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Honoring the life and works of Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005)

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Management History

Edited by: Roberta Ann Cowan and Michael Wood

Peter Ferdinand Drucker is a man about whom superlatives are easily written. The foremost management thinker of our time, he is widely acknowledged as the father of modern management’ (Bowman & Wittmer 2000:13).

Peter Drucker would have celebrated his centenary on November 19 2009 had he not died November 11 2005. Born into the educated elite of Vienna, his education was typically German. He studied law in Hamburg and Frankfurt and then moved to London where he worked in international banking. As the Second World War progressed he migrated to the United States of America, settling on the east coast. After thirty years he moved to the west coast and to Claremont Graduate School, California (Wood & Wood 2005). This was to be his academic home for the remainder of his life.

Drucker reached the age of 88 before the first scholarly symposium on his publications entitled ‘The contributions of Peter Drucker to management’ was held (Gazell 2000). By this stage of his life he was famous as ‘a management guru’. He had published widely in academic and business journals, in substantial popular periodicals and written numerous books which had been translated and retranslated into many languages (Cowan 2005). There are accounts of Drucker holding audiences spellbound for long periods (Hlava 2002) and also of interviews with a crotchety old man (Schwartz & Kelly 1996). Who was this ‘guru’?

The Journal of Management History seeks to publish a special issue devoted to the life and works of Drucker and his disparate contributions. Prospective contributors may wish to consider (but are not limited to) the following research questions:

  • Has the history of the information industry confirmed Drucker’s views expressed in the 1996 interview with Wired magazine?
  • Is Kanter (1985) correct that ‘Drucker is an unsolved puzzle’ or have Hays and Russ-Sellers (2000) understood him completely ‘as the homeless generalist’?
  • If we accept the premise of Drucker that human migration would be all important into at least the first half of the twenty-first century, what have been the effects on organisations in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century and what are the lessons organisations need to learn to survive into 2020 and beyond.
  • Was there a relationship between Drucker’s publications on Japanese art and his publications so popular on

In summary, our goal in this special issue is to honor Drucker by seeking to better understand the value of his many contributions.

Submissions are due no later than 1 July, 2008. Contributors should follow the manuscript requirements and author guidelines provided at and in the back of each issue of the Journal of Management History

For inquiries about the special issue, please write to one of the guest editors:
Roberta Ann Cowan ([email protected] or [email protected]) or Michael C. Wood ([email protected]).

  • Sources:
    Bowman, J. and Wittmer, D. (2000), "The unfashionable Drucker: ethical and quality chic" Journal of Management History, Vol 6, pp. 13-29
  • Cowan, R. (2005) 'An Abbreviated Annotated Bibliography Peter F[erdinand] Drucker 1909–', in Wood, J. and Wood, M. (ed), Peter Drucker: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management. Routledge, London. Available at
  • Gazell, J. (2000), "Special issue symposium on the contributions of Peter Drucker to management part one" Journal of Management History, Vol 6, pp. 1-?
  • Hays, S.W. and Russ-Sellers, R. (2000) "On the margins of public administration? A quasi-empirical analysis of Peter Drucker’s impact" Journal of Management History, Vol. 6, pp. 65-76
  • Hlava, M. (2002) 'The information essentials of Drucker', Information Outlook, Vol. 6, pp. 40-41
  • Kanter, R. (1985) "Drucker: the unsolved puzzle" New Management Vol. 2, pp. 10-13
  • Schwartz, P and Kelly, K. (1996) "A cantankerous interview with Peter Schwartz and Kevin Kelly" Wired pp. 116-120, 182, 184
  • Wood, J. and Wood, M. (2005) 'Introduction', in Wood, J. and Wood, M. (ed), Peter Drucker: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management. Routledge, London. Available at