Business History

135 Results

 

Waste, Recycling and Entrepreneurship in Central and Northern Europe, 1870-1940

The efficient and appropriate collection and disposal of solid waste has been recognized as essential to the hygiene and health of urban societies since the nineteenth century. Over the course of the first half of the twentieth century, sanitary engineers and the broader public also came to understand that the inappropriate treatment of waste could cause major environmental degradation, while recycling could contribute significantly to environmental sustainability. A key question for this industry, therefore, has been whether such social value could be combined with the pursuit of profitable opportunities. In this paper the authors focus on the late nineteenth century through the 1940s, a crucial period for the emergence of firms concerned with waste disposal in industrialized central and northern Europe. The authors show that German, Danish, and other European entrepreneurs built substantial businesses which aimed to achieve "shared value" by making positive social and environmental contributions to their societies. Some of these entrepreneurs had strikingly modern views of environmental challenges and they prefigured many later twentieth-century recycling processes. At the same time, the profit motive encouraged technological innovation, a major ideal of capitalist enterprise, and left a legacy of scientific and engineering knowledge of waste materials and their processing and utilization which benefited later recyclers. Although post-1970 non-profit community recycling centers, municipal collection programs, and recycling divisions of waste management companies provide the terminology and the ideology behind modern recycling, they owe their technological and organizational foundations to an earlier generation of profit-seeking engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Read More

Entrepreneurship and Multinationals Drive Globalization

Why is the firm overlooked as a contributor when we identify the drivers of globalization? Geoffrey Jones discusses his new book, Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Book Excerpt: ’Entrepreneurship and Multinationals’

An excerpt from Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World, by Geoffrey Jones. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Art of American Advertising

Harvard Business School's Baker Library is hosting a historical exhibit that examines the advertising industry in a bygone era. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Tommy Koh: Background and Major Accomplishments of the ’Great Negotiator, 2014

Tommy Koh is a diplomat, professor, and international lawyer currently serving as Ambassador-at-Large for the Government of Singapore. He will be the 2014 recipient of the Harvard Program on Negotiation's "Great Negotiator Award." In this paper, the authors discuss Koh's life, career, and major accomplishments as a negotiator. They summarize several of his most significant negotiations to date, exploring his successes at forging creative, lasting solutions to complex challenges and disputes. The authors discuss Koh's leadership in establishing the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA), developing and ratifying a charter for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), resolving territorial and humanitarian disputes in the Baltics and Asia, and successfully leading two unprecedented global megaconferences: the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea and the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit. As part of the 2014 Great Negotiator Awards program, negotiation faculty and students will analyze several of these experiences in much greater depth in order to extract their most valuable lessons for theory and practice. Read More

Excerpt: ’Fortune Tellers’

An excerpt from Walter A. Friedman's book, Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's Economic Forecasters. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

The Entrepreneurs Who Invented Economic Forecasting

The new book Fortune Tellers investigates the history of economic forecasting and its roots in the turbulent nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Read an interview with author Walter A. Friedman and an excerpt. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Historical Origins of Environmental Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s-1980s

This paper examines the emergence of environmental strategies in the chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. German chemical firms have been hailed as "eco-pioneers" in this regard, but this study demonstrates that initially the leading chemical companies of both Germany and the United States followed a similar approach to societal concerns about environmental pollution. Both German and American firms suggested that pollution incidents and complaints were a matter for local responses, tailored to specific settings, and should be considered primarily as nuisances rather than as environmental or health hazards. By the 1970s, however, the evolution of environmental strategies in the German chemical industry diverged greatly from that of the United States. This working paper explores how and why by examining the strategies of two prominent German chemical companies, Bayer and Henkel. The German firms diverged from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism of their pollution impact, but also to create opportunities for changes in corporate culture to encourage sustainability. While the US chemical industry remained defensive and focused on legal compliance, there was a greater proactivity among the German firms. The study stresses the importance of the regional embeddedness of Bayer and Henkel in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which made their reputations especially vulnerable to criticism. A new generation of corporate leaders also perceived that more reactive strategies were needed to fulfill societal expectations. They were savvy enough to understand that investing in environmental sustainability could provide an opportunity to create value for the firm, and that self-identifying as eco-pioneers had commercial as well as reputational benefits, provided that the image reflected genuine policies and processes. Read More

Debating the Responsibility of Capitalism in Historical and Global Perspective

The concept of corporate responsibility is often assumed to be recent in origin. This is far from accurate. Indeed, a recent study has traced the long history of corporate responsibility concepts in the United States back to the eighteenth century. This working paper puts this United States evidence in a wider comparative and global perspective. The paper proceeds chronologically, beginning with the era of the first global economy during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and going forward to the present day. Overall, the author demonstrates that from the nineteenth century, American, European, Japanese, Indian, and other business leaders discussed the responsibilities of business beyond making profits, although until recently such views have not been mainstream. Read More

Entrepreneurs, Firms, and Global Wealth since 1850

This paper examines the historical causes of the wealth gaps between the West and "the Rest." It integrates the business history literature into the current dominant explanations of global wealth and poverty which focus on deficient institutions, poor human capital development, geography, and culture. It argues that there is a "missing gap" between these factors, and the entrepreneurs and firms which create wealth and drive innovation. The paper examines why entrepreneurial catch-up was so challenging in the Rest in the nineteenth century. It shows that nonetheless productive business enterprises were emerging in Asia, Latin America, and Africa by the first half of the twentieth century. However, these were often crippled by the subsequent era of Communism and state intervention. The second global economy from the 1980s provided new opportunities for firms from the Rest to catch up, including easier access to knowledge and capital through returning diaspora, business schools and management consultancies, and smarter state capitalism. (A revised version of this working paper is forthcoming in Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, fall 2013). Read More

Lessons from Running GM’s OnStar

Before teaching at Harvard Business School, Chet Huber ran the General Motors telematics subsidiary OnStar. Huber discusses how the lessons he learned in the field mesh with the lessons he teaches to students. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

In Strange Company: The Puzzle of Private Investment in State-Controlled Firms

Why do "mixed corporations" exist? In which conditions could they become efficient organizational forms? In this paper, the authors argue that the effectiveness of mixed enterprise depends on a hybrid governance structure combining elements of private ownership with public checks-and- balances against uncertain governmental interference. This is a delicate equilibrium to obtain and one not without challenges. Exploring the promise and perils of this approach by looking at the recent experience of a sample of national oil companies (NOCs)-Brazil's Petrobras, Norway's Statoil, and Mexico's Pemex-the authors suggest that from the perspective of a social planner, the coexistence of minority private investors with state actors can generate improvements in operational and financial performance. From the perspective of private shareholders, there are risks that can be outweighed by some of the advantages of state-owned enterprises. Three different factors explain private investor interest. These are 1) the existence of countervailing privileges from partnering with the government, 2) the resort to improved corporate governance and legal constraints that limit the opportunity for political abuse, and 3) ex ante price discounting. Read More

