Peter DruckerFor a social discipline, such as management, the assumptions are actually a good deal more important than are the paradigms for a natural science. The paradigm—that is, the prevailing general theory—has no impact on the natural universe. Whether the paradigm states that the sun rotates around the earth, or that, on the contrary, the earth rotates around the sun, has no effect on sun and earth. But a social discipline, such as management, deals with the behavior of people and human institutions. The social universe has no “natural laws” as the physical sciences do. It is thus subject to continuous change. This means that assumptions that were valid yesterday can become invalid and, indeed, totally misleading in no time at all.

Because the generally held assumptions about management no longer apply, it is important that we first make them explicit, and then replace them with assumptions that better fit today’s reality.

That’s where we are today with the discipline of management.


Peter Drucker
Forbes, 1998