Peter Drucker; Rick Wartzman; 0071762205; WHAT WOULD DRUCKER DO NOW?“Economic performance is the first responsibility of business,  Peter Drucker, ” the “father of modern management,” once wrote. “Indeed a business that does not show a profit at least equal to its cost of capital is irresponsible; it wastes society’s resources.” Society’s resources? In a word, yes. After all, every organization private and public needs taxpayer-funded resources to exist—from the Interstates to the Internet.

Peter Drucker wrote extensively on managerial values and responsibilities, and he was keenly aware that society and business thrive through cooperation, and not in spite of it. Drucker elaborates very clearly on this point, not to advance a personal belief, but to state a simple fact, that “Economic performance is the base without which a business cannot discharge any other responsibilities, cannot be a good employer, a good citizen, a good neighbor. But economic performance is not the only responsibility of a business. . . . Every organization must assume full responsibility for its impact on employees, the environment, customers, and whomever and whatever it touches. This is its social responsibility.”

2011 turned out to be another year plagued by business scandals, as many powerful people resorted to actions illegal or unethical in their pursuit of profits. Peter Drucker pointed out, however, that profit is not the sole measurement of business success; rather it is one of the many ways businesses can use “society’s resources” responsibly. Let’s hope that 2012 marks a turning point — the beginning of an era  in which the most influential leaders in business, finance, and government truly accept that. in a very real sense, we’re all in this together.