These Are the Good Old Days: Foreign Entry and the Mexican Banking System

In this paper, the authors take on an aspect of contract design that is fundamental to explain economic development and financial stability. They study the incentives contained in the "partnership" contract between bankers, the government, depositors, and bank shareholders, and examine how the incentives that come out of that contract explain the volatility of the banking system. The main insight is that bankers in developing countries with weak property rights demand rents (such as high barriers to entry) and lax regulation, as a way to compensate them for the political risk they face of being expropriated by the government or used for policy objectives (for example, if the government forces banks to buy its debt). Depositors, on the other hand, demand deposit insurance in case bankers are reckless, while minority shareholders demand high returns to compensate for the risk of insider lending or reckless behavior on the part of bankers. Then, the combination of high barriers to entry, lax regulation, and deposit insurance induces bankers to take on more risks to try to maximize their rents, and does not encourage depositors and minority shareholders to monitor bankers either (as the government limits downside risk for them). This dynamic, in the case of Mexico, led to frequent banking crises between the 1970s and the 1990s. This was the case until 1997, when the government allowed foreign bankers take over the largest domestic commercial banks and improved the monitoring of banks. This increased the stability of the system. There has not been a crisis since then, partly because of improvements in regulation and partly because foreign bankers have been more conservative, not only because they have standardized procedures to deal with risk but also because they are closely monitored by their parent banks abroad. Read More

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners and Modern Management

Harvard-Newcomen Fellow Caitlin C. Rosenthal studies the meticulous records kept by southern plantation owners for measuring the productivity of their slaves, some of which were forerunners of modern management techniques. Closed for comment; 53 Comments posted.

The Spatial Diffusion of Technology

Technology disparities are critical for explaining cross-country differences in per capita income. Despite being non-rival in nature and involving no direct transport costs, technology diffuses slowly both across and within countries. Even when a technology has arrived in a country, it takes years and even decades before it has diffused to the point of having a significant impact on productivity. Why does technology diffuse slowly? How do we explain cross-country differences in its speed of diffusion? In this paper, the authors study the diffusion over time and space of 20 major technologies in 161 countries over the last 140 years. The spatial effects they identify for technologies vanish over time. For most technologies, this implies that the effect of geography is initially strong, decays over time, and eventually disappears. This is the first paper to document these patterns in adoption rates for a large number of technologies and countries. Estimates provided of structural parameters can be used to inform spatial theories of growth. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Leading Amidst Competing Technical and Institutional Demands: Revisiting Selznick’s Conception of Leadership

Leadership can be greatly enriched by the insights of Philip Selznick (1919-2010), the author of landmark studies in organizational theory, the sociology of law, and public administration. His work on the Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, showed that the combination of technical and institutional pressures compels even well-intentioned leaders to concede to external demands that threaten an organization's character. He further conceptualized how leaders can overcome these pressures and uphold the integrity of their organization and the institutional values it embodies. In this paper, Besharov and Khurana join with other scholars to highlight how a "Selznickian" approach contributes to contemporary research on leadership: first, by directing our attention to the role of values even in avowedly utilitarian organizations and, second, by suggesting that the protection and promotion of values is an essential task of leadership. Besharov and Khurana also focus on fundamental dualities and tensions between the institutional realm of values, culture, and politics, and the technical realm of efficiency, rationality, and administration. This paper explains how these two realms are interrelated, and articulates how leaders can uphold institutional values while simultaneously meeting technical imperatives. The authors hope the paper provides a starting point for new research on how leaders uphold institutional values in the face of often conflicting technical demands. Read More

Culture Changers: Managing High-Impact Entrepreneurs

In her new Harvard Business School course, Creative High-Impact Ventures: Entrepreneurs Who Changed the World, professor Mukti Khaire looks at ways managers can team with creative talent in six "culture industries": publishing, fashion, art-design, film, music, and food. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Power to the People: The Unexpected Influence of Small Coalitions

J. Gunnar Trumbull discusses his new book, Strength in Numbers, in which he argues that diffuse groups—environmentalists, consumer activists, farmers—wield great influence in areas of regulation including trade to product safety and labor policy. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Book Excerpt: Strength in Numbers

In his new book, Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests, Gunnar Trumbull shows how consumer groups can effect change by forming interest-driven alliances among activists, regulators, and corporations. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Not Your Father’s State-Run Capitalism

The face of state-owned companies in Russia, China, and other countries has changed dramatically over the last several decades, says professor Aldo Musacchio. What capitalists need to know about these increasingly powerful competitors. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

In their new book, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, Harvard Business School professors Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih discuss the dangers of underinvesting in the nation's manufacturing capabilities. This excerpt discusses the importance of the "industrial commons." Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Immigrants Who Built America’s Financial System

In The Founders and Finance, Harvard Business School business historian Thomas McCraw lays out in fascinating detail how immigrants Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin became essential to the nation's survival. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship in the Natural Food and Beauty Categories Before 2000: Global Visions and Local Expressions

How do entrepreneurs create a market? Geoffrey Jones takes a historical approach and focuses on influential figures who created new categories of natural and organic food, agriculture, and beauty products over the course of the twentieth century. At first these pioneering entrepreneurs, often motivated by ideological or religious convictions, faced little consumer demand for "green" products and little consumer knowledge of what they entailed. The creation of new categories thus involved a lengthy process with three overlapping waves of entrepreneurship. First, the diffusion of ideas through publishing, and promotion of research and education, engaged many entrepreneurs. They were, in effect, making the ideological case for natural products, and providing the basis for them to be made available. Second, entrepreneurs engaged in the creation of industry associations which could advocate, as well as give the nascent industry credibility and create standards. Finally, entrepreneurial ventures established retail stores, supply and distribution networks, and created brands. Read More

Book Excerpt: Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter

In his new book, Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter, HBS professor Gautam Mukunda addresses the question of whether leaders create history or are created by it. Read our excerpt. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Why Most Leaders (Even Thomas Jefferson) Are Replaceable

Leaders rarely make a lasting impact on their organizations—even the really, really good ones. Then out of the blue comes a Churchill. Gautam Mukunda discusses his new book, Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter. Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines

