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 Did Business School Become All About the Parties?: Pointing to a recent New York Times article about class and gender divisions at Harvard Business School, Stanford business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer notes in Bloomberg Businessweek that lavish networking events seem to have edged out academics at a lot of elite business schools. Rich people make connections with fellow rich people in order to help one another become richer. Pfeffer writes, “Business school has become way more about the parties than about the course work, which has left poorer students at a social—and professional—disadvantage.”

2.  How the cult of shareholder value wrecked American business: We’ve written about and joined in a lot of the complaints over the business mindset of shareholder value trumping all. But how did it all come to this? Writing in the Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein offers a history of how all of this arose. He also says its time will soon be up. Pearlstein writes, “As the economy improves and the baby boom generation retires, companies that have reputations as ruthless maximizers of short-term profits will find themselves on the losing end of the global competition for talent.”

3.  The Tech Intellectuals: The Internet has created a new sort of intellectual, someone who can leap into the conversation without gatekeepers and who can prosper as long as enough people are paying attention. This is a good thing, writes George Washington University political scientist Henry Farrell in Democracy. But it’s also a not-so good thing. The new system of incentives strongly supports thinking in a way that appeals to the tech elite. Farrell writes, “The difficult part is figuring out how genuinely contrary and interesting intellectuals can support themselves in a tacit economy that seems geared either to co-opt them or turn them into professional controversialists.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week:  Last week, when we revisited the meltdown of 2008 and asked what might have been better economic policy, reader Deborah Hagar had this to say:

Pure economic theory would not have solved the problem. I believe the government should have refocused its thinking and set a clear vision, with economic policy, about the future changes needed in our infrastructure, markets, and jobs development, to respond to the global economic changes. This would have provided a sound foundation for policy and certainty for investments in the private markets.