Peter Drucker: modern day Aristotle for the business community

Marcia Kurzynski (Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Publication date: 25 September 2009



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.


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 wellbeing, and ultimate purpose, Drucker's Aristotelian‐style of business management provides a viable, virtue‐based management theory that contemporary managers should be able to embrace.


Drucker has been regarded as one of the most influential management thinkers of the twentieth century. It is suggested 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 wellbeing – how much one has, or can get for oneself – to include a concern for the wellbeing of others. It is proposed 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 do not reject the overriding moral principles of integrity, community and achievement that serve as the foundation for society.


The paper offers a business‐relevant, virtue‐based perspective that, in the author's opinion, is more than adequate for a renewed vision of management in the twenty‐first century.



Kurzynski, M. (2009), "Peter Drucker: modern day Aristotle for the business community", Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 357-374.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.