Synopsis of on Profession of Management - Peter Drucker

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On the Profession of Management is a compilation of Druckers work that has appeared in the Harvard Business Review over the last 30 years. Review editor Nan Stone has organized 13 articles into two sections. The first, The Managers Responsibilities, focuses on the burgeoning business realities that have serious implications on the present business scenario. Dynamic shifts in the current business theory, management practices and the ways to make effective decision are some of the key challenges faced by today’s managers. The second, The Executives World, focuses on - the history of management, the transformation from the traditional command-and-control model to knowledge-based organizations, emergence of information technology, and valuable lessons that can be learnt from non-profit organizations.

In the first part of the book, Business philosopher, Peter Drucker portrays the business model of today, and highlights the necessary interactions of managers with the model. According to Drucker every organization is based on some assumptions – these assumptions are about markets, organizations mission and core competencies. It is highly imperative that there is a strong fit between assumptions and actual reality. One of the prime reasons of current business failures hinges on the gap between the reality and perceived notions about market, environment, technology, core competencies on the organizations part. The success of a company depends upon a sound and realistic business theory that successfully addresses the reason a company is paid for, what it wants to accomplish, how it want to accomplish and while doing that in what manner it contributes to society. Drucker furthermore stresses that the theory of business must be understood throughout the organization and tested constantly to ensure that it stays valid for the business in the overhaul.

One of the common denominator in all managerial functions is making decisions – and not just decisions but the kind that satisfies the intent, the purpose behind the decision. Drucker proposes that a manager must first analyze or classify the nature of the problem whether it is a generic problem or a unique problem. The former calls for a day to day or routine procedures whereas the latter demands creative solutions. Effective decision in both cases can only be made if the defined problem fully explains all observable events and facts, adequately satisfies the boundary conditions i.e. the objectives of the decision, aims to accomplish what is right rather than what is acceptable, has built in action commitment in the decision. Furthermore the manager must proactively seek feedback through direct interaction rather than endless reports so that stagnation can be avoided.

We have emphasized earlier the important of decision making – in fact making decisions is so pervasive that all encompasses all areas of a manager’s responsibilities and duties and to the extent that almost every decision that is made eventually boils down to one key factor i.e. People. In Drucker words: “In no other area of management would we put up with such miserable performance”. No one can promise to deliver perfect decisions all the times, deviations from boundary conditions; judgment errors are very much part of it but a manager can still use some basic principle. A manager must not engage in blame game rather be gutsy enough to take responsibility when an erroneous decision is made by him, make sure that responsible people in the organization perform. One big Don’t in this scenario is to avoid giving challenging assignments to newly hired employees. One extremely valuable lesson in this regard is that people decisions are yardstick and gauge with which performance capacity of an organization is determined. There are number of factors and steps that should be taken in to account while making people decision (staffing and promotion) .The employee or candidate must possess thorough knowledge of the job,...
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