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Concept of the Corporation Paperback – January 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews


"Concept of the Corporation is a valuable text for anyone teaching business history (broadly defined) or the history of political economy. Drucker describes one of the most important American companies at the apex of its success and elucidates the context in which it operated: labor relations, politics, regulation, and even the impact of war. At the same time, Drucker is interested in the larger issues affecting company operations, and he discusses them in a clear, often original way, with an appealing mix of pragmatism and optimism."

—Wyatt Wells, Business History Review

About the Author

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) is known by many as the father of modern management. He was Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate School in California and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the author of over thirty-five books, including The Ecological Vision, The Concept of the Corporation, and A Functioning Society.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560006250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560006251
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) was considered the top management thinker of his time. He authored over 25 books, with his first, The End of Economic Man published in 1939. His ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. One of his most famous disciples alive today is Jack Welch. He was a teacher, philosopher, reporter and consultant.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bradley A. Swope on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
REVIEW: This book has had a tremendous impact on management thinking and practice worldwide. As the first book to take an analytical study of a business corporation (GM) from the inside, many consider it to be the catalyst of the management boom that followed. It is certainly the first book to examine the business corporation as a social structure that brings together human beings for economic and social needs. The book is also a sort of bridge from Drucker's more political and social writings in "The End of Economic Man" and "The Future of Industrial Man" to his later more managerial writings. It is credited with having established management of organizations as a discipline and a distinct field of study. However, as a book originally published in 1946, is it still relevent and worth reading today? Yes, but not for everyone.
Drucker raised many new issues and concepts basic to organizations. For example, he touched upon: dignity and status of the worker, corporate purpose, corporate contribution to and harmonization with community, management compensation and succession, worker training and development, workers as resources not costs, etc. Since new ideas will tend to seep into the popular consciousness over time, many of the ideas he introduced have long since become popularized and accepted (e.g. the benefits of decentralization, suggestion plans, and reengineering). However, there are also a number the concepts which are not fully appreciated today or which we tend to just give lip service. For example, the basic concept of corporations as both economic and social institutions is still not fully appreciated or understood (neither by those on the "right" or the "left"). For me, the book was worth the read for these insights alone.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Justin Belkin on December 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
Business primarily functions to make a profit. However, due to the permanent and integral role that the corporation plays in modern industrial society, there exists a corresponding level of duty and responsibility toward society at large. Peter Drucker's goal is to articulate the management practices that made General Motors so successful. In this manner GM's efforts could be communicated and duplicated to ensure continued success for American industry and capitalism in general.

After World War II capitalism and communism began to compete for the hearts and minds of the world. This placed an onerous burden on capitalist countries. This burden largely fell upon America. America must demonstrate that capitalism is in fact the best economic system in terms of both efficiency and social equity. Drucker also realized that only an objective yardstick for measuring success would prove the intrinsic worth of capitalism. Conceding that perfection is unattainable, Peter Drucker nonetheless maintains that the harmonious integration of the corporation into the social fabric depends at the very least on its ability "to realize society's promises and society's beliefs" (117).
In America, this means that the corporation must appeal to and in some degree satisfy the basic American beliefs in individuality and opportunity. Those duel beliefs later served and were substantiated by historian John Kindgon. For the capitalist system to succeed it is imperative for the corporation to parallel these beliefs by promoting the role of justice as the means for recognizing equality of opportunity. This notion differs from communism's belief in equality of rewards.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Kroese on October 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Peter F. Drucker was born in 1911 and is the Grandmaster in the field of management. He is the most influential thinker on this subject of the 20st century and has published mountains of books and articles. (In short, he is "the man"!) This book, which is based on 18 months of research and study of the General Motors Corporation, was originally published in 1946. It consists of 4 parts (`chapters'), each consisting of 1-to-5 chapters (which Drucker gives numbers and titles.)

This `Transaction' edition includes an additional 1993-introduction and an additional 1983-preface, in which Drucker discusses the impact of this landmark-book. "Concept of the Corporation is credited with having established management as a discipline and as a field of study." However, the does not completely agree: "It established organization as a distinct entity, and its study as a discipline. ... And Concept of the Corporation thus became the first attempt to show how an organization really works and what its challenges, problems, principles are." He also discusses the fact that his book was not well received by the people of General Motors, which was at the time of the original publication the undisputed worldwide leader in the automobile industry and the world's biggest manufacturing company: "And a main reason, I now realize, was precisely that I treated General Motors (GM) as a prototype, as an `organization', and its problems therefore as problems of structure, if not of principle, rather than as the way GM does things."

The first part of this book - Capitalism in One Country - consists only of 1 chapter and sets the background scene for his study.
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