May 14, 2007
News & Opinion: Chandler, Our Historian
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.
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:
- Leviathans: Multinational Corporations and the New Global History (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2005) coedited with Bruce Mazlish
- Shaping the Industrial Century: The Remarkable Story of the Evolution of the Modern Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 2005)
- Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics & Computer Industries (New York: Free Press 2001)
- A Nation Transformed By Information: How Information Has Shaped the United States From Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Oxford Uni Press 2000) coedited with James Cortada—incisive essays about publishing, telecommunications, management structures, productivity and economic growth
- The Dynamic Firm - The Role of Technology, Strategy, Organization and Regions (New York: Oxford Uni Press 1998) coedited with Peter Hagström & Örjan Sölvell
- Big Business & the Wealth of Nations (New York: Cambridge Uni Press 1997) coedited with Franco Amatori & Takashi Hikino—a collection of papers on corporate organisation, markets and government, notable for international comparisons and skepticism about dogma such as the Wiener thesis
- Scale & Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1994)—a continuation of Strategy & Structure, including UK and German enterprises
- The Essential Alfred Chandler: Essays Toward a Historical Theory of Big Business (Boston: Harvard Business School Press 1988), edited by Thomas McCraw (out of print, ISBN 0071033173).
- Managerial Hierarchies: Comparative Perspectives on the Rise of the Modern Industrial Enterprise (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1980) coedited with Herman Daems (out of print, ISBN 0674547411)
- Managerial Innovation at General Motors (New York: Arno Press 1979)—editor
- The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1977)—the landmark study of communications, management processes and institutional structures
- Pierre S. Du Pont and The Making of the Modern Corporation (New York: Harper & Row 1971) with Stephen Salsbury—a deservedly influential study of corporate organisation and management styles
- The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Uni Press 1970-80) coedited with Stephen Ambrose, Louis Galambos and others—the 11 volume official edition of the papers of the US President
- Railroads, the Nation's First Big Business (New York: Columbia Uni Press 1965)
- Strategy & Structure: Chapters in the History of the Industrial Enterprise (Cambridge: MIT Press 1962)
- Henry Varnum Poor - Business Editor, Analyst & Reformer (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1956)—the definitive biography of the early US business analyst, progenitor of Standard & Poor's rating service
- The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1951-54) coedited with Elting Morison & John Morton Blum—the four volume authorised edition of the correspondence of the big game hunter, conservationist and President.
source : Calston Analytics