Does entrepreneurship cause urban growth? Economists and policymakers often argue yes, but it is remarkable how little is known about what lies behind this relationship. This paper investigates the connection more closely using a link between historical mineral and coal deposits and modern entrepreneurship observed in US cities today. Because the process of bringing ores out of the earth is a capital-intensive operation that often benefits from large-scale operations, cities with a historical abundance of nearby mineral and coal mines developed industrial structures with systematically larger establishments and less entrepreneurship. These early industrial traits persisted long after the initial conditions faded through intergenerational transmissions, path dependency, and similar. Using this variation, the study finds the strong connection between a city's initial entrepreneurship and subsequent economic growth is still observed after removing the most worrisome endogeneity. This connection works primarily through lower employment growth of startups in cities that are closer to mines. Read More

How Technology Adoption Affects Global Economies

In a series of research papers, Associate Professor Diego A. Comin and colleagues investigated the relationship between technology adoption and per capita income. They found that the rate at which nations adopted new tools hundreds of years ago strongly affects whether those nations are rich or poor today. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Penn State Lesson: Today’s Cover-Up was Yesterday’s Opportunity

While leaders may rationalize that a cover-up protects the interests of their organizations, the inevitable damage harms their institutions far more than acknowledging a mistake, says professor Bill George. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

“Power from Sunshine”: A Business History of Solar Energy

In each generation, the concept of getting "power from sunshine" has attracted entrepreneurial visionaries who encountered a perennial problem: Solar energy was expensive compared to conventional fuels that were not priced to incorporate wider environmental costs. This paper by Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane provides a business history of solar energy between the nineteenth century and the present day. Its covers early attempts to develop solar energy, the use of passive solar in architecture before World War II, the subsequent growth of the modern photovoltaic (PV) industry, and alternative non-PV technologies such as parabolic collectors. As the authors argue, building viable business models proved crucially dependent on two factors: the prices of alternative conventional fuels and public policy. Read More

What Do Development Banks Do? Evidence from Brazil, 2002-2009

Private firms in developed and developing markets find themselves competing with the so-called "national champions"—private and state-owned enterprises that receive entitlements, mostly trade protections and/or subsidized credit from the government. Most of these national champions get support by proposing long-term projects with large capital investment that would usually not be easy to fund using private capital. This paper, written by Research by Sergio G. Lazzarini, Aldo Musacchio, Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello, and Rosilene Marcon, uses evidence from Brazil to look at what happens to firm performance, investment, and financial expenditures when companies get subsidized credit from the Brazilian National Bank of Economic and Social Development, known as BNDES. Read More

Reintroducing Intellectual Ambition to the Study of Business History

The editors of Harvard Business School's Business History Review, Walter A. Friedman and Geoffrey Jones, are challenging historians to tackle big subjects with major importance to the future of business. Read More

Caste and Entrepreneurship in India

Has India's political revolution been accompanied by corresponding changes in the economic sphere? This paper argues that for the most vulnerable, whether in villages or cities, the social structure has not changed. While Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and traditionally "middle-level" castes have made significant progress at the level of political representation in independent India, their progress in entrepreneurship has been uneven. By looking at the ownership of enterprises across the country, this paper sheds light on two larger narratives about India's emerging political economy: first, that the rich have benefitted more than the poor, the towns and cities more than the villages, and the upper castes more than the lower castes has acquired salience in several quarters. And second, that "Dalit entrepreneurship," a category conspicuous by its absence in India's business history, has become a significant trend. Findings by Lakshmi Iyer, Tarun Khanna, and Ashutosh Varshney show that while the "middle-level" castes have made progress in entrepreneurship, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are considerably under-represented in the entrepreneurial sphere. That is, for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, political gains have not manifested themselves in greater entrepreneurial prowess. Read More

The Forgotten Book that Helped Shape the Modern Economy

A British merchant's long-forgotten work, An Essay on the State of England, could lead to a rethinking of how modern economies developed in Europe and America, and add historical perspective on the proper relationship between government and business. An interview with business historian Sophus A. Reinert. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competences in Wind Energy

Analyzing developments in the wind turbine business over more than a century, Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane argue that public policy has been a key variable in the spread of wind energy since the 1980s, but that public policy was more of a problem than a facilitator in the earlier history of the industry. Geography has mattered to some extent, also: Both in the United States and Denmark, the existence of rural areas not supplied by electricity provided the initial stimulus to entrepreneurs and innovators. Building firm-level capabilities has been essential in an industry which has been both technically difficult and vulnerable to policy shifts. Read More

The Untold Story of ‘Green’ Entrepreneurs

The history of entrepreneurs in green industries is largely unwritten, a fact that Harvard Business School business historian Geoffrey Jones is trying to remedy. In a new paper, Jones explores the edge-of-society pioneers who created the wind turbine industry. Open for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Managing Political Risk in Global Business: Beiersdorf 1914-1990

After the outbreak of World War 1, management of political risk became a central concern for firms, especially those operating internationally. These risks were on many levels, from expropriation to exchange controls and other economic policies. German firms, which had flourished during the second industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century, and enthusiastically expanded internationally, found themselves especially exposed to such risks. Focusing on one such firm, Beiersdorf, a German-based pharmaceutical and skin care company (and, during the Nazi years, a so-called Jewish business), the authors examine corporate strategies of political risk management during the twentieth century, especially the volatile years of Nazi Germany. The history of Beiersdorf highlights areas of managerial discretion. Faced by the worst of all worlds, the firm survived and was able, albeit at great cost, to rebuild its business. Read More

The Consequences of Financial Innovation: A Counterfactual Research Agenda

While financial innovation is often praised as a positive force for societal growth, it also takes much of the blame for the recent global financial crisis. In this paper, Harvard Business School professors Josh Lerner and Peter Tufano explore financial innovation and discuss how it differs from other types of innovation. Read More

China’s 60-Year Road from Revolution to World Power

In a new book, The People's Republic of China at 60: An International Assessment, HBS professor William C. Kirby discusses common assumptions about pre-revolutionary China and its development into an economic power. Read More

From Social Control to Financial Economics: The Linked Ecologies of Economics and Business in Twentieth Century America

No transformation looks more consequential for the history of American higher education than the extraordinary rise of business schools and business degrees in the twentieth century. Marion Fourcade (UC Berkeley) and Rakesh Khurana (HBS) analyze the changing place of economics in American business education as reflected in the teaching of three elite business schools over the course of the twentieth century: the Wharton School (1900-1930), the Carnegie Tech Graduate School of Industrial Administration (post World War II), and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago (1960s-present). Read More

How Foundations Think: The Ford Foundation as a Dominating Institution in the Field of American Business Schools

