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What are Drucker's views on planning and decision support?

by Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.com

Peter Drucker was an influential management thinker. His writing influenced two generations of business leaders. Drucker emigrated to the United States in the late 1930s and initially taught at Bennington College. His first influential management book was Concept of the Corporation (1946). The book examined the structure and operations of General Motors. Drucker published 39 management books. The following paragraphs are excerpts from a number of Drucker's books.

In managerial decision making, "the relevant is not simply what shall we do tomorrow but rather what shall we do today in order to get ready for tomorrow." Drucker noted "the purpose of information is not knowledge. It is being able to take the right action." He also asserted "once the facts are clear the decisions jump out at you."

Drucker observed "if the computer is a tool, it is the job of the tool user to know what to use it for." He noted "We've spent the last 30 years focusing on the T in IT, and we'll spend the next 30 years focusing on the I."

"Strategic management is not a box of tricks or a bundle of techniques. It is analytical thinking and commitment of resources to action. But quantification alone is not planning. Some of the most important issues in strategic management cannot be quantified at all."

"Strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their futurity; organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback."

"Long range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of present decisions."

"Important decisions are risky. They should not be controversial. Acclamation means that nobody has done the homework."

"There is no perfect strategic decision. One always has to pay a price. One always has to balance conflicting opinions, and conflicting priorities. The best strategic decision is only an approximation -- and a risk."

"Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level."

"Of all the decisions an executive makes, none is as important as the decisions about people, because they determine the performance capacity of the organization."

"The first question the effective decision-maker asks is: 'Is this a generic situatioon or an exception?'"

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

"Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window."

Drucker claimed "I find more and more executives less and less well informed about the outside world, if only because they believe that the data on the computer printouts are ipso facto information."

"The computer actually may have aggravated management's degenerative tendency to focus inward on costs."

"The fewer data needed, the better the information. And an overload of information, that is, anything much beyond what is truly needed, leads to information blackout. It does not enrich, but impoverishes."

"The new information technology ... Internet and email ... have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications."

"Information is the manager's main tool, indeed the manager's capital, and it is he who must decide what information he needs and how to use it."

"Plans are worthless, but planning is invaluable."

"Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information."

Finally, Drucker argued "taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure."

References

Drucker Institute, http://www.drucker.institute/

Drucker, P., Concept of the Corporation, 1946.

Drucker, P., The Practice of Management, 1954.

Peter F. Drucker Biography (1909 - 2005) at URL http://www.albertarose.org/articles/bios/peter_drucker_bio.htm

Last update: 2017-07-21 02:34
Author: Daniel Power

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