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Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise Paperback – August 15, 1969

ISBN-13: 978-0262530095 ISBN-10: 0262530090 Edition: Reprint

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Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise + The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (August 15, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262530090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262530095
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There is no doubt that this is a book of first-class importance...as an example of the way in which fruitful relations can be established between economic and business history." Journal of Economic History


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Katherine M. Lawrence on November 6, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chandler's book is excellent and I find myself reading it again and again as I mature as a manager. I ask myself why do some organizations act and seem so different from others? Well, Chandler's book points the way to at least some of those reasons. Using Harvard's Case Method, Chandler is Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, his facts are presented in a context - a story problem if you will. Crisply written, his chapters show how large corporations struggled with organizing themselves as burgeoning growth taxed the administrative reach of the management team.
Chandler tells us that during the Civil War era most American enterprises were managed by a superintendent, almost along the lines of an agrarian model, like a mechanized plantation. But with the coming of Ford Motor, Standard Oil, General Motors, DuPont, Sears, and other familiar names in America's business pantheon, the larger organizations could no longer rely on the superintendent, or owner - even if aided by able men - to operate on such a large scale, let alone build industrial empires.
What I think is key in Chandler's analysis is that, like a Möbius loop, the strategy drives the structure while the structure drives the strategy of an organization. The layering of management and the span of control become crucial and delegating the day-to-day details of entire management functions becomes inevitable. The various senior managements created autonomous divisions. That was one thing. Yet having the divisions mesh smoothly in a gear-work structure, that was another, and one that these organization-builders solved as their corporations rose to industry leadership. And Chandler shows that it was not an overnight thing and how management wrestled with the intricacies of making it all work.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a management "classic" and tells how American corporations have dealt with a common economic problem - the effective administration of an expanding business. Chandler's main point is that the structure of a company depends on the strategy of the company - a company must determine its strategy before it can organize properly. He also feels that corporations have two management tiers. VP's or executives set the vision of the company and then managers execute the vision.
Chandler summarizes the history of the expansion of the nation's largest industries during the past hundred years. He then examines in depth the modern decentralized corporate structure as it was developed independently by four companies - Dupont, General Motors, Standard Oil, and Sears.
In all fours cases, firms had to deal with their growing business. When firms had a good strategy, they developed the proper organization. Without a good strategy, various reorganizations were required. However, the growing economy solved many of their organization and strategy problems.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nathaniel Singer on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The early wrestling with the (at that time) new corporate structure and the optimal construction of hierarchy and communication chains is probably the best treatment of how to analyze a corporate structure. Viewed from what I would consider to be the outside, before business books became a form of trash novel, Chandler's construction of what we now consider the bedrock of strategic analysis is still one of the best conveyers of the perspective needed to truly understand the corporate world. It is all about enabling coordinated execution while allowing the flexibility and autonomy necessary to make the best responses to uncertain and changing external market conditions.

This is not an easy read but is definitely worth it. An incredibly interesting and insightful book. If only business research had continued to go down this path rather than postulating the drither and sales of artificial truths that it currently does.
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By Jason Gogel on January 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear and concise book for people to understand the structure and strategy behind large multinational Americans companies. Both informative and easy to read.
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