Peter Drucker’s requirements for education systems


Tom Peters called Peter Drucker, “the creator and inventor of modern management”[1]. He is responsible for our modern understanding of the “knowledge economy” and “knowledge workers”. He authored 39 books and from 1971 to his death (in 2005) he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate University.[2]

It’s important for innovators to be familiar with his work. Drucker had some interesting thoughts about our business systems, some which merge the interest of business and socio-ecology; (e.g. He believed: “Companies have three responsibilities: 1) make a profit, 2) satisfy employees, and 3) be socially responsible.”) He promoted the need for a respontibilty to society and environmental policy. He founded the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-profit Management.

I am quoting from a book published in 1993. I think that the guidance Drucker proposed back then is relevant and deserves attention today. Drucker wrote about education and the power of academia. Drucker’s proposal is still far from being realized in our academic institutions. The following details some of the high-level changes Drucker proposed were needed:

“The real challenge ahead is not the technology itself. It is what we use it for. So far; no country has the educational system which the knowledge society needs. No coutnry has tackled the major demands…We can definine – albeit in rough outline – the specification for schooling and for schools which might answer to the realities of the post-capitalist society; the knowledge society.

These specifications call for a school as different from the one that exists now…

Here are the specifications:

  • the school we need has to provide universal literacy of a high order – well beyond what “literacy” means today.
  • It has to be an open system, accessible both to highly educated people and to people, who for whatever reason did not gain access to advanced education in their early years.
  • It has to impart knowledge both as substance and as process – what the Germans differentiate as Wissen and Konnen.
  • Finally, schooling can no longer be a monopoly of the schools. Education in the post-capitalist society has to permeate the entire society. Employing organizations of all kinds — businesses, government agencies, non-profits– must become institutions of learning and teaching as well. Schools, increasingly, must work in partnership with employers and employing organizations. ” (Drucker, p.198)

I would add that the new school needs to focus on multi-disciplinary world thought, and problem-solving methods, tools, and skills.

“In the school of tomorrow the students will be their own instructors…” (Drucker)

Drucker, Peter F. (1993). Post Capitalist Society. Harper Business. New York.

[1] BusinessWeek Online (article highlighting Drucker) >>

[2] Wikipedia–(on Peter Drucker) –

The quote is from Druker’s book: Post Capitalist Society (

Elsewhere on the web:

Using Systems thinking to improve education >>

Daniel Montano
Keyword: Daniel Montano, Dan Montano, user experience design, information architect

6 thoughts on “Peter Drucker’s requirements for education systems

  1. I am member of non-profit organzation IRSCA gifted education and in Romania (where I am from) we have a campaign on education, to improve the educational curriculum.
    I used the quotation from Drucker, are very good.

    All my apreciation,


  2. I have enjoyed reading Peter Drucker’s books. I am currently reading The Organization of the Future. It’s not a new book but Peter Drucker’s ideas are always ahead of their time – which makes them relevant for many years to come. I recommend it.

  3. Rick Martinez

    I’m from the medical school world–when the best “clinician” became the “director” of a department–irrespective of his or her management savvy, interpersonal skills, business ability or formal education in administration. I recall reading a book by Dr. Drucker about 30 years ago (perhaps more) wherein he said: “Show me an organization that does not believe that its people are its greatest asset and I’ll show you an organization with built-in limits to its success.” From that day forward I began focusing and teaching on PEOPLE, interpersonal skills, emotional wellness and especially relationships in medical school courses–as part of “professionalism” and “bedside manner.” The outcome was enhanced and enriched personal and professional fulfillment. We also surmised a definition of professionalism: When we do our work so well that the persons we serve don’t know if it’s our job…or our nature. This we owe to just one sentence of wisdom from Dr. Peter Drucker. He makes what’s age-old–new-age.

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