Sunday, 27 January, 2008

People and Performance

Today I started reading a book titled People and Performance. It is a collection of essays written by Peter F Drucker, on the topic of management. Published by Harvard Business School Press, this book consists of 26 essays , divided into six parts. Let me share some of the points that I noted from this book.

1. Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) added management to the factors of production, land, labor and capital.
2. J.B. Say (1767-1832) coined the word, entrepreneur, who he said, directs resources from less productive into more productive investments and who thereby creates wealth.
3. A Scottish industrialist, Robert Owen (1771-1858), actually became the first manager. In his textile mill in Lanark, Owen, in the 1820s, first tackled the problems of productivity and motivation, of the relationship of worker to work, or worker to enterprise and of worker to management.
4. The problems where the job is to restore or maintain the operation at a preset level, traditionally require decision. However, in reality they are not decisions as there is actually only one right answer. Then there are so-called managerial decisions for situations such as allocation of existing resources, especially people. Here there is no right answer but a range of optimal solutions, each with a definable risk or a balance of risks. Finally there are entrepreneurial decisions where there is no one right answer and not even a range of optima.
5. Management has to do following three tasks:
  1. Fulfilling the specific purpose and mission of the institution, whether business enterprise, hospital, or university.
  2. making work productive and the worker achieving.
  3. managing social impacts and social responsibilities.
And all these tasks are to be done in a balance between the demands of today and the demands of tomorrow.

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I hope to complete this book in next week.

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