Management Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Dec 2008
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He was a man who persistently stayed ahead of his time. As begetter of the science of management he towered above the imitators he spawned. Guardian PETER DRUCKER was a doyen of management theory whose influence spanned eight decades. Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
There are very few writers of whom one can say they invented an entire field of study: Peter F. Drucker is one. "Management" as a concept literally did not exist until Drucker's groundbreaking work. From Jim Collins to Jack Welch, every great theorist and practitioner of management has walked in Drucker's footsteps.
And in 1974, with MANAGEMENT, he published the book that would come to define the field. In this seminal work, Drucker explored how managers--in the for-profit and public service sectors alike--can perform effectively. Examining management cases with a global eye, Drucker laid out the essentials of performance, and of how a manager interacts with their organization and the social and cultural environment in which they operate. For three decades, managers and students of business worldwide have relied on Peter Drucker to prepare themselves to meet the challenges of an ever-changing business environment. The result is a book that--while still a fundamental work--has also slipped substantially behind the current business climate.
Now Joseph Maciariello, Professor of Management at Claremont University's Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management and one of Drucker's foremost students and proteges, has exhaustively revised and updated this book to meet the needs of the modern-day manager. Almost every page contains new and reworked material that reflects the thirty years of Drucker's thinking and writing that postdated the original edition. Business examples that have now gone out of date have been reworked; commentary to explore and explain Drucker's thinking and its applications has been added throughout. MANAGEMENT is ready at last to enter the twenty-first century and continue its reign as the must-read text for every serious student of the field. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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When I finally decided to purchased the book, I bought the revised edition, but unfortunately, I felt it lost much of the initial "Eureka!" effect. Consider the following quotations from the book:
1974 edition (The Purpose of a Business):
"It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or for a service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance - especially not to the future of the business and to its success. The typical engineering definition of quality is something that is hard to do, is complicated, and costs a lot of money! But that isn't quality; it's incompetence. What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers value, is decisive - it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper. And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, that is what a product or service does for him. And what is value for the customer is, as we shall (in Chapter 7), anything but obvious."
Revised 2008 edition (The Purpose of a Business):
"It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or for a service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. And what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, that is what a product or service does for him."
Since I work in an industry closely related to engineering that involves churning out drawings after drawings, the additional explanation by Drucker's original 1974 edition, where defining "engineering quality" as "incompetence" was a shocker to me when I first read it. It got my attention to want to understand why as a Manager, Drucker thinks that a shift in the thinking of an engineer is needed in order to run a great business - a shift in thinking where the product (utility) is viewed from the end-user, rather than from the engineer's perspective. This is absent in the revised edition and subsequently the "Eureka!" effect is lost.
Consider another example:
1974 edition (Strategic Planning):
"We can now attempt to define what strategic thinking is. It is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their futurity; organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback."
Revised 2008 edition (Strategic Planning):
(The whole 1974 text is absent - the closest equivalent explanation is this passage) "Practically every basic management decision is a long-range decision - ten years is a rather short time span these days. Whether concerned with research or with building a new plant, designing a new marketing organization or a new product, every major management decision takes years before it is really effective. And it has to be productive for years thereafter to pay off the investment of people and money. Managers, therefore, need to be skilled in making decisions with long futurity on a systemic basis."
I find that Maciariello, despite being "one of Drucker's foremost students and protégés", took too much liberty in interpretation, rather than leaving Drucker's original words for the reader to interpret them according to their experiences (whether you are a manager with a marketing background or a manager from an engineering background, or sales). I also find that the revised edition is written with too much of an assumption that the reader is familiar with Drucker and skips through many of the very basic definitions and explanations (see example 2). However, I think it is the simplicity of the original 1974 edition that gives it its profound impact.
Buyer take note.
That said, if some of the writing was diluted, the ideas are still very powerful, so I give Drucker high marks for his excellent thinking on one essential topic after another.
For anyone who has read some of my other book reviews, you'll know that I much prefer Drucker's interpretation of leadership than many others.
That said, Drucker offers fundamental, essential insight into:
- the purpose of business
- any business that works with knowledge workers.