Global Gurus Memorial Award
Peter Drucker (1909-2005) was one of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management, whose work continues to be used by managers worldwide. He was a prolific author, and among the first (after Taylor and Fayol) to depict management as a distinct function and being a manager as a distinct responsibility. His writing showed real understanding of and sympathy for the difficulties and demands faced by managers.
Throughout his long career he has had interests as diverse as journalism, art appreciation, mountaineering, reading – drawing inspiration from the works of Jane Austen – and, of course, management teaching, writing and consultancy.
With 39 books published over seven decades (and translated into at least 30 languages) and many books written about him since his death, Drucker was, by common consent, the founding father of modern management studies.
Life and career
Peter Georg Ferdinand Drucker was born in Vienna in 1909 to a high-achieving, intellectual family and was surrounded, in his early years, by the cultural elite which characterised pre-war Vienna. He commenced studies at the University of Hamburg but transferred to the University of Frankfurt where he obtained a Doctorate in Public and International Law in 1931.
While still a student in Frankfurt he worked on the city’s General Anzeiger newspaper and rose to the posts of foreign and financial editor. Recognised as a talented writer, he was offered a job in the Ministry of Information. Observing the Nazis’ rise to power with abhorrence, he wrote a philosophical essay condemning Nazism; this was probably instrumental in hastening his departure to England in 1933. It was in 1937 that he left for the USA to become an investment adviser to British industry and correspondent for several British newspapers, including the Financial Times, then called the Financial News.
His first book, The end of economic man, appeared in 1939. In 1940 he set up as a private consultant to business and government policy makers, specialising in the German economy and external politics. From 1940-42 he was a teacher at Sarah Lawrence College and this was followed by the post of Professor of Philosophy, Politics, History and Religion at Bennington College, Vermont. It was in the early stages of this appointment that he was invited by the Vice-President of General Motors (GM) to investigate what constitutes the modern organisation and to examine what the managers running it actually do. Although Drucker was relatively inexperienced in business at the time, his analysis led to the publication, in 1946, of The concept of the corporation – published as Big business in Britain. This had a mixed reception but nonetheless confirmed Drucker’s future as a management writer.
The period 1950-1972 was a time of prolific writing, teaching and consulting activity while he was Professor of Management at New York University Graduate School of Business. From 1971 to 2002 he was the Marie Rankin Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at the Graduate School in Claremont. In 1994 he was named Godkin Lecturer at Harvard University. Drucker held decorations from the governments of Austria and Japan as well as 22 honorary doctorates from universities in Belgium, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. For more information, visit Peter_Drucker
How inspirational is this Guru?
C.K. Prahalad (1941-2010), one of the world’s most influential business thinkers and one of the most beloved teachers at the University of Michigan, had a huge impact on business and business education around the world.
He created the base of the pyramid idea and changed the way the world viewed India’s economic potential.
At the time of his death he held the title Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at Michigan Ross. In addition, he served as distinguished fellow at the William Davidson Institute, where he played an important advisory role for the institute’s Base of the Pyramid research initiative. Prahalad twice was ranked the world’s most influential business thinker, most recently in October 2009, by the “Thinkers 50” published by the leadership consulting firm CrainerDearlove.
His influence grew in 1990, when he and Ross Gary Hamel, PhD ’90, co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Core Competence of the Corporation.” A watershed in the field of strategic management, the article asserted that executives should “identify, cultivate, and exploit the core competencies that make growth possible.” Their thinking encouraged executives at complex corporations to think of their organizations as a portfolio of competencies rather than a portfolio of businesses. It influenced a wide array of business leaders grappling with the strategic implications of an ever more integrated global economy. Prahalad and Hamel made a case for robust strategic thinking in the 1994 book Competing for the Future, which analyzed how established market leaders tend to lose ground to innovative upstarts. The book famously looked at how IBM was blindsided by Apple, failing to see the future of the personal computer because it was too focused on maintaining its leadership in the mainframe business.
As the Internet took hold and the role of customer choice and customization grew more important, Prahalad focused much of his thought on how value is created. In 2004, he and Venkat Ramaswamy, professor of marketing at Ross, published The Future of Competition. The book advanced the notion of “co-creation” and envisioned a world in which businesses and consumers collaborated in designing products and services characterized by greater customization than in the past.
