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Management Challenges for the 21st Century by Peter F. Drucker

Autor:   •  November 7, 2018  •  1,815 Words (8 Pages)  •  35 Views

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Another challenge discussed by Drucker is the evolution from the manual worker to the knowledge worker. Per Drucker, manual worker productivity increased 50-fold through the 20th century. This was completed over many years by analyzing the manual process, implementing automation and efficiency improvements and eliminate non-value added actions. This manual work has reached its maximum improvement capacity and has since transitioned to the knowledge worker. Going forward, the greatest challenge of 21st Century business management is how to increase the productivity of knowledge base worker. Drucker states, “The most valuable asset of the 21st century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity”. With the continuing shift to knowledge based work, there are new challenges that will impact efficiency improvements, such as, defining what is the actual task, what should I be working on, what are the expected contributions, continuous innovation, lifelong learning, and quality of work over quantity. The Knowledge workers will also be classified as an asset, where in the past, manual workers have been viewed as a cost center to be controlled whenever possible. Knowledge workers own the information they have learned and perfected through in their organization and is a portable skill if the staff worker decides to leave the organization. Therefore, organizations of the 21st century will need to adjust business strategy and today’s management will need to develop, attract and retain the best knowledge base workers to support the corporate objectives. This can be seen in today’s automotive industry with the lack of qualified engineers for open positions, the need for skilled professions to support the rapid acceleration towards autonomous driving vehicles, and the continued recruiting by organizations to secure the best and brightest talent.

Finally, Drucker discusses the challenge of being able to manage oneself. In today’s era, the knowledge worker will have longer working life over the manual worker due to the life expectancy of today’s person and that of the company they work. Drucker says that a successful business lives 30 years, where today’s knowledge worker needs to prepare for a 50-year working career. To support a 50 year career, the knowledge worker will need to manage themselves and their career with having to answer new demands such as, Who am I? What are my Strengths? Where do I belong? What is my contribution? What will I do with the second half of my career/life? As the knowledge workers career progresses these are important questions that must be answered. This will “define” the person’s career, personal life, and support the bigger question, what do I do with the second half of my career? In the realm of manual workers, they are mentally and physically exhausted at the end of their careers. Retirement consists of leisure activities, relaxing, and the occasional traveling. Knowledge workers, by comparison, still retain basic physical ability, with the need of mental challenge to keep them stimulated. I have seen this in my personal life where my father retired from a civil service position after 30 years and has no further ambition to contribute to society. He wants to collect his pension, live in peace in Norther Michigan and he occasionally comes to visit when he has down state appointment’s. Conversely, my old boss retired from Nissan last year, he began planning his transition to retirement the 5 years prior. His biggest concern is getting mentally lazy, therefore, he has been working on plans to start his own business or consult to provide purpose post retirement.

Overall, Drucker sums up his book with one quote, “The changes discussed in this book go way beyond management. They go way beyond the individual and his or her career. They actually deal with the future of society.” I would agree that the future of society is heading into unchartered territory being driven by the information technology and globalization. Up to about the mid 1990’s, globalization, in my opinion, was not well understood, to me globalization was a buzz word. But since that point, there have been major global issues such as, The Dot Com Bubble, The Great Recession of 2008, the Greece Bailout by EU, major corporate recalls like Toyota and Takata. These actions have proven that every country and corporation is fragile, its profitability and sustainability dependent on all markets, intertwined within each “economic power”, and if one fails we all fall. Also, the technology craze is posing challenges to the global society and workforce. With the internet, social media, smart devices, automation for efficiency, data integration, and the availablility of information 24/7/365, people are under constant bombardment. This information overload influences people mindsets, cultural norms, societal shifts and has and will continue to impact to core values and viewpoints of current and future generations. How government and company leaders account for these risks and others are open issues that ultimately needs to be addressed to be successful in the future.


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