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Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism

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ISBN-13: 978-0691123158
ISBN-10: 0691123152
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Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism + Normal Organizational Wrongdoing: A Critical Analysis of Theories of Misconduct in and by Organizations
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 2003 Max Weber Award

"Organizing America is a provocative and passionate account of the nineteenth century origins of modern American corporate governance and its far-reaching effects. It is highly appropriate for our times."--Michael H. Best, The Journal of Economic History

"An ambitious and important book that is sure to provoke controversy. . . . Organizing America takes on fundamental issues in a way that is provocative, compelling, and all too rare . . . and provides a wealth of insights. . . . [T]his is an important book that will stimulate research and debate for decades to come."--Robert Freeland, Administrative Science Quarterly

"Perrow's book . . . is clearly and cogently expressed, and his refutations of alternative theories are often strong and convincing. This is a useful and stimulating book. . . . The passionate intensity of the author and the lack of obfuscation in his arguments are refreshing."--Gerald Zahavi, American Historical Review

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Winner of 2003 Max Weber Award
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691123152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691123158
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Perrow is professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University and visiting professor at Stanford University. His interests include the development of bureaucracy in the 19th century, protecting the nation's critical infrastructure, the prospects for democratic work organizations, and the origins of American capitalism.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
You may never have given a second thought to the very existence of the Fortune 500, but author and academic Charles Perrow has. In this eye-opening sociological account, he argues that the huge organizations that dominate today's business world in the United States would have been unthinkable to the nation's Founding Fathers, who viewed centralized money and power with great suspicion. Perrow's fascinating study points out the importance of big organizations in shaping American society. Yet for all his sweeping - and well-reasoned - arguments, Perrow focuses only on a couple of diminished industries. Still, this intriguing work is an important read for responsible corporate citizens. We recommend this social history to those leaders who want American corporations to be more than profit-making machines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fang on July 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
Capitalists seek profits, but the organizations that they build in the process determine social costs that the society will bear, and the powers and freedoms that the organizations will have. And it is these organizations that turned America, whose culture long upheld the principle of "individualism" and "entrepreneurship", into a highly hierarchical and mechanic "society of organizations". Density and concentration of organizations are unprecedented: more people are now dependent on wages of fewer organizations.
  Charles Perrow chased the source of this transformation back to early 19th century history, when alternative socioeconomic paths were brought up in textile industry but eventually eliminated by the private railroad conglomerates . For Perrow, this historical process looked somewhat "accidental". He insisted that there is nothing INEVITABLE in the path dependency history, but priori conditions of American Continent plus several occasions the in the early 19th century kicked off a transformation that made organization permeation of the society desirable and inevitable. Initial settlers' fear of strong states and church back in England tilted them towards a federal system with weak state. Scarce native population with infirm traditional culture, vast land and rich resources were the foundation of a railroad system that swept through the open land and centralized the economy. The 1812 war and embargo created incentives for New England merchants to invest in textile production instead of export fleets. The Federal financial panic of 1837 dealt gigantic blow to national and state finance, prompting states to retreat from regulations and holdings of railroads ( p. 226 ) .
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Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism
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