The Practice of Management

By Peter F. Drucker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 18
THE SMALL, THE LARGE, THE GROWING BUSINESS

The myth of the idyllic small business--How big is big?--Number of employees no criterion--Hudson and Chrysler--The other factors: industry position; capitalization needs; time cycle of decisions, technology; geography--A company is as large as the management structure it requires--The four stages of business size --How big is too big?--The unmanageable business--The problems of smallness--The lack of management scope and vision-- The family business--What can the small business do?--The problem of bigness--The chief executive and its job--The danger of inbreeding--The service staffs and their empires--How to organize service work--The biggest problem: growth--Diagnosing the growth stage--Changing basic attitudes--Growth: the problem of success.

IT IS almost an article of the American creed that in the small business there are no problems of spirit and morale, of organization structure or of communication. Unfortunately this belief is pure myth, a figment of the Jeffersonian nostalgia that is so marked in our national sentiment. The worst examples of poor spirit are usually found in a small business run by a one-man dictator who brooks no opposition and insists on making all decisions himself. I know no poorer communications than those of the all too typical small business where the boss "plays it close to the chest." And the greatest disorganization can be found in small business where everybody has four jobs and no one quite knows what anyone is supposed to be doing. In fact, if the Ford Motor Company in the thirties was

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