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The Essential Alfred Chandler: Essays Toward a Historical Theory of Big Business Paperback – August 1, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This collection of 19 scholarly essaysfirst published in books and journals between 1950 and 1988demonstrates the scope and development of research into the rise of large corporations conducted by renowned business historian Chandler. Both he and McCraw, the editor of this volume and his Harvard colleague, are Pulitzer Prize winners. This handsome work includes an introduction featuring a biography and photographs of Chandler, a comprehensive list of his writings, excellent notes preceding each essay, and numerous footnotes. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.Leonard Grundt, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, N.Y.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press (August 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875843069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875843063
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,490,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of Chandler's essays that have been published in various journals over the years. Chandler is a Business Historian at Harvard. My favorite essay is "The Role of Business in the U.S.: A Historical Survey" originally published in "Daedalus" in 1969. In it, Chandler says that business went through four stages: 1) from merchant to wholesaler; 2) from wholesaler to manufacturer; 3) from manufacturer to manager; and 4) from manager to sharing w/government. The last is probably synonymous with corporatism.

Merchants were pre-1800 and were Hamiltonians who called themselves Federalists, but were actually opposed to federalism and wanted a strong central government instead.

Wholesalers were financiers of long-term growth from 1800 to 1850. They pressured the state and municipal governments to issue or guarantee bonds. They even persuaded the state to build and operate transport facilities, with the average man footing the bill. Wholesalers were sectional, not national, which was evident in wholesalers versus planters (North versus the South).

From 1850 to 1900, manufacturers rose to dominance. Wholesalers were no longer needed. Bankers and railroads along with vertical consolidation caused the demise of the wholesaler. High start-up investment made entry difficult. During this time, the corporate mode of business oranization began growing in popularity. It was easier to move up through the military-like ranks of a corporation than to make one's own business. It is interesting to note that by 1894, U.S. output equalled that of Britain, France and Germany combined!

From 1900 to the Present, the manager mode arose because businesses were being swallowed by corporations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a collection of Alfred Chandler's essays that conveys to the reader the essential arguments of Chandler, and how has thinking and interest has evolved over time. The essays include both those that are well-known and heavily cited, as well as "hidden gems" that are included because they are clear expositions of Chandler's thesis, or occupy a critical role in the formation of his ideas. Dr. McCraw has done an excellent job picking the key essays. As an added bonus, each essay is preceded by a half- to one-page commentary that describes its background, subject matter and significance, and ties it to other essays in the book.
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