How much do you know about "social ecologist" Peter Drucker?


Although he described himself as a "social ecologist," Peter Drucker, who was born 100 years ago this month, is more commonly remembered as the ultimate management guru, a prolific writer and thinker whose insights into managerial practice and organizational life have influenced corporate strategy for decades. Drucker regarded himself primarily as a teacher; in his honor, therefore, we offer this pop quiz.

1) Although he spent most of his adult life in the United States, Drucker was born in what European city, famous for the Belvedere Palace, Sacher torte, and a very unusual "burial museum"?

A. Brussels
B. London
C. Copenhagen
D. Vienna

2) An accomplished writer with a talent for the apt phrase, Drucker said he learned to read by:

A. Studying the billboards of his downtown neighborhood
B. Scanning the lists of obituaries and war casualties in the newspaper
C. Quizzing his father about economics textbooks
D. Scrutinizing catalogs of radio equipment

3) Much of Drucker's early insights regarding the dynamics of large organizations came from his two-year stint at:

A. The British Royal Air Force
B. Harvard Business School
C. General Motors
D. The United Nations

4) Which common business term is Drucker widely credited with coining?

A. Knowledge worker
B. Cash flow
C. Matrix management
D. Customer-centricity

5) Drucker once said, "People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make…"

A. "…just one mistake, but it's catastrophic."
B. "…two big killings a year."
C. "…fools out of the people who don't take risks."
D. "…about two big mistakes a year."

6) Jack Welch once said that Drucker taught him to ask one key question: "If you weren't in this business today…"

A. "…what better business could you be in?"
B. "…would you invest the resources to enter it?"
C. "…how would your competitors react?"
D. "…would you be equipped to enter a different business?"

7) Another famous Drucker epigram: "Most of what we call management consists of…"

A. "…focusing enormous attention on what's obsolete."
B. "…making it difficult for people to get their work done."
C. "…analyzing the past in the belief that it will determine the future."
D. "…obsessing over efficiency at the expense of innovation."

8) Drucker taught for many years at Claremont College, where the business school was named for him and for Masatoshi Ito, a Japanese billionaire whose fortune stems, in part, from his ownership of:

A. The world's largest silkworm farm
B. 12,000 7-Eleven stores
C. A network of 26 for-profit universities
D. Most of the oil in the South China Sea

Sources: The World According to Peter Drucker, Jack Beatty; Classic Drucker, Harvard Business Review; A Class with Drucker, William A. Cohen; The Drucker Institute

Answers: 1–D; 2–B; 3–C; 4–A; 5–D; 6–B; 7–B; 8–B


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