In recent years, Prahalad had been a leader in Base of the Pyramid studies, an area of research that explores how businesses might pursue sustainable growth while playing a role in alleviating poverty. His 2004 book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, is widely considered indispensable reading for executives and scholars who wish to understand emerging markets. The book presents 12 case studies, some of them co-authored by Ross MBA students, which illustrate how some companies are turning a profit while bringing enormous social and material improvements to some of the world’s poorest populations.
Prahalad co-wrote his final book, 2008’s The New Age of Innovation, with Ross professor M.S. Krishnan. It examines how companies can build organizational capabilities that allow them to achieve and sustain continuous change and innovation.
Prahalad passed away in San Diego, Calif., on April 16, 2010, at the age of 68. He is survived by his wife, Gayatri Prahalad; son, Murali Prahalad; daughter, Deepa Prahalad; and three grandchildren.
Born Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, he earned a degree in physics from the University of Madras. He went on to receive a post-graduate diploma in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in 1966 and followed that with a doctor of business administration from Harvard Business School in 1975.
A professor at the University of Michigan since 1977, Prahalad earned the University’s highest distinction, Distinguished University Professor, in 2005. He won the McKinsey Prize four times for the best article in Harvard Business Review and held honorary doctorates in economics, engineering, and business. Among the numerous other awards he received were the Faculty Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute for contributions to social and environmental stewardship; the Italian Telecom Prize for Leadership in Business and Economic Thinking; Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Excellence in Management, 2000, presented by the President of India; and many others. He served on several boards, including NCR Corp., Hindustan Lever Ltd., and TVS Capital. For more information, visit C._K._Prahalad
How inspirational is this Guru?
Jason Jennings (May 31, 1956 -May 20, 2020) was one of the most successful and prolific business authors in the world.
Research and Books
Jennings traveled the globe in search of the world’s fastest companies for his 2001 landmark debut book, It’s Not The Big That Eat The Small – It’s The Fast That Eat The Slow,and, within days of its release, it hit the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New York Times Bestsellers Lists, and USA TODAY named it one of the top 25 books of the year.
Next, he and his research teams identified the world’s ten most productive companies for the bestseller, Less Is More. That was followed by, Think BIG – Act Small, which profiled the only ten companies in the US to have organically grown both revenues and profits by double-digits every year for ten consecutive years. His next book, Hit the Ground Running – A Manualfor Leaders, reveals the tactics and strategies of the ten new CEO’s who created the greatest amount of value during their first five years on the job. His New York Time’s bestseller, The Reinventors – How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change, reveals the secrets of those leaders and organizations that have successfully reinvented and transformed themselves.
His booksare consistently described by critics as, “extraordinarily well researched, insightful, crisply written, accessible, intriguing and a vital resource for everyone in business.”
Speaking and Teaching
USA TODAY has called Jason one of the three most in-demand business speakers in the world and, since the release of his first book, he’s delivered more than1,200 motivating and inspirational keynote speeches and seminars in more than 100 countries, and has consistently and positively influenced, impacted and changed lives, careers and companies.
Jason grew up in Michigan, where at age thirteen, he landed his first job as a radio disc-jockey and eventually atelevision reporter while attending high school and college. At age 21 he became the youngest radio station group-owner in the nation. Later, he founded Jennings-McGlothlin & Company, a consulting firm that became the world’s largest media consultancy whose legendary programming and sales strategies are credited with revolutionizing many parts of the broadcasting industry. As a consultant, Jennings traveled the world working with and teaching the leadership teams of companies in New Zealand, Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe, the US and Canada while flying more than 10 million miles.
In May of 2017, in front of an audience of more than 10,000 people, Jason delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, Northern Michigan University, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business degree.
In 2017, Fritz Erickson, the president of NMU, was introducing Jason at a reception the night before his commencement address, and said, “I’ve told you about Jason’s accomplishments, but I want to add one more thing,” concluding, “I’ve spoken to many people about Jason and the one word that’s always used to describe him is that he’s a nice man.”