Tribute to Joseph A. Maciariello
Written by MLARI Research Director, Karen E. Linkletter
On June 30th, the Drucker Society in Vienna hosted “A Day of Drucker” conference featuring several sessions devoted to celebrating the work of Peter F. Drucker. One of the sessions at that event was “Management as a Liberal Art: A Tribute to Joseph A. Maciariello.” Joe Maciariello, Research Director of MLARI, passed away on July 1, 2020. He was the preeminent scholar of Peter Drucker, devoting much of his career to updating and studying Drucker’s management writings.
I had the distinct honor of moderating the panel discussion for the session celebrating Joe’s legacy. Our distinguished panel members were Bill Pollard, Chairman Emeritus of ServiceMaster Corporation; Jean Lipman-Bluman, Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior at CGU’s Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management; Pat Maciariello (Joe’s son), and CiAM’s Byron Ramirez. Each panel member spoke from their own personal knowledge of Joe’s work and Joe as a person. As most of the people streaming the conference did not personally know Joe, the virtual session allowed many people to get to know the man whose name is on our Research Institute.
Joseph A. Maciariello (1941-2020)
Bill spoke of the importance of faith to Joe’s work and life, and how his view of people as eternal beings meant that he cared about everyone as a human being regardless of status or position. In this sense, Joe truly embodied MLA’s emphasis on management being about people, not just about work. Jean reminded us that Joe sacrificed his own academic work to pursue a career carrying on the legacy of Drucker. Through his own writing on Drucker, and his work editing and updating Drucker’s management writings, Joe ensured that Drucker’s ideas carried on after Drucker’s passing. Pat told wonderful stories of his dad’s love of baseball, and how he became fascinated with the role of statistics in assessing performance. Joe’s last work, which will be published in the near future, features vignettes of his favorite heroes, including sports legend Jackie Robinson; he was always looking for examples of MLA in life, and found many in sports. Finally, Byron reminded us of the importance of Joe’s own work; Joe helped to bridge the gap between Drucker’s management theories and the needs of practitioners. Byron pointed to Joe’s prolific use of case studies and examples to show MLA in action, something that is crucial in understanding Drucker’s concept.
When Joe received an honorary Doctorate from the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in 2017, Professor Timo Meynhardt interviewed him and asked Joe what he wanted to be remembered for. Joe responded that he wished to be remembered as “a man of integrity,” citing Drucker as the person from whom he learned the importance of that quality. I personally knew Joe Maciariello as an M.B.A. student, as a Ph.D. student, and as a colleague for nearly 30 years. He was indeed a man of integrity, and he will be sorely missed. His name and spirit live on in the Joseph A. Maciariello Management as a Liberal Art Research Institute.