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Sound / Cassette recording for Peter F. Drucker's book, Managing the Future

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Cassette recording for Peter F. Drucker's book, Managing the Future
Peter F. Drucker
Corsair, Bill
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
The Drucker Institute
Contributing Institution
Claremont Colleges Library
Drucker Archives
Rights Information
For permission to use this item, contact The Drucker Institute,
Cassette tape recording for Managing for the Future, by Peter F. Drucker. Bill Corsair provides the introduction to the recording before the narrator begins the summary of the book. The narrator begins by describing five important areas that are seeing, and will continue to see, changes on all fronts, that is, socially, economically, and in terms of business. To start, there are changes in the world economy, with a trend toward reciprocity, the creation of corporate alliances, radical restructuring, the ownership of companies themselves, and the 1990s as years of political discontinuity. The important question is, what do these futures mean for one’s own organization? The narrator goes on to state that there has been an abrupt decline in blue-collar workers, which is structural and irreversible. The decline has been caused by two major shifts, specifically, the steady shift from labor-intensive industries to knowledge-intensive ones, alongside the reality that capital cannot be substituted for people. Moving on to the topic of leadership, it may be defined as hard work fulfilling an organization’s mission. In particular, what distinguishes leaders from misleaders are their goals. Another aspect is that leadership is seen as a position of total responsibility, rather than one of rank and privilege. When it comes to management, general management jobs and levels will increasingly begin to dwindle, but the total number of managers will actually increase because there is more to manage. There will be a sharp increase in the number of people working in lower-level management jobs, with sharp cuts in middle as well as some upper-level positions. Managers will also have to change their career expectations. Fundamentally, this means that companies will now have to view the promise of profit differently. Profit will be seen as a genuine cost, and all must earn the cost of capital, or they should eventually be shut down or abandoned. Managing the boss will also be the responsibility of the executive, but the boss should never be exposed to surprises, and he or she should not be underrated. The narrator then highlights Drucker’s belief against managers walking around inside a company, and advises managers instead to walk around outside the company. Changing the corporate culture is not generally possible--the idea is to work within the culture, and cutting costs is only possible through restructuring the work. However, after taking successful steps to cut costs, preventative measures must be taken so that costs do not increase afterward. Alliances will also be a way for organizations to be productive and competitive into the future. Companies must continually rethink their strategies in contemplation of fundamental changes that will affect them. In terms of skills needed in management for the future, two in particular should be emphasized, specifically, the need for managers to take responsibility for finding the information they need to do their job, and to build learning into one’s career, based on the principle of feedback. Moreover, every manager should make it a priority to continue their education by going back to school for a week at a time to refresh and sharpen their skills. The effective manager will be the one able to recognize change and adapt to it. Peter F. Drucker is then interviewed through a question-and-answer format, and comments that small and medium-sized companies should strongly consider where they belong in the global economy, but that most of them have become worldwide exporters. Drucker then comments that the non-profits have much to teach corporate executives, in that they are exceedingly innovative and far better at attracting and holding people. What they have taught concerning how one trains volunteers will be the lesson for attracting, holding, and using knowledge workers altogether. To restore management’s ability to manage, the boards of directors will have to be made effective again. In order to do this, Drucker recommends having an independent board and the CEO thinking through what the work of the board is. Market research is limited, Drucker states, because one cannot research what does not exist, and it cannot be used as a substitute for knowing the market, and for knowing the customer. Midsize businesses are currently replacing big businesses, and they are becoming more attractive for a variety of important reasons. The right size of a company depends on what the right size is for its economic niche. Drucker then closes by explaining some of his predictions over the years, and why it is important to anticipate changes in the future of markets and organizations.
Drucker, Peter F. (Peter Ferdinand), 1909-2005
New York University
Global economy and development
Reciprocity (Commerce)
Discontinuous functions
Blue collar workers
Knowledge, work & society
Knowledge workers
Capitalists and financiers
Capital market
Capital productivity
Management science
Management by objectives
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Executive management
Corporate culture
Information organization
Feedback (Psychology)
Continuing education
Nonprofit organizations
Nonprofit organizations - United States - Management
Employee retention
Marketing research
Big business
Company ownership
Labor-intensive industries
Midsize businesses
Original recording, 1992; Drucker Archives; Box 68
Drucker Archives -

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