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Library Journal Review
Drucker, the leading guru of management ( Managing the Nonprofit Organization , HarperCollins, 1990), argues that we are in the middle of a great social transformation, akin to the Renaissance, which is symbolized by the computer. The primary resource is no longer capital, land, or labor but knowledge (hence ``post-capitalist''). Knowledge has become the means of production and creates value by ``productivity'' and ``innovation'' through its application to work. The new class of post-capitalist society is made up of knowledge workers and service workers. (In a similar vein, Robert B. Reich's The Work of Nations , LJ 3/15/91, terms knowledge workers ``symbolic analysts'' and service workers ``routine producers'' and ``in-person servers.'') The economic and management challenge is to make both knowledge and service workers more productive. The social challenge is to preserve the income and dignity of service workers (who lack the ability to become knowledge workers but constitute the majority of the work force) and prevent class conflict between the two. This is a provocative book that synthesizes much of Drucker's oeuvre. It will be in demand in both academic and public libraries.-- Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Drucker's vision of a ``post-capitalist society''--one in which knowledge is the basic resource and nation-states compete with transnational, regional and tribal structures--is hardly original. What is new in this invigorating essay is his far-reaching analysis of the economic crisis of militarized, wasteful ``megastates'' like the United States and the former Soviet Union, which have failed to bring about a meaningful redistribution of income. Improving American productivity, he writes, will require investment in human resources and infrastructure (as Japan, Germany, Korea and Taiwan have done) and a drastic restructuring of organizations, including the elimination of most management layers. The federal goverment, Drucker asserts, should contract out tasks in the social sphere, confining itself to the role of policymaker. Among his other provocative proposals: jettison military aid to other countries; create a public audit agency to eliminate pork-barrel deals and special-interest politics; and hold schools accountable for students' performance. He also urges the creation of transnational institutions to cope with the environment, terrorism and arms control. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Drucker--author of 27 books in 54 years--is the most famous American consultant-academic in management. His gift, amply displayed, is to elaborate and articulate analyses on themes familiar in fragmentary form to many readers. Here, the themes are so large and the frame so long that specialists in individual fields--sociology, history, economics--may quibble about precision of definition, dating, or measurement; but that is not the point of reading Drucker's fascinating treatment of the transition he demonstrates is now carrying us beyond the capitalism we know toward a new system. Already emerging, it will be vastly more reliant on responsible, educated, practical individuals working with knowledge as their principal resource in organizations specialized to achieve efficiency and effectiveness--all in political settings with sensibly revised arrangements for welfare, armaments, taxes, education, and industrial policy. Memorable are strands integral to Drucker's study: productivity depends on managing knowledge (by utilizing, extending, innovating); mobility and well-being require better schools; and, education must be put on a continuing footing and made available widely according to need. Recommended for its critical insights, exhortation, and optimism. All levels. J. C. Thompson; University of Connecticut
Veteran writer Drucker (Managing for the Future ) says the world is in the midst of one of those great transformations such as occurred with Gutenberg's invention of movable type. This time we are shifting--or have already shifted--to the "knowledge society," composed of knowledge workers and service workers. Such a characterization is familiar, although putting it in terms of the death of communism and the increasing irrelevance of who holds capital may not be. Drucker's isn't a treatise on the magical future so much as an explanation of trends within the present. Accordingly, he notes the importance of organizations and of the managers within them. He addresses the educational needs of a knowledge society and how the idea of a liberal education must be adapted, not only to take into account diversity, but also to encompass a world defined by technology. His discussion of Japan's increasing disdain for manufacturing jobs, and America's lament for their passing, shows great insight into both economies. And his account of Frederick W. Taylor's "scientific management," a sort of harbinger of the knowledge society that may have been the largest single reason the U.S. turned the tide against Hitler, is riveting. "What oft was thought, but ne'er so well-expressed," perhaps: a fine summary of where we stand and what tomorrow may bring. (Reviewed Jan 15, 1993)0887306209John Mort