What causes institutions to change? This paper adds organizational and exogenous perspective to existing theories by looking at the idea of "dominating institutions"—a class of formal organizations purposively designed to change other institutions. HBS professor Rakesh Khurana and colleagues look at the Ford Foundation and its work reshaping America's graduate schools of management between 1952 and 1965 through funding of "centers of excellence" at a number of schools, including Harvard Business School. Read More

A Brief Postwar History of US Consumer Finance

The growth of the consumer finance sector after World War II provided a bevy of new financial options for Americans. These options led to a "do-it-yourself" approach to consumer finance, and an increase in household risk taking. In this paper, Harvard Business School professors Gunnar Trumbull and Peter Tufano, along with former HBS research associate Andrea Ryan, discuss the major themes that dominated the expansive postwar sector, including some of the factors that set the stage for the recent subprime mortgage crisis. Read More

Panama Canal: Troubled History, Astounding Turnaround

In their new book, The Big Ditch, Harvard Business School professor Noel Maurer and economic historian Carlos Yu discuss the complicated history of the Panama Canal and its remarkable turnaround after Panama took control in 1999. Q&A with Maurer, plus book excerpt. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Regulating for Legitimacy: Consumer Credit Access in France and America

Why have American households consistently borrowed so heavily? And why have their counterparts in France borrowed so little? This comparative historical analysis by HBS professor Gunnar Trumbull traces the roots of these different attitudes. In the United States, early welfare reformers embraced credit "on a business-like basis" as an alternative to expansive welfare states of the sort that were emerging in Europe. In France, early social planners saw consumer credit as a drain on savings that threatened to crowd out industrial investment. Regulatory regimes that emerged in the postwar period in the two countries reflected these different interpretations of the economic and social role of credit in society. Read More

The Drive to Acquire’s Impact on Globalization

Humans have evolved four priorities or "drives," according to HBS professor emeritus Paul R. Lawrence: the drive to acquire, to defend, to bond, and to comprehend. In an excerpt from his new book, Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership, Lawrence describes how the four drives impact globalization. Read More

How to Speed Up Energy Innovation

We know the grand challenge posed by shifting away from dirty energy sources. The good news, says Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson, is that we have seen such change before in fields including agriculture and biotech, giving us a clearer pathway to what it will take. Read More

Modern Indian Art: The Birth of a Market

Before 1995, there was little market for twentieth-century Indian fine art. That's when artists, auction houses, critics, and others defined a new product category—modern Indian fine art—resulting in worldwide demand and soaring prices. Professor Mukti Khaire explains the dynamics behind new market categories. Read More

Foreign Entry and the Mexican Banking System, 1997-2007

What are the effects of foreign bank entry in developing economies? In recent years, governments around the world have been opening up their banking systems to foreign competition. In Mexico, for example, the market share of foreign ownership of banks increased fivefold between 1997 and 2007. In this paper, Stanford professor Stephen Haber and HBS professor Aldo Musacchio describe their detailed study of the impact of foreign entry in Mexico during that period. Overall, results suggest that while foreign entry in Mexico is associated with greater stability of the banking system, it has not increased the availability of credit, and foreign entry is not a solution to a property rights environment that makes contract enforcement costly. Read More

From Russia with Love: The Impact of Relocated Firms on Incumbent Survival

The relocation of the machine tool industry from the Soviet-occupied zone of postwar Germany to western regions is a unique laboratory for studying the impact of industrial structures on incumbent survival. Typically, geographic agglomerations of similar firms offer benefits to each member firm by reducing the transportation costs for material goods, specialized workers, and industry knowledge among the firms. Of course, tight geographic concentration comes with countervailing costs as firms compete for local inputs. In this paper, HBS professor William R. Kerr and coauthors study the impact of increased local concentration on incumbent firms by considering postwar Germany, when the fear of expropriation (or worse) in the wake of World War II prompted many machine tool firm owners to flee to western Germany, where they reestablished their firms. Read More

The Empire Struck Back: The Mexican Oil Expropriation of 1938 Reconsidered

The Mexican petroleum expropriation of 1938 looms large as the beginning of Latin American resource nationalism and the apogee of America's "Good Neighbor" policy. In Mexico, the expropriation is viewed as a patriotic triumph, in which the federal government seized control of the country's most valuable natural resource. In the U.S., the temperate reaction of the Roosevelt Administration is seen as the decisive break with Washington's imperial relationship towards Latin America. Washington "curbed its finance capital," it is said, and downgraded the protection of American overseas private investments. In this paper, HBS professor Noel Maurer explains how the actual historical record diverges substantially from the accepted view. Read More

What Brazil Teaches About Investor Protection

When Brazil entered the 20th century, its companies were a model of transparency and offered investor protections that government did not. Can our financial regulators learn a lesson from history? HBS professor Aldo Musacchio shares insights from his new book. Read More

The Great Leap Forward: The Political Economy of Education in Brazil, 1889-1930

In 1890, with only 15 percent of the population literate, Brazil had the lowest literacy rate among the large economies in the Americas. Yet between 1890 and 1940, Brazil had the most rapid increase in literacy rates in the Americas, catching up with and even surpassing some of its more educated peers such as Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. This jump in literacy was simultaneously accompanied by a brisk increase in the number of teachers, number of public schools, and enrollment rates. Why were political elites in Brazil willing to finance this expansion of public education for all? André Martínez-Fritscher of Banco de México, Aldo Musacchio of HBS, and Martina Viarengo of the London School of Economics explain how state governments secured funds to pay for education and examine the incentives of politicians to spend on education. They conclude that the progress made in education during these decades had mixed results in the long run. Read More

The History of Beauty

Fragrance, eyeliner, toothpaste—the beauty business has permeated our lives like few other industries. But surprisingly little is known about its history, which over time has been shrouded in competitive secrecy. HBS history professor Geoffrey Jones offers one of the first authoritative accounts in Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry. Read More

Multinational Strategies and Developing Countries in Historical Perspective

HBS professor Geoffrey Jones offers a historical analysis of the strategies of multinationals from developed countries in developing countries. His central argument, that strategies were shaped by the trade-off between opportunity and risk, highlights how three broad environmental factors determined the trade-off. The first was the prevailing political economy, including the policies of both host and home governments, and the international legal framework. The second was the market and resources of the host country. The third was competition from local firms. Jones explores the impact of these factors on corporate strategies during the three eras in the modern history of globalization from the nineteenth century until the present day. He argues that the performance of specific multinationals depended on the extent to which their internal capabilities enabled them to respond to these external opportunities and threats. The paper highlights in particular the changing nature of political risk faced by multinationals. The era of expropriation has, for the moment, largely passed, but multinationals now experience new kinds of policy risk, and new forms of home country political risk also, such as the Alien Tort Claims Act in the United States. Read More

