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November 12, 2005

Farewell Peter Drucker

I see by today’s New York Times that the great Peter Drucker died yesterday at 95. All knowledge practitioners are in his debt as he was the very first theorist and writer to raise the issues of knowledge worker, knowledge productivity, and the entire subject of the role of knowledge in the economy with executives. Some economists and even sociologists had raised some of these points but none had even a fraction of Drucker’s clout and influence with management.

What is also interesting, though also very sad, is how just how little has changed in corporate practice in spite of Drucker’s polemics, philippics, rants and analyses. The Times mentions how he often stressed that firms need to look beyond profitability to remain healthy, how organizations need to see workers as assets not costs, that decision making needs to devolve to the workers who actually know what’s going on, and many other notions believed fervently by me and you but still rarely if at all practiced in large and medium sized firms.

With all the sales of his many books, his crystal clear prose, his immense learning, and his accessible style, did much change in American corporate practice because of him?

Posted by Larry Prusak on November 12, 2005 11:52 AM | Permalink

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Regarding your question about how much changed in American corporate practice because of Peter Drucker, I would say a great deal changed. It would probably be impossible to say how much or in what ways but I am a firm believer in the proposition that language shapes thought and thought shapes behavior and no one can read what Peter Drucker had to say and then go on unchanged.

Posted by: Fred Nickols | November 28, 2005 04:16 PM

Here's an amazing audio interview with Drucker. Probably his last.

Posted by: Christian | November 12, 2005 02:18 PM

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