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.     When Good Management Is a Matter of Life and Death: Writing at the HBR Blog, Morten T. Hansen, a professor at the UC Berkeley, takes a look at the 2011 massacre in Norway and lays out some of the key attributes of leadership in crisis—attributes that, tragically, were not in evidence when disaster struck in Oslo. As Hansen concludes, “You are judged by how well you prepare in advance for a crisis, not just by what you do when it hits.”

2.     High-speed Railways: Worth Their Hefty Price Tag?: The romance of high-speed rail seduces many of us, but do the numbers make sense? This is the question explored in a post at Knowledge@Wharton. Certainly, it’s not a question that answers itself, in part because of differing values and definitions: “When it comes to high-speed rail, ‘economic benefits’ are apparently difficult to define—making the sales pitch for any high-speed rail project almost as difficult as building one.”

3.     Corporate Social Responsibility: Distinction or Distraction?Being part of a company that’s a good citizen is very satisfying, but who’s to say what makes a company a good citizen? That’s the prickly question raised by Steve McKee in BloombergBusinessweek: “Making judgments about which position is ‘right’ is a slippery slope, because, like fair trade and social justice, corporate social responsibility is a fuzzy, malleable, eye-of-the-beholder concept.”

4.     The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to our question about private equity firms and whether they have played a generally positive or negative role in the economy, reader Mike Grayson had this to say:

“I have been involved in projects funded by private equity firms and, in my experience, they are quick to pull the plug if returns don’t meet their expectations. But they have the ability to inject cash into projects that otherwise may never have gotten off the ground, and from that perspective they contribute to economic growth.”