Monday, February 15, 2010

The End of Economic Man, Chapter 7 Miracle or Mirage

As I come to the end of this book, I keep reminding myself that this is the founder of modern management and that he will shortly move from critiquing totalitarianism to developing a strategy for managing business. He is deeply involved in this discussion and would appear to be starting a career as a political economist. There are two things that seem to be the foundation for his future work: personal freedom and economic equality. He argues that communism failed to provide equality and that democracy failed to provide freedom to Europe and Italy.

Therefore, both countries were vulnerable to the negative political movement of totalitarianism.
A second point is the fact that totalitarianism makes organization an end in itself and that such an end is poor indeed. He points to the claim that Fascist Italy “made the trains run on time” as illustrating the nature of totalitarianism. Such as state is mechanistic and has only mechanistic goals.

While the first point seems a useful starting point for a discussion of business, the second seems to pose some problems. These problems seem especially acute to us when we look at SWOT analyses, and metrics and feedback loops and the like. Drucker will be making a case for a certain style of management, a style that may start to vanish in the middle of his career.

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