Ruthlessly Realistic: How CEOs Must Overcome Denial

Even the best leaders can be in denial—about trouble inside the organization, about onrushing competitors, about changing consumer behavior. Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow looks at history and discusses how executives can acknowledge and deal with reality. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

The End of Chimerica

For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a unique geoeconomic constellation that the authors call "Chimerica": a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with U.S. overconsumption on the basis of a financial marriage between the world's sole superpower and its most likely future rival. For China, the key attraction of the relationship was its potential to propel the Chinese economy forward by means of export-led growth. For the United States, Chimerica meant being able to consume more, save less, and still maintain low interest rates and a stable rate of investment. Yet, like many another marriage between a saver and a spender, Chimerica was not destined to last. In this paper, economic historians Niall Ferguson of HBS and Moritz Schularick of Freie Universität Berlin consider the problem of global imbalances and try to set events in a longer-term perspective. Read More

Can Entrepreneurs Drive People Movers to Success?

Call them next-generation driverless taxis or people movers, the age of personal rapid transport is just around the bend. Could PRT change the face of public transportation in cities and smaller communities? HBS professor Benjamin G. Edelman weighs the benefits and opportunities for entrepreneurs and for society. "Right now, the field is wide open," he says. Read More

India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005

Between 1986 and 2005, Indian growth put to rest the concern that there was something about the "nature of India" that made rapid growth difficult. Following broad-ranging reforms in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, the state deregulated entry, both domestic and foreign, in many industries, and also hugely reduced barriers to trade. Laura Alfaro of Harvard Business School and Anusha Chari of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyze the evolution of India's industrial structure at the firm level following the reforms. Despite the substantial increase in the number of private and foreign firms, the overall pattern that emerges is one of continued incumbent dominance in terms of assets, sales, and profits in both state-owned and traditional private firms. Read More

The Times Captures History of American Business

"We are not the first to face what seem like overwhelming challenges," says HBS professor and business historian Nancy F. Koehn. A new volume edited and narrated by Koehn, The Story of American Business: From the Pages of The New York Times, presents more than a hundred timely articles from the 1850s to today. Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Endowments, Fiscal Federalism, and the Cost of Capital for States: Evidence from Brazil, 1891-1930

Do endowments matter in determining the cost of capital for a country or state? Endowments, according to Banco de México's André C. Martínez Fritscher and HBS professor Aldo Musacchio, are the conditions that determine what kind of commodities can be produced and exported in a determined geographical region. Studying the determinants of the risk premium of the bonds issued by Brazilian states between 1891 and 1930—a period of extreme decentralization of fiscal revenues and expenditures in Brazil—the researchers find that risk premia are highly correlated with state public revenue per capita. Because these revenues came, to a large extent, from the taxes states levied on commodity exports, the researchers argue that endowments mattered to determine the cost of capital for states. Read More

Come Fly with Me: A History of Airline Leadership

A new book looks at the history of the U.S. aviation industry through the eyes of its entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders—men like Pan Am's Juan Trippe and Southwest Airlines' Herb Kelleher—each emerging at different stages of the industry's evolution from start-up to rebirth. Who comes next? An interview with coauthor Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

Buy Local? The Geography of Successful and Unsuccessful Venture Capital Expansion

From Silicon Valley to Herzliya, Israel, venture capital firms are concentrated in very few locations. More than half of the 1,000 venture capital offices listed in Pratt's Guide to Private Equity and Venture Capital Sources are located in just three metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Boston, and New York. More than 49 percent of the U.S.-based companies financed by venture capital firms are located in these three cities. This paper examines the location decisions of venture capital firms and the impact that venture capital firm geography has on investments and outcomes. Findings are informative both to researchers in economic geography and to policymakers who seek to attract venture capital. Read More

Business Summit: Historical Roots of Globalization

In this breakout session, panelists shared insights, informed by history, of the convergence that globalization promotes. Read More

“Too Big To Fail”: Reining In Large Financial Firms

Four little words have cost U.S. taxpayers dearly in government bailouts of once-mighty Wall Street firms. Congress can put an end to such costly rescues, says HBS professor David A. Moss, and the Federal Reserve could be a super regulator, adds senior lecturer Robert C. Pozen. But will Congress enact the regulatory cure that is required? From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

GM: What Went Wrong and What’s Next

For decades, General Motors reigned as the king of automakers. What went wrong? We asked HBS faculty to reflect on the wrong turns and missed opportunities of the former industry leader, and to suggest ideas for recovery. Read More

The Return of the Salesman

Salesmen have received a bad rap over the years, but increasingly the profession is drawing scholarly interest. Business History Review coeditor Walter A. Friedman discusses the publication's recent themed issue on salesmanship. Read More

Business Summit: Niall Ferguson and the Certainty of Uncertainty

The economic crisis should not have been unexpected, says professor Niall Ferguson. Business leaders should consider history when developing their strategies, plans, and models, and should keep in mind that outlier events occur. Read More

Business Summit: Introduction to the Future of Market Capitalism

Professor Joseph L. Bower discusses a two-year research project exploring the views of global business leaders and HBS faculty on what might threaten the world's economic progress. Read More

Kind of Blue: Pushing Boundaries with Miles Davis

Since it hit the airwaves half a century ago, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis has influenced the hearts and minds of jazz fans everywhere. Its songs became instant classics, and it has also converted many a nonfan to appreciate the music's subtlety and complexity. In a new business case, HBS professor Robert D. Austin and Carl Størmer highlight the takeaways for thoughtful managers and executives from this story of creation and innovation. Read More

The Contingent Nature of Public Policy and Growth Strategies in the Early Twentieth-Century U.S. Banking Industry

The effects of public policy on organizations and economic activities have been widely observed. This line of research has contributed to organizational theory by showing the importance of state action for constructing economic systems, as well as firm structures and strategies. But there are a number of reasons why this perspective may in fact overemphasize the importance of public policy. This working paper, forthcoming as an article in the Academy of Management Journal, more fully investigates the contingent nature of the effects of policy on organizations, with the orienting premise that policy is just one of the external conditions that organizations face, and policy effects are more or less powerful to the extent that they are interactive with other elements of the environment. Specifically, the authors focus on how policy that regulated bank branching and other environmental factors affected—independently as well as interactively—the emergence and growth of large-scale firms in U.S. commercial banking from 1896 to 1978. Read More

Creative Entrepreneurship in a Downturn

Entrepreneurs, take heart. True, the global economic malaise removes opportunities and precious resources—but also adds them in new and interesting ways, argues HBS senior lecturer Bhaskar Chakravorti. In this Q&A he identifies reasons for optimism, and shows how entrepreneurs can think differently about bad news. Read More

Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?

