1. In what ways do the Sears’ story and the two Amazon stories illuminate the key ideas of “marketing” as defined by Drucker? Use quotations from each of the articles to help support your reasoning. [About 1-2 double-spaced pages; 10 points]
2. In what ways do the Sears’ story and the two Amazon stories illuminate the key ideas of “innovation” as defined by Drucker? Use quotations from each of the articles to help support your reasoning. [About 1-2 double-spaced pages; 10 points]
3.Traditional textbook economic models of business are built on the assumption of “profit maximization” using specific pricing rules. Peter Drucker (“What is a Business?” p. 59) argues that this approach used by economists is a distracting—if not a dangerous or meaningless—concept. Yet he argues simultaneously that “profit maximization is meaningless” and “profits and profitability are crucial.” Armen Alchian picks up on the same theme. Using the economic role of profit as an organizing device, craft an argument that explains why it is legitimate to argue that Drucker and Alchian are discussing the same economic issue(s) but from different end points on the same spectrum (actionauthentication). How do you contrast and compare Drucker’s meaning behind the statement “business enterprise is created and managed by people and not forces” with the meaning behind Alchian’s idea of “environmental adoption”? [About 2-3 double-spaced pages; 15 points] (As you might discern, this assignment is intended to have you think critically about a key link in our Drucker-Alchian-Hayek model—as a model of a dynamic economic system. Use quotationally support from the readings to support your exposition.)
4. Amazon has a unique approach to business meetings. The key presenters at the meeting must draft a narrative of the topic under consideration into a document of no more than six pages. The meeting begins with everyone reading the narrative, which becomes the shared experience that facilitates the discussion. Imagine that you are on point to craft the narrative for the following discussion: What is the purpose of a business and how does a business sustain a high level of commercial success? Craft your narrative using only the ideas and arguments expressed in the Drucker readings, the Goddard reading, and the Raynor-Ahmed reading. Use compelling quotations from each reading to support your narrative. [About 2-3 double-spaced pages; 15 points]
Additional food for thought: As you consider your response, you may find it helpful to think about this question:Why is it such a heroic challenge to simultaneously fulfill Drucker’s ideas about (1) the purpose and meaning of profit, (2) the purpose and meaning of marketing, and (3) the purpose and meaning of innovation?
Austin Carr’s article about Amazon (“Under Fire”) and the linked podcast help speak to this question. The host of the podcast, Ben Horowitz, is a principle in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz.
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