"There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. "Whether or not you agree with this definition, there is no question what his definition is. In the next paragraph, he goes on to say:
"Markets are not created by God, nature, or economic forces but by businessmen. The want they satisfy may have been felt by the customer before he was offered the means of satisfying it. It may indeed, like the want for food in famine, have dominated the customer's life and filled all his waking moments. But it was a theoretical want before; only when the action of businessmen makes it effective demand is there a customer, a market."Drucker directly ties the purpose of business to reality. His objectivity makes Drucker stand head and shoulders above the rest. He writes in a style similar to Ayn Rand. He makes bold statements, but proceeds to justify his statement with analysis of reality and identifying the essentials. He explores all the major options (God, nature, economic forces, and businessmen) and proceeds to explain why it must be businessmen that create markets, hence customers. It is the actions of businessmen, of creating products where none existed previously, that creates the market.
Beyond just the clarity of his writing, is the recurring message throughout his works that management requires reason. Take, for instance, his excellent summary of production:
"Production is not the application of tools to materials. It is the application of logic to work."
In this one sentence, Drucker challenges philosophers of the Marxist persuasion by relating the role of thinking managers to productivity. An unthinking brute swinging a sledge hammer is not being productive. They are merely swinging a sledge hammer. It takes a mind, applying logic to work, that transforms a chunk of metal into a V8 high performance engine.
While not perfect philosophically, Drucker has done more good for businessman than all of the Harvard MBAs of the last century. In the 1950s, he identified the need for management by objectives...a trend that caught on in the 1980s. By thinking in essentials and applying reason to observations of reality, Drucker became a visionary that executives like Andrew Grove (Former president of Intel) says "Peter Drucker is a guiding light to a whole lot of us. When I see an article of his I drop everything else and read it on the spot." Now that says a lot.