To the extent that history is discussed at all in economic development, it is usually either the divergence associated with the Industrial Revolution or the effects of colonial regimes. Is it possible that precolonial, preindustrial history also matters significantly for today's national economic development? The authors find that technology adoption circa 1500 A.D., prior to the era of colonization and extensive European contacts, predicts approximately 50 percent of cross-country differences in both current per capita income and technology in a large cross-section of countries. When exploring the causes of this extreme persistence in technology, they find evidence in favor of the importance of the effect of current adoption on subsequent adoption as the main driver. This leaves a limited role to country-specific factors such as institutions, geography, or genes to explain the persistence of technology. Read More

The Cost of Property Rights: Establishing Institutions on the Philippine Frontier Under American Rule, 1898-1918

Economists generally agree that a system of transparent and secure property rights is beneficial for growth and development. A large literature emphasizes the role of property rights in spurring long-term investments, improving productivity, changing labor allocations, and increasing access to formal sources of credit. This paper describes U.S. attempts to implement property rights reforms in the Philippines in the early twentieth century. Iyer and Maurer document that, two decades after the arrival of the Americans, property rights in the Philippines had become unambiguously less secure, and that political and budgetary constraints played a large role in inhibiting the progress of reforms. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: History Matters

Business history is a rich source of knowledge and inspiration for today's executives. Do we pay enough attention to the past? Here are four Working Knowledge articles that provide lessons from history about leaders, leadership, and business organization. Read More

The Agglomeration of U.S. Ethnic Inventors

The higher concentration of immigrants in certain cities and occupations has long been noted. There has been very little theoretical or empirical work to date, however, on the particular agglomeration of U.S. immigrant scientists and engineers. This scarcity is disappointing given the scale of these ethnic contributions and the importance of innovation to regional economic growth. William R. Kerr's study contributes to our empirical understanding of agglomeration and innovation by documenting patterns in the city-level agglomeration of ethnic inventors (e.g., Chinese, Indian) within the United States from 1975 through 2007. It is hoped that the empirical platform developed in this study provides a foothold for furthering such analyses. Read More

The Inner Life of Leaders

"Even when leaders try to hide and disguise their character, their traits are recognizable to others," says HBS professor emeritus Abraham Zaleznik. His new book, Hedgehogs and Foxes: Character, Leadership, and Command in Organizations, explores the internal complexities of people in control. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Innovation Corrupted: How Managers Can Avoid Another Enron

The train wreck that was Enron provides key insights for improving corporate governance and financial incentives as well as organizational processes that strengthen ethical discipline, says HBS professor emeritus Malcolm S. Salter. His new book, Innovation Corrupted: The Origins and Legacy of Enron's Collapse, is a deep reflection on the present and future of business. Read More

Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China

While both China and Vietnam have experienced rapid annual growth over the past two decades, income inequality has risen more rapidly in China than in Vietnam during the same period. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent paths, as nearly every variable predicts higher inequality in Vietnam. This paper by Regina Abrami and colleagues focuses on differences in political institutions to explain these divergent paths. In so doing, it contributes to a growing body of literature describing variation in authoritarian regimes, but focuses on variation within one authoritarian regime type. Read More

Bank Accounting Standards in Mexico: A Layman’s Guide to Changes 10 Years after the 1995 Bank Crisis

Mexico was the first emerging market compelled to reformulate the financial reporting of its banks as a result of a financial crisis. In the last decade, Mexico has undergone a process of internationalization of its banking industry. Today, more than 80 percent of the equity of Mexican banks belongs to internationally active bank corporations. This internationalization demands more transparent regulation, including standardized accounting rules and better disclosure of information. The case of Mexico can therefore serve as an example of the relevance of these changes, as well as of their scope and limitations. This paper attempts to clarify the nature and structure of the new accounting standards, and explains how they have affected financial statements and their interpretation. Read More

The Matchmaker of the Modern Economy

In the wake of World War II, Georges Doriot helped found the world's first public venture capital firm, American Research and Development. Doriot (1899–1987) was also a professor at Harvard Business School for 40 years. Our book excerpt from Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital (HBS Press) describes how ARD first came to "marry" investors and innovators. Read More

The Lessons of Business History: A Handbook

Compiling a handbook on the current thinking in any area of study seems daunting enough, but the just-published Oxford Handbook of Business History carries an even larger mission: bring the lessons of business history to current research in other disciplines and to the practice of business management itself. A Q&A with coeditor Geoffrey Jones. Read More

Colonial Land Tenure, Electoral Competition and Public Goods in India

How is the impact of historical institutions felt today? This comparative analysis by Banerjee and Iyer highlights the impact of a specific historical institution on long-term development, specifically the land tenure systems instituted during British colonial rule. The paper compares the long-term development outcomes between areas where controls rights in land were historically given to a few landlords and areas where such rights were more broadly distributed. The paper also documents the impact of these differing historical institutions on political participation and electoral competition in the post-colonial period. Read More

Do Legal Origins Have Persistent Effects Over Time? A Look at Law and Finance around the World c. 1900

A significant number of recent papers find legal origins to be strongly correlated with current indices of rule of law, financial development, the regulation of entry and labor, and the concentration of ownership, among other things. Few studies, however, have explored whether correlations between institutions and economic and financial outcomes hold in the past. For this reason, we cannot be certain that the alleged persistence of the effects of these institutions passes the scrutiny of history. This paper examines specifically the relationship between legal origins and financial development by analyzing countries' legal traditions and the extent of investor protections and financial development over time. Read More

Laws vs. Contracts: Legal Origins, Shareholder Protections, and Ownership Concentration in Brazil, 1890-1950

The early development of large multidivisional corporations in Latin America required much more than capable managers, new technologies, and large markets. Behind such corporations was a market for capital in which entrepreneurs had to attract investors to buy either debt or equity. This paper examines the investor protections included in corporate bylaws that enabled corporations in Brazil to attract investors in large numbers, thus generating a relatively low concentration of ownership and control in large firms before 1910. The case of Brazil is particularly interesting because, in Latin America before World War I, it boasted the second-largest equity market and largest number of traded companies. As HBS professor Aldo Musacchio shows, the considerable variation of investor protections over time at the country level, and even at the company level, urges cautions against notions about the persistency of institutions, especially of legal traditions. Read More

