picture nr 1 of Mr Sloan

Alfred P. Sloan (1875-1966), the legendary head of General Motors

picture nr 2 of Mr Sloan

How Drucker 'invented' management at GM

Already in 1937, Drucker had emigrated to the USA, where he worked first as a free-lance journalist, chiefly for Harper's, but also for the Washington Post. At the beginning of the forties, he also began teaching political science and philosophy at Bennington College in Vermont.

At this time, Drucker also began his activities as a business consultant: In 1942, in his book The Future of Industrial Man, he had dealt with the development of society in the twentieth century and had come to the conclusion that the society of industrialized states had been transformed into a "society of organizations." Drucker was thereby primarily interested in the political aspect, as the decision-makers in these organizations exercised social power, which Drucker did not see to be defined and legitimated. But an historically novel phenomenon also caught his interest: the large-scale corporation. As a result of his book, Drucker was invited by General Motors in 1943 to conduct a two-year social-scientific analysis of the - at that time world's largest - corporation. For almost two years, he took part in every board meeting, analysed decision-making and production processes, and conducted countless interviews with top managers, department heads, and simple workers. In 1946 Drucker published the results of this study in his Concept of the Corporation, thereby laying the foundations of management as a scientific discipline.