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Peter Ferdinand Drucker (1909 – 2005)  

Peter Drucker was an author of management-related literature. He made famous the term knowledge worker and is thought to have unknowingly ushered in the knowledge economy, which effectively challenges Karl Marx's world-view of the political economy. Following the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, there were few opportunities for employment in Vienna so after finishing school he went to Germany, first working in banking and then in journalism. While in Germany, he earned a doctorate in International Law. The rise of Nazism forced him to leave Germany in 1933. After spending four years in London, in 1937 he moved permanently to the United States, where he became a university professor as well as a freelance writer and business guru. In 1943 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He taught at New York University as a Professor of Management from 1950 to 1971. From 1971 to his death he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate University.
His career as a business thinker took off in 1945, when his initial writings on politics and society won him access to the internal workings of General Motors, one of the largest companies in the world at that time. His experiences in Europe had left him fascinated with the problem of authority. He shared his fascination with Donaldson Brown, the mastermind behind the administrative controls at GM. Brown invited him in to conduct what might be called a political audit. The resulting Concept of the Corporation popularized GM's multidivisional structure and led to numerous articles, consulting engagements, and additional books.
Drucker was interested in the growing impact of people who worked with their minds rather than their hands. He was intrigued by employees who knew more about certain subjects than their bosses or colleagues and yet had to cooperate with others in a large organization. His approach worked well in the increasingly mature business world of the second half of the twentieth century. By that time, large corporations had developed the basic manufacturing efficiencies and managerial hierarchies of mass production. Executives thought they knew how to run companies, and Drucker took it upon himself to poke holes in their beliefs, lest organizations become stale. But he did so in a sympathetic way. He assumed that his readers were intelligent, rational, hardworking people of good will. If their organizations struggled, he believed it was usually because of outdated ideas, a narrow conception of problem, or internal misunderstandings.
Drucker is the author of thirty-nine books. Two of his books are novels, one an autobiography. He is the co-author of a book on Japanese painting, and has made four series of educational films on management topics. From 1975 to 1995 was an editorial columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist.
Drucker died in 2005 in Claremont, California of natural causes.

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