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Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change$
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Giovanni Dosi, David J. Teece, and Josef Chytry

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269426.001.0001

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Corporate Strategy, Structure and Control Methods in the United States During the 20th Century *

Corporate Strategy, Structure and Control Methods in the United States During the 20th Century *

(p.381) Corporate Strategy, Structure and Control Methods in the United States During the 20th Century*
Understanding Industrial and Corporate Change

Alfred D. Chandler

Oxford University Press

This chapter narrates the various changes characterizing the typical large-scale American corporate organization since the changes of the late 19th century brought about by the railroad and telegraph systems. US firms rationalized the management of multi-market businesses by forming the multidivisional structure known as the M-form, and this system proved generally successful during much of the 20th century. However, during the 1960s, continued growth and intensified competition led to important changes in organizational structure, strategy for growth, and the control methods utilized by these firms. Acquisitions and mergers were followed by the divestiture movement of the 1970s. Increasingly, investment banks and new forms of financial intermediaries inaugurated a new period of company ownership to portfolios of pension and mutual funds. During the 1980s therefore, financial intermediaries and entrepreneurs became more directly and aggressively engaged in corporate restructuring. If the M-Form still rules today for multimarket firms, the number of levels has been reduced. Study of such long-term patterns also helps theorists better understand the continuing difference in national patterns of corporate change.

Keywords:   M-Form, divestiture, corporate restructuring, national patterns, corporate change

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