Saturday, May 12, 2007

A business historian to remember

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., who founded the field of business history, died on May 9 at the age of 88. His books included:

"Strategy and Structure" (1962) which examined four U.S. industrial giants -- General Motors, DuPont, Exxon, and Sears, Roebuck & Company -- from the 1900s to the 1940s and concluded that "strategy precedes structure.

"The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business" which won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1977 and traced the rise of management as the "most powerful institution in the American economy."

"Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of American Capitalism" (1990) which compared the evolution of managerial capitalism and the largest companies in the United States, England, and Germany and found that "the first movers in capital-intensive industries kept their competitive advantage only if they made three key strategic investments: first, in large-scale, high-speed production; second, in distribution; and, third, in a management structure that could plan, coordinate, and monitor the company's vast operations."

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