La mano visible
Alfred D.Chandler Jr.
Alfred Dupont Chandler Jr. (1918-2007) has been recognized as the dean of business historians, given that his methods and theories had a profound impact on management. He obtained a Ph.D. in History at Harvard in 1952, and devoted his whole life to teaching and research. A disciple of Talcott Parsons, Joseph Schumpeter and Arthur Cole, Alfred Chandler was the main promoter of business history studies at Harvard Business School and is widely considered as its principal defender worldwide. He previously taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, between 1960 and 1963, and at the Johns Hopkins University, between 1963 and 1971.
During his extensive academic activity he wrote dozens of articles and numerous essays, including: “Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise” (1962; shortly in this collection), “Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism” (1990; published by Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza), and “Inventing the Electronic Century” (2001; also shortly to appear in this collection).
This book explains, in exemplary fashion, the role of the big company and its managers in the early years of modern capitalism, from the second half of the 19th century to the first third of the 20th. Published in 1977, it successively won the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes of 1978 and also the Newcomen Book Award 1975-1978, for the best essay of the triennium.
Alfred Chandler describes the appearance of “the visible hand” of the managers, and how this replaced what Adam Smith had called “the invisible hand” of the market. This represents no less than the passage from the familiar liberal capitalism of Smith, in the 18th century, to the professional management capitalism of Chandler, in which we currently live.
“A superb book, a triumph of creative synthesis”.
“This book is a major contribution to economics, as well as to business history”.
New York Review of Books
“A monumental effort summarizing much of what is known about the rise of the managerial class… Chandler deserves a wide audience”.
New York Times Book Review
“Alfred Chandler is the world master of business history”.
David S. Landes
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