- Paperback: 780 pages
- Publisher: The Belknap Press (March 15, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674789954
- ISBN-13: 978-0674789951
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism
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Serious students of the worldwide industrialization that occurred in the century between the 1870s and the 1970s are indebted to Mr. Chandler...for a lifetime of determined effort to find order and predictable processes in industrial history...Chandler started out years ago to make sense out of the transformation of capitalist enterprise caused by the growth of giant industrial companies...He has succeeded with a power and authority that will not soon be matched. (Jonathan Hughes New York Times Book Review)
The book is important. It traces the evolution of the economic environment in which we breathe, and which we need to interpret without the blinders of doctrine or dogma... It is an exhaustive, nation-by-nation, industry-by-industry, company-by-company survey Chandler is what social science is all about. (Bernard A. Weisberger Washington Post Book World)
A major monument to our increasingly successful quest to understand and interpret the modern industrial world. (Sidney Pollard Times Higher Education Supplement)
In the history of business, B.C. stands for Before Chandler. Over the past several decades, Alfred D. Chandler Jr. of Harvard Business School has brought unprecedented rigor and sophistication to the study of the corporation. In so doing, he has profoundly shaped our understanding of that institution's role in modern capitalism...[Chandler's] latest work, Scale and Scope...is his most ambitious yet. Chandler compares and contrasts the growth of the 200 largest companies in each of three industrial powerhouses―the U.S., Britain, and Germany―from the 1880s through the 1940s, searching for the common characteristics of successful corporations...The book speaks to all the major debates swirling around Corporate America―including those over shareholder value, mergers and acquisitions, and global competitiveness. (Christopher Farrell Business Week)
Chandler has written an admirable book, analytically tight, and full of fascinating detail. The more he explains, the more, perhaps, there is left to explain. But all future work on the process of successful industrial development must necessarily have reference to his outstanding research and writing. (Aubrey Silberston Times Literary Supplement)
From the Back Cover
Representing ten years of research into the history of the managerial business system, this book concentrates on patterns of growth and competitiveness in the U.S., Germany, and Great Britain, tracing the evolution of large firms into multinational giants and orienting the late twentieth century's most important developments.
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Author Alfred Chandler, who won a Pulitzer prize for a previous book in this field, argues that large-scale industrial enterprises were an organizational response to newly integrated national markets and new technologies for production and distribution. Railroads and national telegraph networks brought nations together and created large-scale markets, the first prerequisite for these large companies. Railroads also made important organizational innovations, as the first companies to employ upper, middle, and lower management, and the first to separate headquarters offices from specialized departments. In the United States, the railroads' immense capital requirements also led to the rise of New York as the second finance center after London. The second prerequisite for development of large industrial enterprises was new technology. In contrast to older, more labor-intensive industries, where growth occurred by scaling up existing processes, giant industrial companies arose by radically increasing the capital employed, improving production processes, integrating production processes within a single plant, or making better use of energy. Giant companies developed in new industries like petroleum, chemicals, sugar, vegetable and animal oils, metals, food and tobacco, and machinery.
By investing massively in production, managerial, and distributional capabilities, these companies were able to achieve minimum efficient scale: that is, the level of production for a given state of technology that produces the lowest average unit cost. Since minimum efficient scale was large with respect to the total size of the market, the first companies to achieve minimum efficient scale acquired tremendous competitive advantages and made tremendous profits, while later entrants had to take business away from established companies to survive. After achieving minimum efficient scale, many companies began to integrate upstream to ensure reliable sources of supply. Companies integrated downstream most often to use their superior knowledge of their products to market them more effectively.
These organizational capabilities could then be leveraged to enter new geographical markets or new lines of business. Chandler identifies this drive to capture new markets through investments in production, managerial, and distributional capabilities as the key dynamic of large industrial companies. Rather than entering into price competition that would inevitably lead to the disappearance of profits, competition occurred mainly through strategic decisions (entering markets with more profit potential and exiting markets with less potential) and through product innovation.
An implication of this mode of competition is that countries that are late industrializers will face considerable barriers to achieving minimum efficient scale. However, changes in technology, markets, and relative prices create opportunities for new entrants, and poor strategic or managerial decisions by current market participants sometimes create opportunities as well. For example, the poor quality of U.S. cars and the first Arab oil embargo in 1973 created an opportunity for Japanese carmakers to capture market share in the United States by selling small, fuel-efficient cars. At that point, the Japanese carmakers took the lead in staking out their market positions and U.S. carmakers were suddenly trying to catch up, a situation that has persisted up until now.
About two-thirds of the book is devoted to exploring the specific patterns of industrial development in Britain, Germany, and the United States. In Britain, where the domestic market was affluent, urbanized, and compact, industry focused on producing consumer goods and companies quickly acquired exporting expertise. In Germany, institutional factors like the high quality of German universities in scientific fields, the participation of banks on the boards of the companies they financed, laws that explicitly supported inter-firm cooperation, and the high relatively importance placed on labor welfare issues supported the development of a style of "organized capitalism" or "cooperative managerial capitalism" that focused on producer goods like chemicals, industrial machinery, and electrical equipment. Among the three countries covered by the book, companies in the United States were favored by the fastest population growth and the fastest increases in per capita income. Antitrust legislation became a factor in the early 20th century, making cooperation between companies illegal but recognizing the societal benefits that could be achieved by exploiting economies of scale and scope.
Chandler writes like a historian, not like an economist, and non-technical readers with an interest in the subject matter will have a pleasant time with this book.