Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface to the 1962 Edition
Introduction: The Industrial World Revolution
First Part: The Industrial Enterprise
The New Social Order
The Enterprise in Modern Society
The Anatomy of Enterprise
The Law of Avoiding Loss
The Law of Higher Output
Profitability and Performance
Second Part: The Problems of Industrial Order: The Economic Conflicts
The Real Issue in the Wage Conflict
The Worker's Resistance to Higher Output
The Hostility to Profit
Third Part: The Problems of Industrial Order: Management and Union
Can Management Be a Legitimate Government?
Can Unionism Survive?
Union Needs and the Common Weal
The Union Leader's Dilemma
The Split Allegiance Within the Enterprise
Fourth Part: The Problems of Industrial Order: The Plant Community
The Individual's Demand for Status and Function
The Demand for the Managerial Attitude
Men at Work
Is There Really a Lack of Opportunity?
The Communications Gap
Slot-Machine Man and Depression Shock
Fifth Part: The Problems of Industrial Order: The Management Function
The Threefold Job of Management
Why Managements Don't Do Their Job
Where Will Tomorrow's Managers Come From?
Is Bigness a Bar to Good Management?
Sixth Part: The Principles of Industrial Order: Exit the Proletarian
Labor as a Capital Resource
Predictable Income and Employment
The Worker's Stake in Profit
The Threat of Unemployment
Seventh Part: The Principles of Industrial Order: The Federal Organization of Management
"The Proper Study of Mankind Is Organization"
Decentralization and Federalism
Is a Competitive Market Necessary to Management?
Eighth Part: The Principles of Industrial Order: The Self-Governing Plant Community
Community Government and Business Management
"Management Must Manage"
The Worker and His Plant Government
Plant Self-Government and the Union
Ninth Part: The Principles of Industrial Order: The Labor Union as a Citizen
A Rational Wage Policy
How Much Union Control Over the Citizen?
When Strikes Become Unbearable
Conclusion: A Free Industrial Society
Epilogue to the 1962 Edition
The New Society was the third and last of my books analyzing and diagnosing the industrial society that emerged out of World War II.
It followed The Future of Industrial Man (1942) and The Concept of the Corporation (1946), both also reissued by Transaction Publishers.
The first of these attempted to develop a social theory of society in general and of the industrial society in particular.
The second analyzed and presented a major industrial enterprise—the world's largest and (then) most successful manufacturing company, General Motors in the United States.
It did so from the inside, as the result of an eighteen-month investigation during which GM opened itself to my inspection.
This, the third book, then distilled the conclusions of its two predecessors into a systematic, organized analysis, both theoretical and practical, of industrial society, its constituent elements, its major institutions, its social characteristics, its problems, and its future.
Nothing like this had been done before; and, indeed, nothing like this has been attempted since.
For The New Society not only presented analyses of the major institutions—large business enterprise, government, the labor union—it also attempted to place the individual within this social context; and it equally tried to relate the sociology of an industrial society to the political principles of a free society.
One of the insights of this book which might surprise today's reader, is the chapter entitled "Can Unionism Survive?" To most readers forty years ago this was a silly question and a good many reviewers said so.
Unions then were the entrenched rulers of industrial society, the real winners, the real powers.
But it was evident to me even then, having worked with major unions for a few years, that their power base was extremely narrow and that the question of their real function in an industrial society had yet to be answered.
That management, having power, needs a countervailing power, this book clearly stated—and I believe in this as firmly as I did forty years ago.
But that the union as we inherited it from the nineteenth century—with or without Marxist flavor—is the right way to do that job, this book doubted.
Events since then have amply validated the author's conclusion that unionism as it existed in 1949—which is still the only unionism we in the United States really know—can survive.
Today's reader may feel that unions are given too much space in the book and are taken too seriously.
But the basic question then raised, which is really the question of the basic political structure of an employee society, still has to be answered.
But while unions loom larger in this book than they might loom in a similar book today, one major element of modern society is conspicuously absent in this book.
And no one in 1949—and I do mean "no one"—then saw it: the knowledge worker.
I became the first one to see knowledge work and the knowledge worker.
Indeed I did coin the term, but only eight years later, in my next book on society and social analysis, Landmarks of Tomorrow (1957; also being reissued as a Transaction book).
In retrospect it is amazing that all of us, without exception, failed to see the emergence of the educated employed middle class, the knowledge worker, who became the center of society within another ten or fifteen years.
The event that produced this shift had already occurred: the G.I.
Bill of Rights of post-World War II America had opened the doors of colleges and universities to millions of returning veterans.
Some of us did indeed realize even then that this was a dramatic innovation.
I recall a paper I wrote at the time that pointed out that such a policy would have been unthinkable after World War I, and, indeed the World War I veterans would not have considered such a reward a "benefit" at all and would not have availed themselves of it in any numbers.
But that this policy signified a fundamental shift in social values and, ultimately, in social structure escaped every observer including this one and yet, in retrospect it should have been obvious.
The Industrial Society that this book depicted was then at its peak.
It looks different today.
In the first place, the economic center of gravity in developed countries has shifted from manufacturing industry to service industries of all kinds.
And within industry it has largely shifted from the very big business that was the success story of the 1930s and 1940s—and of the 1950s as well—to medium-sized business.
In the second place the center of social gravity no longer clearly lies in business; the non-profit "third sector" has become increasingly important in every developed country (excepting only Japan.)
And, as already said, the basic social problems of a developed country are no longer industrial workers; they have become secondary.
Increasingly our concerns will center on the productivity of knowledge work and on the dignity of service work, neither known to The New Society or to the time in which it was written.
Still, with these adjustments the basic approach, the basic analysis, the basic conceptual frame of this book still apply today-its discussion of basic institutions; of the role and limits of management; of the need for individual independence and yet also of community within the institutions of a developed society; of labor as a resource, the first such in the literature; and so on.
And perhaps it is relevant to report that The New Society was the first of the author's books to have major impact on Japan, in its discussion of the role and function of profit, management, and, above all, of labor as a resource and of the need to create a plant-community.
It is still considered in Japan to have been the guide to the restructuring of Japanese industry; to the development of modern Japanese management; and, above all, to the radical reform in the 'fifties' of Japan's employment and labor policies and practices.
Peter F. Drucker
The Über Mentor
A political / social ecologist
a different way of seeing and thinking about
the big picture
— lead to his top-of-the-food-chain reputation
about Management (a shock to the system)
“I am not a ‘theoretician’; through my consulting practice I am in daily touch with the concrete opportunities and problems of a fairly large number of institutions, foremost among them businesses but also hospitals, government agencies and public-service institutions such as museums and universities.
And I am working with such institutions on several continents: North America, including Canada and Mexico; Latin America; Europe; Japan and South East Asia.” — PFD
List of his books
Large combined outline of Drucker’s books — useful for topic searching.
“High tech is living in the nineteenth century,
the pre-management world.
They believe that people pay for technology.
They have a romance with technology.
But people don't pay for technology:
they pay for what they get out of technology.” —
The Frontiers of Management