM’s Steve Girsky on Renewed Customer Focus, Overcapacity and the Volt: Knowledge@Wharton interviews Steve Girsky, vice chairman of General Motors, who says business is going very, very well. Quality is up, sales are up, and the company’s holding onto Opel, its affiliate in Europe. But there are also lots of challenges in turning around a company that was for a while at death’s door. And some unexpected statistics: “We sold as many cars around the world as Volkswagen did, and they made twice the amount of money that we did.”

2.     Ethical Quandary in the Age of Big Data: Avoid Creepiness: Did you know that if you look for a hotel room on a Mac versus a PC, you have a good chance of being quoted a higher rate? That’s because we finding ways to learn more and more and more about ourselves and one another. Renee Boucher Ferguson writes at the Improvisations Blog at Sloan Management Reviewthat all of this big data is causing many ethical quandaries for companies, and we customers might find it all pretty creepy. Former Capgemini principal consultant Kord Davis has this advice to offer: “To create a comfort factor—to reduce creepy—make sure your communal values are in line with your actions.”

3.     If Happiness Is An Inalienable Right, How Come We’re Not Happier?: For the past half century, we’ve been stuck at a level of happiness that’s not increasing. On the contrary, we may be inching in the other direction, writes Steve Denning at Forbes, and a lot of it has to do with an increasingly miserable workplace. That might be different if people felt they were working toward meaningful goals. And it’s also, says Denning, possible if we would just do it: “We know how to manage firms in a way that leads to high profitability and worker happiness.”

4.     The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to a quotation from Peter Drucker about the inevitability of the American Revolution, reader George Paik had this to say:

Because the only way to justify separation from the freest state in the world was as a matter of principle, and because the actual complaints of the colonies reflected diverse interests, separation in 1776 had to be based on a philosophy. … Our nationality is still unique in this respect, cut loose from ties of blood, religion, language, monarchical or landed history. And our history comprises a development guided by this creed. … Without the Declaration of Independence, without the Revolution as it did happen to happen, we might not have had such a creed, such a tone to guide our development and our history.