Category Archives: Peter Drucker

Participative Management at IBM by Peter Drucker


Several years ago one of the first new PCs was being developed. Demand for it was so great ( or maybe engg. design had taken so much longer than expected) that production had to be begun before the engg. work was fully completed. The final details were worked out on the production floor with the engineers collaborating with foremen and workers. The result was a superior design, the production engg. was significantly better, cheaper, faster and each worker as a result of participating did a better job.

The lesson of this experience is being applied today whenever IBM introduces a new product or a major change in existing products. Foremen and workers get in on the planning of the product, of the production process and of his own job. And whenever used this method has given the same benefits in design, production costs, speed and worker satisfaction as were obtained the first time.

From- The Practice of Management


Job enlargement at IBM by Peter Drucker


The story goes that Mr. Thomas J.Watson, IBM’s President once saw a woman operator sitting idly at her machine. Asked why she did not work, the woman replied-I have to wait for the set-up man to change the tool setting for a new run. Couldn’t you do it yourself?- asked Mr. Watson. The woman said- Of course but I am not supposed to. Watson then found out that each worker spent several hours each week waiting for the set-up man. It would however only take a few additional days of training for the worker to learn how to set up his own machine. Thus machine set-up was added to the worker’s job. And shortly thereafter inspection of the finished part was included too.

Enlarging the job in this way produced such unexpected improvements in output and quality of production that IBM decided systematically to make jobs big. Increase in the worker’s pride in the job he is doing is the most important gain.

From- The practice of management

Managing Men


Management itself is becoming increasingly complex. In addition to rapidly changing technology.. management today has to be able to handle many new relations problems-relations with the government, relations with suppliers and customers, relations with the employees or with labour unions- all of which require better managers.


For it is of the essence of an industrial society that it increasingly substitutes for manual skill theoretical knowledge, ability to organize and to lead-in short, managerial ability.


What is needed is the development of managers equal to the tasks of tomorrow, not the tasks of yesterday.


There are five basic operations in the work of a manager.

-He sets objectives.

-He organizes.

-He motivates and communicates.

-He measures.

-He develops people.


The good time users among managers spend many more hours on their communications up than on their communications down, but they seem to obtain these as an effortless by-product. They do not talk to their men about their own problems, but they know how to make the subordinate talk about theirs.


The manager who utilizes his time well also spends a great deal of time on considering his boss’s problems, and on thinking what he can do to contribute to the success of his boss, of the whole activity and of the business. He takes responsibility, in other words, for his boss’s job- considering this a part of his own job as a manager.


There is one quality that cannot be learned, one qualification that the manager cannot acquire but must bring with him. It is not genius, it is character.


(From The practice of management by Peter Drucker)


Peter Drucker-2


Because all of us have first impressions, prejudices, likes, and dislikes, we need to listen to what other people think.

People decisions may also fail because a job has become what New England ship captains 150 years ago called a widow-maker. When a clipper ship, no matter how well designed and constructed, began to have fatal accidents, the owners did not redesign or rebuild the ship. They broke it up as fast as possible. Widow-makers, that is jobs that regularly defeat even good people-appear most often when a company grows or changes fast. Whenever a job defeats two people in a row, who in their earlier assignments had performed well, a company has a widow-maker on its hands. Any job that ordinarily competent people cannot perform is a job that cannot be staffed.

People in organizations tend to behave as they see others being rewarded. And when the rewards go to nonperformance, to flattery, or to mere cleverness, the organization will soon decline into nonperformance, flattery or cleverness.

A mass movement is powerful precisely because the majority has a diversity of interests all over the lot and is thus lukewarm in regard to all of them  and zealous in respect to none.. The single cause gives the mass movement its discipline and its willingness to follow a leader. It thus makes it stand out and appear much bigger than it really is. It enables a single cause to dominate the news and, indeed, largely to determine what is news.

In respect to the mass are today pretty much where we were in respect to the psychodynamics of the individual a hundred years ago. Of course we know of the passions. But they were something one could only explain away as part of animal nature. They lay outside the rational. All one could do was to suppress them. Freud showed that the passions have their reasons, that indeed, in Pascal’s famous phrase, the heart has its reasons of which Reason knows nothing. Freud showed that the subconscious is as strictly rational as the conscious, that it has its own logic and its own mechanisms. But so far we still lack a Sigmund Freud of the mass.

From- The frontiers of management by PD

Peter Drucker-1


Quotes and thoughts from Peter Drucker I like.

It is  only in the last twenty or thirty years that being incomprehensible has become a virtue in academia.

Executives spend more time on managing people and making people decisions than on anything else, and they should. No other decisions are so long lasting in their consequences or so difficult to unmake. And yet, by and large, executives make poor promotion and staffing decisions. At most one-third of such decisions turn out right, one-third are minimally effective, and one-third are outright failures. In no other area of management would we put up with such miserable performance.

Some  good examples of picking people rightly are- George C.Marshall, the army’s chief of staff personally chose each man during WWII. Alfred P.Sloan Jr. picked every GM executive.

Basic principles of picking people include-

1- If I put a person into a job and he or she does not perform, I have made a mistake. I have no business blaming that person, no business invoking the ‘Peter Principle’, no business complaining. I have made a mistake.

2- The one DONT. Don’t give new people new major assignments, for doing so only compounds the risks. Give this sort of assignment to someone whose behaviour and habits you know and who has earned trust and credibility within your organization. Put a high-level newcomer first into an established position, where the expectations are known and help is available. Duke of Marlborough observed three centuries ago- The basic trouble in coalition warfare is that one has to entrust victory, if not one’s life, to a fellow commander whom one knows by reputation rather than by performance.

Job descriptions may last a long time. But assignments change all the time, and unpredictably.

A person may be excellently qualified for the technical aspects of a job, but if the assignment requires above all the ability to build a team and this ability is lacking, then the fit is not right.

(From- The frontiers of management by PD)