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How a Famed Management Thinker Made His Mark

Peter Drucker, who died last year, was a voice for change and new ways of thinking about social and business relations. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Peter Drucker, who died a year ago, was an expert on the ways of modern organizations. He was someone who truly earned the name of "management guru." He liked to share his knowledge not by answering questions but by asking them.

Peter Drucker once said business people must ask themselves not "what do we want to sell?" but "what do people want to buy?"

He taught at the Claremont Graduate School of Management in California for more than thirty years. He also advised companies. And he wrote for the Wall Street Journal opinion page for twenty years, until nineteen ninety-five. He commented on many economic and management issues.

Peter Drucker was born in Austria in nineteen-oh-nine. In the late nineteen twenties, he worked as a reporter in Frankfurt, Germany. He also studied international law.

He fled Germany as Adolf Hitler came to power in nineteen thirty-three. Peter Drucker spent four years in Britain as an adviser to investment banks. He then came to the United States.

He used his knowledge of international law to advise American businesses. He developed this advice into books on business methods and management.

In the middle of the nineteen forties, Peter Drucker argued that the desire for profit was central to business efforts. He also warned that rising wages were harming American business.

He was later invited to study General Motors. He wrote about his experiences in the book "The Concept of the Corporation." In it, he said that workers at all levels should take part in decision-making, not just top managers.

Peter Drucker was a voice for change and new ways of thinking about social and business relations. He used terms like "knowledge workers" and "management goals." Many of his ideas have become highly valued in business training and politics.

Some people said he often only presented information that supported his arguments. But even his critics praised his clear reasoning.

Yet as times changed, so did his thinking. In nineteen ninety-three, he warned that a business that seeks too much profit helps its competitors.

Peter Drucker lived a long life. He died on November eleventh of last year at his home in Claremont. He was ninety-five years old.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. To learn more about business thinking, and to download MP3 files and transcripts of our reports, go to I'm Faith Lapidus.