Rediscovering Peter Drucker’s Lost Art of Management


The 11thGlobal Drucker Forum (20-22 November 2019) is just around the corner and this year’s conference examines “The Power of Ecosystems”. This is indeed a timely subject that highlights how value chains are increasingly becoming embedded in inter-institutional networks that reshape themselves flexibly to evolving market challenges. To frame it in the context of Ronald Coase’s transaction cost argument, something tangible is emerging between intra-firm organization and arm’s-length dealing between firms.

Ecosystems pose special challenges for managers and, in fact, also business schools and parent universities when educating future corporate leaders. A dedicated pre-conference panel workshop will put light on this issue based on the conjecture that Peter Drucker’s Lost Art of Management represents an important handrail for charting the way ahead.

The panel workshop will take place in the afternoon of the pre-conference day, 20 November 2019 from 14:30 to 17:30.

Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow: Revisiting Drucker’s Lost Art of Management

Chair & Moderator: Ulrich Hommel, Director Business School Development at EFMD GN and Professor of Corporate and Higher Education Finance at EBS Business School

PANEL 1 What are the key challenges leaders face and which competences are required today and tomorrow? Panelists:

  • Laurent Choain, Chief People Officer, Mazars Group
  • Yves Doz, Solvay Chaired Professor of Technological Innovation and Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, INSEAD
  • Julia Wang, President, Peter F. Drucker Academy

PANEL 2 How to develop leaders for the 21st century – what are the new ways? Panelists:

  • Martin Böhm, Dean and Professor of Marketing at IE Business School
  • Michael J. Gelb, Creative thinking pioneer and executive coach
  • Bernhard Kerres, Former Opera Singer & Silcion Valley Entrepreneur

Panel 1 will link current challenges to management practice as observed today, while Panel 2 will debate the issue from the perspective of educating future business leaders. Have a look at the detailed programme.

Peter Drucker has taught us that an enterprise is a learning and teaching institution and that executives must enable its members to grow and develop – on all levels and in alignment with the evolving challenges and needs of the business. He referred to management as a “liberal” art because, among other things, sense-making is key in guiding these teaching and learning ambitions, which requires knowledge and insights on the humanities, social sciences and increasingly also the “hard” sciences.

This message seems to have been forgotten all too often these days, mainly because liberal arts education is interpreted too narrowly, for instance in the context of what is on offer in U.S. colleges. In the tradition of Peter Drucker, liberal arts education acts as an enabler to deal with all the uncertainties, complexities and ambiguities of the so-called VUCA world (Volatility – Uncertainty – Complexity – Ambiguity). It is a life-long activity, must be firmly embedded in the grooming of the next generation of corporate leaders, and must play on the strengths of humans in the emerging contest with AI technology which have their roots in the creative arts and other elements of what comprises liberal education in the broadest sense.

The panel workshop will shed light on the complementarity between Peter Drucker’s thinking and modern leadership concepts – for instance related to organisational agility and resilience. The latter suffer the risk of being built on brittle foundations without capturing the synergetic complementarities with the former.

We hope to welcome you at this event at the Vienna City Hall on 20 November 2019 from 14:30 to 17:30.

Register for the 11th Global Peter Drucker Forum main conference and the pre-conference programme.


By Ulrich Hommel, Director of Business School Development, EFMD GN