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When Management Is not Self Centered : Where Peter Drucker and Milton Friedman Agree on the Business of Business

abstract Peter Drucker (1978) holds that managers must take responsibility for the
common weal. This notion seems to contradict Milton Friedman’s (1970) famous observation according to which, “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” As the essay demonstrates, Friedman (1970) does not deduce this claim in terms of economic reasoning. Rather, in his determination of managerial obligations, he refers to the institutions of private property and the act of contracting. He thus evokes the classical doux-commerce doctrine according to which the pursuit of profits is a socially desirable activity.
Consequently, Friedman’s (1970) dogma of shareholder value maximization as sole responsibility of managers is inherently linked to societal and ethical
considerations that are also present in the argument of Drucker (1978). Jointly read, the works of Friedman (1970) and Drucker (1978) allow for definitions of “good management” as liberal art as proposed by Drucker (1989, 2008) that resolve tensions between the works of two giants of management thinking.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords Peter Drucker, Milton Friedman, Shareholder Value, Corporate Social Responsibility, Management as Liberal Arts, Doux Commerce
   
name of conference 3rd Global Peter Drucker Forum (Vienna)
date of conference 2-11-2011
review internal review
   
citation von Müller, C. (2011). When Management Is not Self Centered: Where Peter Drucker and Milton Friedman Agree on the Business of Business. In .