May 14, 2007

News & Opinion: Chandler, Our Historian

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:26 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Business historian Alfred Chandler passed away last week. The Wall Street Journal ran a thorough piece on his life and work in their Weekend Edition.

Strategy and Structure is a title most look to as a hallmark in the study of business management. Here is Peters and Waterman's concise description from In Search of Excellence:

Quite simply, Chandler observed that organizational structures in great companies like Du Pont, Sears, General Motors, and General Electric are all driven by changing pressures in the marketplace. For example, Chandler traces the market-driven proliferation of product lines in both Du Pont and General Motors. He shows how that proliferation led to a needed shift away from a functional monolithic organizational form toward a more loosely coupled divisional structural form.

Chandler won a Pulitzer Prize for The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. He makes the case that business managers have a far greater influence than market forces of Adam Smith's Invisible Hand.

Here is an incomplete bibliography of his work:

source : Calston Analytics

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.