Peter Ducker vesus Warren Bennis

Peter Drucker versus Warren Bennis
The management techniques of Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis may differ; however, the basis premise is still the same. Both Drucker and Bennis are well-known experts in the field of management. In fact, both of these men have formed great alliances in their careers. Let’s take a brief look into the lives of Drucker and Bennis. Peter Drucker was born in Vienna in the early 1900’s. Today, Drucker is perhaps the most influential writer in the field of management. He is the author of twenty-nine books, which have been translated into twenty languages ( In 1925 Drucker assisted Claremont Graduate University in spinning off of the University and establishing The Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. The school is comprised of many well-known Universities throughout the country ( Even though Bennis is only a fraction of the age of Drucker, he too is a well-known expert in the field of management. Bennis is the author of twenty-seven books, which have also been translated into twenty languages. Bennis is currently a Professor at Marshall School. It is with pride, Bennis lists his accomplishments on his personal web-site. Some of the more interesting accomplishments to make note of are: founding Chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (UK) (MOR faculty). Bennis began using his leadership skills at the young age of twenty when he served as the youngest infantry commander that fought in Germany (MOR faculty). We will take a look at the theories of Drucker and Bennis, as well as their views on teamwork. Both have different approaches but both have profound insight on both topics. THEORY: DRUCKER VS BENNIS Drucker is widely credited for inventing modern management and for being the most influential management consultant (Gorr). The most notable characteristics regarding Drucker’s views are that he makes one think about what they do or what they are trying to accomplish and why. Innovation is something that he tries to instill in each company he is consulting with. As reported in “The Practice of Innovation” by Peter Senge, Drucker has three ingredients that make up the discipline of innovation. First, focusing on the mission, he believes that one must have a definitive goal or purpose in which they are trying to pursue in order to be successful. Second, defining significant results, or otherwise expressing what is believed to be the anticipated end result. Third, performing rigorous assessments based on the tasks that are being performed while trying to adhere to the mission. This step includes the willingness of all involved to throw out any tasks, thoughts, or processes that are not contributing to the overall objective. A feeling of mutual trust must be established between management and lower level associates in order for non-management personnel to come forward with what they believe is not working during the assessment phase. Even though Drucker is known for helping fix a company’s management problems, his “fix” goes deeper than strictly the management occurring within that company. This thought is due to the fact that no company is immune to uncontrollable external factors. He uses what is going on externally from the company, such as the marketplace, historical happenings, and current political conditions in order to assess how the company should adjust (Senge). In his opinion, his suggestions to a company are not focused on the bottom line, but rather on the employees and how to guide them toward achieving their highest potential. Once this is achieved is when the company has succeeded and is meeting its objective all around, because then in turn, the employees are striving to do their best in meeting the mission in the most effective and efficient manner. Bennis is yet another well-respected authority on management. Bennis’ main theory is that of leadership. His claim to fame is the idea of a ‘Great Group’. He believes that success comes from a “Great Leader” within a ‘Great Group’, and that one does not occur without the other (Kurtzman). According to Bennis, the ‘Great Group’ instills positive qualities individually and as a team by the give and take philosophy. Each individual has something that they can teach the other group members, thus enriching each individual and the group as a whole at the same time. Along with Drucker, Bennis believes in a mission, however the difference is that Bennis believes that the mission must be extremely meaningful. The company or organization must make the mission or vision meaningful enough to touch the very core of each individual so they feel as though it will make a difference to the masses (Kurtzman). Once people find meaning in what they do this increases their drive and thus increases productivity. The job of the leader is to make everyone realize just how important the mission is to the outside. Flexibility and skill diversity are the main characteristics of the future leaders according to Bennis (Kurtzman). The leaders he foresees must have those two main ingredients if they are to succeed. Flexibility comes into play due to the ever-changing world around us whether it be new governments, skill level of employees, or technology. In addition, leaders must have character: integrity, passion about the mission and the future, curiosity that will allow them look for a better way to accomplish the mission, and the ability to see how things will be in the future and guide the group towards that vision. Similar to Drucker’s need for management to be open to abandoning tasks and/or ideas that are not reaching the objective, Bennis’ leader’s ability to guide the group may be hindered by management if management is not completely open to change. If the company is just trying to maintain the same ways of operations it has been devoted to for many years and is not fully committed to opening the doors for suggestions and new ideas then the ‘Great Group’ and ‘Great Leader’ become meaningless, as does the mission (Bennis). TEAMWORK COMPARISON: DRUCKER VS. BENNIS Mergers and acquisitions are becoming a growing trend for companies, both large and small, domestic and foreign, to form strategic alliances within their particular industries. Drucker states “that alliances of all kinds are becoming increasingly common, especially in international business” (pg. 287). There are many specific goals that companies may be looking to achieve by doing this, but the main underlying reason is to guarantee the long-term sustained achievement of “fast profitable growth” for their business. They have to keep up with a rapidly increasing diversified global market and increased competition. Nowadays, with the struggle for competitive advantage becoming stronger and stronger, it is almost essential to form alliances. Diversifying and expanding techniques such as mergers and acquisitions are a very popular methods for forming these alliances. Basically stated, a merger is a joining of forces and an acquisition is a purchase of a company, whether it is welcomed or hostile. The two terms are often used interchangeably. Drucker suggest