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April 20, 2009



IWB - as usual an interesting and thought-provoking post. A couple of points I disagree with and a couple that ring strongly. Drucker defined the whole purpose of business as innovation and marketing, that is as creating value (especially new value) and explaining it to people. His most comprehensive treat is in his 1973 book Management:Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices. In which book he also sounded the tocsin for the death/dearth of management innovation. It seems to me that we froze in the late '70s in the bulk of the economy, been coasting ever since and now the ground on which we stood is proven unstable. Instead of letting our enterprises and organizations succumb to organosclerosis, where a focus on internal politics swamps a focus on external value, how do we return to that more innovative future ? An emphasis on protecting one's rice bowl is no longer sufficient - too many are broken and discarded. Now that would be a worthy question to explore given your usual thorough thoughtfulness.


Thank you for another very thoughtful article. I thought perhaps you might continue your line of argument to venture into the territory of how corporate-conformism and groupthink played an important contributing role creating the current financial crisis.

Entrepreneurship is a creative economic force that displaces or changes the status quo with worthy added value. When this happens it is destructive to incumbent companies/industries but rewarding to innovators and customers. Over the long term this is of course very healthy for the economy. In contrast, corporate capitalism, driven by public markets, is motivated to support the status quo and add short-term value in ways that do not risk the corporate interest in the short to medium time-frame. This generally means suppressing entrepreneurship or, at best, consuming it.

Martijn Boermans

MAB: I appreciate your review on The Economist's special report and expresisng the notion that entrepreneurship and "big business" are non-contradicatory. Large US companies are currently very innovative and work together in global networks with SMEs.

The shift from scientific management towards entrpreneurship perfectly fits with globalization.
Organization have become more flexible, so have the employees. As you noted: "Telling workers that in an entrepreneurial society they should assume greater responsibility for their individual careers does not mean that corporations and governments do not bear responsibilities to help them do so."

In Huxley's brave new world people lifed in a society ruled by innovation and technology, yet at the end it turns out how unhappy these truely free and self-responsible persons became... I sometimes wonder why the downsides of "entrepreneurial capitalism" are so easily ruled out, but not in the brave new world sense, yet more closely linked to the current global recession...

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