HBS Cases: Beauty Entrepreneur Madam Walker

She may have been the first self-made African American millionaire. Born of emancipated slaves, Madam C.J. Walker traveled from the cotton fields to business fame as a purveyor of hair-care products that offered beauty and dignity. Harvard Business School's Nancy F. Koehn and Katherine Miller explain what motivated her triumph. Read More

Remembering Alfred Chandler

Alfred D. Chandler Jr., who died in May, defined the field of business history and shaped the way we think about the modern corporation. Harvard Business School colleagues share their thoughts on his legacy as well as their personal reminiscences. Read More

Rediscovering Schumpeter: The Power of Capitalism

Economist Joseph Schumpeter was perhaps the most powerful thinker ever on innovation, entrepreneurship, and capitalism. He was also one of the most unusual personalities of the 20th century, as Harvard Business School professor emeritus Thomas K. McCraw shows in a new biography. Read our interview and book excerpt. Read More

Capital Rules: The Tensions of Global Finance

With the start of the new decade, most global financial powers are rethinking a previously powerful trend toward liberalizing global finance. In his new book Capital Rules, Professor Rawi Abdelal charts the intellectual, legal, and political history of financial globalization, and the tensions facing today's world economy. Read an excerpt. Read More

Dividends from Schumpeter’s Noble Failure

Before influential Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote the seminal Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, there came the difficult-to-digest Business Cycles. Although the book was a failure, professor Thomas K. McCraw, who has written a forthcoming Schumpeter biography, believes Business Cycles developed Schumpeter's thinking on capitalism and ultimately changed the practice of business history. Excerpted from Business History Review. Read More

Who Rises to Power in American Business?

Business leaders in the United States have usually been white men who were blessed with the right religion, family, or education. But "outsiders" have also created their own paths to leadership, a trend on the rise today. Paths to Power is the first book in fifty years to exhaustively analyze the demographics of leadership and access in business in the U.S., and how the face of American leadership might be changing. A Q&A with Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

Banking Deregulation, Financing Constraints and Entrepreneurship

What effect does an increase in banking competition have on the entry of start-ups? In particular, does an increase in banking competition have a differential effect on the entry of start-ups relative to the opening of new establishments by existing firms? The U.S. branch banking deregulations provide a useful laboratory for studying how banking competition affects small businesses. Prior to 1970, all but twelve states had stringent restrictions on the ability of banks to open new branches or to acquire the branches of other banks within the state; beginning in the 1970s and until 1994, all but two states removed these restrictions. In this research, Kerr and Nanda studied the entry of newly incorporated businesses between 1976 and 1999 using detailed data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Their findings matter for understanding how reforms that affect the financing environment may improve the real economy through the reallocation of resources in the non-financial sectors. Read More

The History and Influence of Andy Grove

In a soon-to-be-released biography, Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow profiles one of the most influential business leaders of our time—Intel's Andy Grove. Tedlow discusses his research on the Silicon Valley legend and how Grove altered much more than the chip industry. Read More

Cartels and Competition: Neither Markets nor Hierarchies

Before 1945, many thinkers believed cartels brought widespread benefits. But following the spread of antitrust ideas after 1945, Adam Smith's verdict on cartels as "conspiracies against the public" prevailed. The cartel question highlights important issues about the benefits and risks of competition. This working paper maintains that, for better or worse, cartels have shaped economic and business history since the late nineteenth century. Big business must recognize how, up until the 1980s, the activities and influence of cartels affected technological development, corporate strategy, and organizational change. Read More

How Europe Wrote the Rules of Global Finance

Following decades of liberalization, controls on cross-border capital movements are again being discussed by financial institutions, governments, and policymakers around the globe. Professor Rawi Abdelal discusses implications and the historical roles of Europe and the United States in promoting the flow of capital across national borders. Read More

Corporate Governance and Networks: Bankers in the Corporate Networks of Brazil, Mexico, and the United States circa 1910

Brazil today looks like a typical case in which business groups and close relations between companies and banks play an important role to overcome information and monitoring problems. This was not always the case. To study how the development of financial markets can change the interaction between banks and corporations, Musacchio compared the importance of interlocking boards of directors between corporations and banks in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. This paper and previous research support Musacchio's hypothesis that financial markets in Brazil were sustained by an institutional framework that protected investors, enforced credit contracts, and promoted regular financial disclosure of company accounts. The development of bond and stock markets, and the relatively good corporate governance practices in Brazil before 1930, made connections with bankers less necessary. Read More

Managing Governments: Unilever in India and Turkey, 1950–1980

During the postwar decades, consumer-products giant Unilever survived and even thrived in developing countries such as India and Turkey even as business conditions discouraged or drove away peer companies. Why? At least five factors explain Unilever's ability and willingness to persist in such developing countries. These factors may also explain why foreign direct investment shrank to low levels in these countries, and has remained low. Read More

Entrepreneurship and Business History: Renewing the Research Agenda

This paper identifies major opportunities to raise entrepreneurship as a central research issue in business history and to build on the strong roots that are already in place in that discipline. Historical research on entrepreneurship began in the 1940s and 1950s, much of it at Harvard Business School, but then lost momentum. Nevertheless the paper shows the major achievements in exploring how context shaped the structure of entrepreneurship, and identifying the wide variation in organizational form and entrepreneurial behavior. It concludes with the main contributions of business history to the study of entrepreneurship, and proposes a renewed research agenda. Read More

Political Turmoil and Mexico’s Economy

Professor Noel Maurer's historical research into Mexico and other countries with unstable governments shows that their economies perform better than might be expected. Why? Read More

Globalizing the Beauty Business Before 1980

Even six-month-old infants may understand what makes faces "attractive," regardless of ethnicity, but adults vary considerably in how they present themselves through clothes, hairstyles, and physical appearance. Studying the period from 1945 to 1980, this paper examines the drivers of the globalization of beauty; the strategies that firms employed to overcome challenges to globalization; and the outcomes, including the level to which globalization has brought about a homogenization of beauty ideals and practices. Read More

Nationality and Multinationals in Historical Perspective

Many people believe that globalization has caused companies to lose their national identity. This study traces the history of corporations and nationality and finds that multinational companies have always had ambiguities, particularly before World War I. National subsidiaries became stronger in the twentieth century, and companies like Ford, for example, would feel very American in the United States, but have a more local identity in another part of the world. In the twenty-first century, globalization has caused a reemergence of issues concerning corporate nationality. However, this research shows that in many ways corporate affiliation with a country may matter more than ever. Read More

