The purpose of this paper is to understand how Drucker's work has been disseminated through the North American management textbook since 1940, and what this tells people about the wider issue of the social construction and dissemination of management knowledge.
The paper is a critical hermeneutic analysis of the presence and use of Drucker in over 500 management textbooks and the socio‐political context in which both Drucker's work and North American textbooks were written.
Paradoxically, while Drucker's work was found to be the most‐referenced of any management writer in the textbooks studied, his theories – apart from discussions of “Management by objectives” and the “Knowledge economy” – were rarely discussed. It is argued that the referencing of Drucker served more to legitimize selected points made by textbook authors than to discuss and build on Drucker's work. Explanation of the paradox is explored through the socio‐political contexts in which Drucker was writing, strongly suggesting that the North American textbook has developed a dominant scientivistic trope that construct business “knowledge” through the narrow lens of behavioural science.
While much writing can be found on the influence of Drucker on the business world and his status as a management guru, little is found on Drucker's body of work in the management textbook, which plays a key role in management education in North American business schools. The paper builds on recent management research on the role of socio‐political context in the shaping of management theory and knowledge, and makes a new contribution to one's understanding of the shaping and contours of management knowledge.
Genoe McLaren, P., Mills, A.J. and Durepos, G. (2009), "Disseminating Drucker: Knowledge, tropes and the North American management textbook", Journal of Management History, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 388-403. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511340910987310Download as .RIS
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