Purpose – Current headlines depicting the billion dollar government bailouts of some of the world's largest business corporations suggest that a new paradigm of management is needed. This paper seeks to propose that the management theory of Peter F. Drucker and certain Aristotelian concepts, expressed in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics , are applicable to the business community today. Design/methodology/approach – Drucker's management philosophy is synthesized with the moral philosophy of Aristotle to suggest a practical management framework for contemporary business practitioners. In providing a virtue‐based moral framework for management grounded in a concern for character, communal well‐being, and ultimate purpose, the paper argues that Drucker's Aristotelian style of business management provides a viable, virtue‐based management theory that contemporary managers should be able to embrace. Findings – Drucker has been regarded as one of the most influential management thinkers of the twentieth century. The author suggests that, given the current level of morality shown in the behaviour of business people today – business leaders in particular – what is needed is a change in managerial perspective. A change from the prevailing concern with one's own well‐being – how much one has, or can get for one's self – to include a concern for the well‐being of others. The author proposes that Drucker's management philosophy, which reflects Aristotelian matters of character, community and telos, though formulated many years ago, provides a framework for improving managerial behaviour today. Research limitations/implications – Drucker's pragmatic business commentary and advice reveal a deep understanding of the complexity of the business world and the realities of business from the perspective of the business person, and yet does not reject the over‐riding moral principles of integrity, community and achievement that serve as the foundation for society. Originality/value – The paper offers a business relevant virtue‐based perspective that, in this author's opinion, is more than adequate for a renewed vision of management in the twenty‐first century.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 6, 2012
Keywords: Drucker; Aristotle; Business ethics; Leadership; Social responsibility; Philosophical concepts