The Practice of Management

By Peter F. Drucker | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 19
THE IBM STORY

The human resource the one least efficiently used--The one holding greatest promise for improved economic performance--Its increased importance under Automation--IBM's innovations-- Making the job a challenge--The worker's participation in planning--"Salaries" for the workers--Keeping workers employed is management's job.

IT HAS become almost a truism in American management that the human resource is of all economic resources the one least efficiently used, and that the greatest opportunity for improved economic performance lies in the improvement of the effectiveness of people in their work. Whether the business enterprise performs depends in the final analysis on its ability to get people to perform, that is, to work. The management of worker and work is therefore one of the basic functions of management.

The way the worker works may change. The unskilled laborer of yesterday who contributed only animal strength has become the semi-skilled machine operator of today who has to exercise judgment--though of a routine nature--when he tends the machine, feeds in material and inspects the product. The skilled worker has moved from the workshop into the plant--remaining a skilled worker or becoming a supervisor or a technician. And three new groups, clerical workers, professional specialists and managers, have come into being.

Today we face another major change. The new technology promises once again to upgrade the entire working group. The

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