Peter F. Drucker symposia on organizational innovation, managerial productivity, information, the importance of teams to efficiency, professional responsibility, human sensitivity, and the necessity of change
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Dean Richard R. West provides introductory comments for the symposia before turning over the session to Peter F. Drucker, who begins by introducing his fellow panelist, Dr. Warrington Parker, who is doing work in one of the leading major high-tech companies. He highlights that the first time a working model was developed for organizations, was just before World War I. For the last thirty years, the U.S. has begun experimenting and some things are gradually becoming clearer and favored in organizational structures. The U.S., Drucker notes, has been trying to develop new concepts--what it does know is that in shifting toward structuring organizations around information, the dogmas of the 1950s are less than tenable, particularly concerning span of control. He notes that work is continuously changing, and the most visible changes have been in research, as research has increasingly become a process of technology management. The idea of technology and industry has ceased to make sense partly because the decision of what results to use is not a research decision but a business decision. For this reason, a substantial portion of important research results are considered unsuitable for some businesses. Increasingly, Drucker says, it is not manufacturing but managing the production process that is the key. Most people in management programs will not become managers, but will have to have management skills in their respective careers. The tool for the future of management is information, but not, necessarily, accounting information, and the goal is for the organization of tomorrow to resemble a soccer team. Drucker then notes that the team should have very great individual flexibility, but total conceptual rigidity. Senior management will have to decide if their role is to be a coach or conductor, and he argues that, today, most management plays both roles, and this cannot be done effectively. Tomorrow’s organization will be based on information and command, but not on control, and, especially, it will be based on individual professional specialists taking responsibility for their contribution, which implies managerial responsibility without themselves managing. Drucker closes noting that the need for greater professional sensitivity and responsibility is the principal requirement for organizational and managerial prosperity. Dean West then introduces Dr. Parker, who is an executive manager for Rockwell International. The last eight to ten years, West says, has put such a tremendous strain on existing organizations that new organizational forms must be found. Divisions must become more business-unit-focused around products, and more multi-skilled and self-managing. Corporations should have to flatten their structures to at least be half of what they have been in the past. Thinking about new organizational forms, executives should be helped to go through something in which they see the potential of new forms of organization that can eliminate problems and impediments that reside in current structures of organizations. Flexibility, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the creativity and willingness to change, are the key criteria for general managers to be in these types of positions. Keeping processes stable while managing change is very difficult, but necessary. West emphasizes that there must be a management philosophy that optimizes both the business economic goals of an organization, and the individual needs and goals of people in an organization. He agrees with Drucker that task-focused teams are necessary in any organization, and partnerships must be developed with suppliers, customers, and employees in order to have a successful organization in today’s business environment. Drucker adds that the feeling of being part of a team has the greatest hold on people. Ultimately, West concludes that human resources departments have to function to create these kinds of changes throughout an organization.
Drucker, Peter F. (Peter Ferdinand), 1909-2005 New York University New York University. Graduate School of Business Administration West, Richard R., 1938- World War I Research Technology Technological innovations Management Management by objectives Management science Information technology Innovation Teams in the workplace Responsibility Entrepreneurship Change Partnership Human resources Human services - United States - Management Symposia Parker, Dr. Warrington Flexibility (Psychology)
Original recording, April 22, 1982; Drucker Archives; Box 68