Hence they had become the key building blocks of modern societies. From this perspective he inferred the vital importance of management. Management is the organ and the tool for high-performing and self-governed institutions in every sector. Consequently effective management and professional managers became a central concern and focus for Drucker in his lifelong inquiry – including questions relating to effectiveness, legitimacy, managerial power, responsibility and accountability. He never had the slightest doubt that “management is most and foremost about human beings and that one of the key task of the manager was to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strength effective and their weakness irrelevant” (from The Essential Drucker).
Drucker had hoped that management would live up to its responsibility. His experience with corporate behemoths like General Motors, IBM, GE and others in the 1940s and 1950s confirmed him in his conviction that management can contribute to the common good by running a business in a professional way.
Alfred Sloan, then Chairman of GM, became Drucker’s hero of a corporate leader with a deep sense of responsibility not only for his role as a business man, but also as a human leader who cared for the well-being and livelihood of the workers entrusted to the corporation. This is why Drucker put all his energy into making management a better instrument to help executives fulfil this responsibility. This meant to move management from a mere incidental practice towards a well defined, systematic and organised “discipline”. But the development of modern management is also the story of Drucker’s own rising disenchantment with capitalism, which in the late 20th century seemed to reward greed as easily as it did performance. He was sickened by the excessive riches awarded to mediocre executives even as they slashed the ranks of ordinary workers. Today we can relate all too well to a statement he made in an interview given in the late 1980s. “In the next economic downturn there will be an outbreak of bitterness and contempt for the super-corporate chieftains who pay themselves millions.
”The doubt and disillusionment with business that Drucker expressed in his later years caused him to turn away from the corporation and instead offer his advice to the non-profit sector.