[Disclaimer: I will inevitably post provocative material in this blog. I don't intend to be disrespectful. Drucker and Mintzberg are, in my view, two of the giants in Strategy and Management in general and I write the following with tongue firmly planted in cheek.]
If Peter Drucker and Henry Mintzberg squared-off in the ring, or perhaps even the Octagon, it wouldn't be a pretty sight. Of course, this would have to be a fantasy fight, with both fighters at their prime. And, since I don't want to imagine either of them in UFC gear I think we'll have to stick with the Intellectual Cage Match.
Intellectually, these two have to be fighting for the belt every time they go out. While in my earlier years of Strategy and Management reading I would have definitely given the edge to Drucker, as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, I feel Mintzberg's got the edge. Why?
Drucker was fantastic. All kinds of horsepower and his breadth and depth of knowledge regarding management is perhaps second to none. His research seemed credible and sound, his accent (Viennese?) created an air of unimpeachable certainty, and that face...you could just see the wisdom pour out of his eyes when he was on camera.
But - and perhaps I just saw the wrong video clips - he seemed more
prone to flights of fancy to me. Since I'm no academic, I got lost in
some of his rhetoric in his writings from time to time. And he really reminded me of my grandfather who was just too damn smart for words. Fantastic man, but wouldn't ever let you off the hook for being wrong...jeez.
Mintzberg, on the other hand, who is obviously still in his prime years of production is really matter-of-fact and seemingly moderate in temperment. His research and the way he puts a book together also seems to reflect that style. He's got to be one of the most well-read researchers I've ever witnessed. You could spend the rest of your natural life reading the materials he's cited as evidence in his books...fantastic.
Certainly, the fact that he isn't a trend-follower is huge in my view. And, it's an added bonus that he's a Canadian.
Decision: Mintzberg in the 5th round, by way of a Kimura submission.