What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:


1. In Praise of Micro-Managers: Just as we put up a post highlighting the arguments for executives doing as little as possible, along comes Larry Popelka, founder and CEO of GameChanger, an innovation consulting firm, with an article in Bloomberg Businessweek arguing that micromanagers are far superior: “Companies without micromanagers are more susceptible to product and operational crises, because their leaders are less able to identify potential problems on a proactive basis.”

2. When to Fire a Top Performer Who Hurts Your Company Culture: It might seem like a lucky problem to have: a superb employee who is at odds with your business culture. After all, if somebody is producing great results, should you really worry so much? Yes, argues Eric C. Sinoway, co-founder and president of Axcess Worldwide, a partnership development company. In a post on the HBR Blog, Sinoway identifies four types of employees: “stars,” “high-potentials” (those who are imperfect but improvable), “zombies” (employees who are dead wood) and “vampires” (strong performers who subvert the company culture). “Vampires are the real threat,” Sinoway contends. “Soon, there’s a small army of vampires and zombies attacking the stars, high potentials and leaders who are doing the right thing.”

3. Explanation of ‘stable allocation’ theory that won Nobel Prize in economics: This year’s Nobel Prize for economics went to Californians Lloyd Shapley and Alvin Roth. So what did they do that was so great? A post at the Lane Report tries to makes sense of it, so that you don’t have to. Among the key insights is the notion that supply and demand work well most of the time, but not 100% of the time: “In some situations, the standard market mechanism encounters problems, and there are cases where prices cannot be used at all to allocate resources.”

4. Last week, we examined the issue of affirmative action, which is the subject of yet another case before the U.S. Supreme Court. In response to the question of whether affirmative action is needed today, reader Derrick Gibson had this to say:

We come to this question, again, because we have not made explicit our goals of this latest round of affirmative action. Previously—and for hundreds of years—it was made evident: the black race had no rights which need be respected by the white race. … For the past 40-odd years, the black race has had made for them a preference in admittance at the highest ranks of our educational systems—but to what end? If the goal was to uplift the black race in the entirety . . . then this most recent round of affirmative action has been an unmitigated failure. But the failure begins with our reluctance to be as forthright in stating a goal today as we were in stating as well as enforcing our goals then.