Peter Starbuck
"Reclaiming Drucker" - Page 6

Influences in Britain.

During his stay in London where he worked as a banker Drucker continued to accumulate influences He attended Keynes.s lectures at Cambridge during the period when the latter was completing his General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, and claims to be the only person to have attended lectures by both Keynes and Schumpeter. Drucker.s interest in the arts of Japan also began at this time, when he claims to have attended an exhibition in order to take shelter from the rain; he went on to become an expert and professional lecturer on Japanese art. He also launched his career as an English-language journalist, and met and married his wife, Doris Schmitz.

Other influences came from a variety of sources. A complimentary reference to Winston Churchill in The End of Economic Man was followed by a vigorous review of the book by Churchill, an endorsement of the value of Drucker.s early promise. Other early European influences continued to have impact: the French management philosopher Henri Fayol, whose ideas helped to give management an essential formative structure; the British General Sir Ian Hamilton, who emphasises the need for leaders to care for those they lead; and the British management consultant and philosopher Lyndall Urwick, who explored many of the ideas of management that interested Drucker.

After moving to the US, Drucker continued to develop his ideas, influenced not only by American thinkers, writers and business leaders but also by European emigres like himself who made the US their home. But despite these new discoveries, Drucker always remembered his early influences and these can be seen and traced in all his later work right into the nineties.

"On New Year.s Day 1950, Peter drove his father Adolph Drucker to visit Joseph Schumpeter, then in his last year of teaching at Harvard and in rapidly failing health (he died eight days later). He and Adolph reminisced about their young days in Vienna. The conversation took a more serious turn when Schumpeter, answering a question from Adolph, said: .You know, Adolph, I have now reached the age where I know that it is not enough to be remembered for books and theories. One does not make a difference unless it is a difference in people.s lives.. Drucker says he has .never forgotten that conversation.. It gave him the measure of his achievement." (Beatty 1998:187-8)

This article is drawn from Peter Starbuck.s PhD thesis, Peter Drucker: His Sources and Contributions to Management (Open University Business School)

-Beatty, J (1988), The World According to Drucker, London: Orion.