Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gradgrind: The Concept of the Corporation Chapter 2

Drucker is clearly not Charles Dickens. And Dickens clearly is not the ancestor of Drucker, though the two have a number of things in common, especially a deep appreciation for human frailty.

This is the section that is the guidelines for Gradgrind in Dickens’s Hard Times.
'NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own
children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!'

Drucker says the same idea: “Objective criteria of cost and efficiency, of return on the invested capital, and of competitive standing in the market, General Motors aims at the elimination of personal and subjective elements in the relationship between boss and subordinate, central management and divisional management.” (75)

Drucker is arguing that business decisions need to be make on hard data, especially market share and return on investment. By making decisions on hard numbers, everyone knows what they have to do and how they be judged. This kind of operation makes the atmosphere of the company more pleasant for the management. (and of course Drucker is only talking about management).

“In fine, this objective yardstick should not only make possible informal and friendly personal relations, a spirit of teamwork and a free and frank discussion. It should also—at least, that is what the people in General Motors claim— make the organization of management as a team on a federal basis natura1 and almost inevitable by erecting strong barriers of fact against action based on nothing but seniority and rank.” (71)

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