that much research and planning is required in the early stages of these processes, which starts with a strategy used in trying to find a suitable company to have an alliance with. Advantages and disadvantages of this alliance must be thought out, as well as many other important aspects, such as risk factors and new organizational structures that must be considered and closely monitored throughout all of the stages of the merger or acquisition. When the steps are followed and everything goes as planned, the result is a successful alliance. There will be good operating and market synergy between the companies. This new alliance will understand the importance of sharing each other’s capital, markets, and technology in order to be a player in the highly competitive markets, expansion of firms is necessary. It is almost impossible to achieve high profitability all alone. This growth is achieved through new product development, acquisition of new plants and more machinery, and business development activities. Firms are forming alliances due to pressures from their competitors. Corporations today must understand the financial and technological difficulties, as well as the complex problems associated with the actual interaction of people and plans when participating in an alliance, and they must strive to execute all of their plans to the maximum potential. Bennis, on the other hand, focuses more on teamwork within an organization. His theory regarding work groups basically concentrates on three major concepts, ‘organic-adaptive’ structure, group structure and ‘Great Groups’. It is Bennis’ view that the American establishments, once in a bureaucratic state, are being replaced by a more ‘organic-adaptive’ structure (Bennis, 1970, p. 24). According to Bennis, an ‘organic-adaptive’ structure is an “adaptive, problem-solving, temporary system of diverse specialists that are linked together by coordinating and task evaluating specialists in an organic flux (p. 24). Bennis explains that any and all major accomplishments made by corporations are a result of a collaborative effort. In the past, oftentimes only one person generally received the credit for the accomplishment; however, whether or not an accomplishment was publicly recognized as an individual or collaborative effort, the fact remained that nothing could have been achieved without a team of assistants. Bennis feels that in today’s society, that is complex and technologically sophisticated, the most urgent projects require the coordinated contributions of many capable people (Bennis, 1995, p. 3). Also, because timely information is the most important commodity, Bennis believes that collaborations is not only desirable, but inevitable (p. 3). According to Bennis, “one is too small a number to produce greatness” (p. 3). Bennis also had the foresight, during the late sixties, to determine that “while skills in human interaction will become more important, due to the growing needs for collaboration in complex tasks, there will be a concomitant reduction in group cohesiveness”, and an ‘organic-adaptive’ corporate society will force “people to develop quick and intense relationships on the job, and learn to bear the loss of more enduring work relationships” (Bennis, 1970, p. 25). Group structure is another element that is imperative to Bennis. He feels that “groups are composed of a particular boss and his immediate subordinates, starting with the top and reaching lower levels later on. Thus, the unit of grouping is the actual “family” group, and actual conditions become the focus of analysis. This phase is based on the principle that if organizational change is to take place, it must be supported by the actual organizational groupings and must be exemplified and reinforced by top management” (Bennis, 1996, p. 125). Finally, Bennis believes that every organization that has made great discoveries and achieved supreme accomplishments are the result of ‘Great Groups’ (Bennis, 1995, p. 1). Individuals that participate in ‘Great Groups’ have several common characteristics (pg. 5-17): ü They must have a project that brings out their collective best. ü They are fully engaged in the “thrilling process of discovery”, often, they do their most brilliant work in an austere environment. ü They all have exemplary leaders, and tend to lose their way if they lose their leadership. ü They are fueled by curiosity, and often have an unrealistic view of what they can accomplish. Another important aspect of a ‘Great Group’ is that the leaders are perceived as equals (p.29). Bennis gives several examples of ‘Great Groups’, the first being Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and quotes William E. Wallace in saying that Michelangelo “was the head of a good-sized entrepreneurial enterprise that collaboratively made are that bore his (Michelangelo’s) name” (p. 5). However, Bennis uses Disney’s vision and making of the movie “Snow White” as the prime example of a ‘Great Group’. It began with Disney’s vision, followed by a rallying speech to boost morale, a recruitment process that produced the best animators in the business, and a team of people that were totally enthralled with Disney’s vision and achieving the impossible (pp. 37-38). Before it was ready to be released, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would have required thousands of drawings, eventually running a total of eighty-three minutes and require 250,000 finished drawings, in conjunction with the hundreds of efforts of nonanimators (p. 36). Disney was immediately criticized with remarks like, ‘Who’d pay to see a drawing of a fairy princess when they can watch Joan Crawford’s boobs for the same price?’ (p. 38), just as he had been in 1932 with his first creation of Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie”, Disney was extremely successful in his production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The movie, which premiered on December 21, 1937, became the biggest film of 1938, and brought in a total of $8 million (p. 46). It held the box-office record until “Gone With the Wind” in 1939 and 1940 (p. 46). Disney showed how magnificent a project could become when it is the product of a ‘Great Group’. One concept that both Bennis and Drucker mentioned, when speaking of teamwork, is that America is beginning to cite the Japanese approach to management, realizing the significance of teamwork, work groups, and how they can help a company achieve its goals and be more productive at a reduced cost. The views of both men on teamwork were very similar, and they both agreed that it is a necessity to the prominent future of a company. CONCLUSION It is apparent that both Drucker and Bennis have outstanding views on the topic of teamwork. Drucker and Bennis agree on the importance of teamwork and groupings. One must decide with philosophy and approach better suits their organization. What works for one organization may not be the best solution or method for the next company. Whichever approach is decided upon, stick to it. Develop goals and implement changes based on the one theory.


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