What Roosevelt Took: The Economic Impact of the Panama Canal, 1903-29

The Panama Canal was expected to bring great economic benefits to the people of Panama. Instead, the United States received most of the benefits. This was a deliberate act on the part of the U.S. The U.S. didn't allow Panamanian businesses to sell goods or services in the Canal Zone, it avoided the employment of Panamanian workers, and it used its military leverage to force Panama into accepting a low payment for the Canal territory. Read More

Bankers, Industrialists, and Their Cliques: Elite Networks in Mexico and Brazil During Early Industrialization

Mexico and Brazil had different institutional structures in the early 20th century. Did entrepreneurs in these two countries organize their business networks differently to deal with the different institutional settings? And, how can we compare the impact of the institutional structure of Mexico and Brazil on the networks of entrepreneurial finance and entrepreneurship in general? In this research, Musacchio and Read look at the networks of interlocking boards of directors of major joint stock companies in two large Latin American societies in 1909. Read More

Schumpeter’s Plea: Rediscovering History and Relevance in the Study of Entrepreneurship

Academic studies of entrepreneurship have focused on people and firms but ignored the context of history. The result is an over-reliance in the experiences of high-tech start-ups in the U.S., leading to generalizations using empirical evidence from an exceptional and atypical industry and location. Economist Joseph Schumpeter believed the study of entrepreneurial behavior made little sense without the equal study of the broader industrial, social, and economic setting in which they operated. An exchange between historical and social scientific approaches will yield far richer understanding. Read More

Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist?

Adam Smith is best known for The Wealth of Nations, but professor Nava Ashraf believes another of his works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, presaged contemporary behavioral economics. Read More

Unilever: Transformation and Tradition

In a new book, professor Geoffrey Jones looks at Unilever's decades-old transformation from fragmented underperformer to focused consumer products giant. This epilogue summarizes the years 1960 to 1990. Read More

The Truck Driver Who Reinvented Shipping

Malcolm P. McLean (1914-2001) hit on an idea to dramatically reduce labor and dock servicing time. An excerpt from In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century by Harvard Business School's Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria. Read More

Restoring a Global Economy, 1950–1980

In his recent book Multinationals and Global Capitalism, professor Geoffrey Jones dissects the influence of multinationals on the world economy. This excerpt recalls the rebuilding of the global economy following World War II. Read More

Germany’s Pioneering Corporate Managers

Professor Jeffrey Fear's new book Organizing Control takes a fresh look at corporate management innovations created by German companies and managers over the last two centuries. A Q&A with the author. Read More

New Learning at American Home Products

In Alfred D. Chandler Jr's new history of the modern chemical and pharma industries, American Home Products follows a singular path to success. An excerpt from Shaping the Industrial Century. Read More

Bringing History into International Business

International Business scholars often talk about history, but rarely take it seriously. The first generation of International Business scholars placed a high priority on evolutionary and historical perspectives and methodology, but little work these days grapples with the history of International Business or uses historical data to explore an issue. Jones and Khanna discuss new avenues for researching business groups in history and in contemporary emerging markets, resource-based and path-dependent theories of the firm, and foreign direct investment and development over time. Read More

The Watsons: IBM’s Troubled Legacy

For over seventy years, Thomas Watson Sr. and Thomas Watson Jr. shaped and built IBM. In a new book, Professor Richard Tedlow explores the complex relationship between father and son. Read More

Business History around the World

One way to understand management trends and ideas today is to look at yesterday. HBS entrepreneurship professor Geoffrey G. Jones and co-editor Franco Amatori have done just that with their new book, Business History around the World. Read More

Birth of the American Salesman

Modern sales management is a uniquely American story, says Harvard Business School's Walter A. Friedman, author of Birth of a Salesman. PLUS: Book excerpt. Read More

What Great American Leaders Teach Us

A new database on great American leaders offers surprising insights on the nature of leadership. A Q&A with Tony Mayo, executive director of the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative. Read More

Gaps in the Historical Record: Development of the Electronics Industry

There is plenty of history to be written about the birth of consumer electronics and the computer, says HBS professor emeritus Alfred D. Chandler Jr. Read More

Shackleton: An Entrepreneur of Survival

Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is the subject of a new HBS case study. Professor Nancy F. Koehn discusses lessons for leaders from the voyage of the Endurance. Read More

Historically Speaking: A Roundtable at HBS

Harvard Business School faculty Richard S. Tedlow, Alfred D. Chandler, Nancy F. Koehn, and Debora L. Spar discuss the different research paths they took leading to their most recent publications. Read More

XTV: Xerox’s Attempted Recovery From “Fumbling the Future”

Following failures to capitalize on its own innovation, Xerox formed Xerox Technology Ventures to look for spin-off opportunities. Professor Henry Chesbrough outlines the history of XTV in this Business History Review excerpt. Read More

Setting the Stage: A Young Scholar at HBS

Rohit Daniel Wadhwani, the Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History for the 2002-03 academic year, discusses his research work and his experiences as a Fellow at Harvard Business School in this interview with Laura Linard. Read More

Unilever—A Case Study

As one of the oldest and largest foreign multinationals doing business in the U.S., the history of Unilever's investment in the United States offers a unique opportunity to understand the significant problems encountered by foreign firms. Harvard Business School professor Geoffrey Jones has done extensive research on Unilever, based on full access to restricted corporate records. This recent article from Business History Review is the first publication resulting from that research. Read More

Enterprising Women—a History

In conjunction with the major exhibit "Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business," the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study recently presented a two-day program entitled Women, Money and Power. Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn participated in the conference's opening panel—an informal discussion and reflection on the exhibit and its major themes. Read More

The Role of Government When All Else Fails

A new book by Harvard Business School professor David A. Moss explores government's under-appreciated role as risk manager in everything from disaster relief to Social Security. How did this role evolve into something today that touches on almost every aspect of economic life? Read More

How Business Strategy Tamed the “Invisible Hand”

Theories of competition and strategic planning are essential ingredients in running a global business. In this excerpt from Business History Review, HBS professor Pankaj Ghemawat outlines their development. Read More

Alfred Chandler on the Electronic Century

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. examines the development of two pivotal industries in post-World War II America—the consumer electronics and computer industries. Read More

How the Giants of Enterprise Seized the Future

What do great innovators of the past have in common? "They live in the future," according to HBS professor and business historian Richard S. Tedlow. In this essay, Tedlow describes tactics of master innovators including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Charles Revson, and finds key lessons for executives today. Read More

Sam Walton: Great From the Start

Sam Walton’s retailing career began September 1, 1945, in Newport, Arkansas. He paid a princely $25,000 to Butler Brothers to franchise a 5,000-square-foot Ben Franklin’s variety store. In this excerpt from Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Innovators and the Empires They Built, author and HBS professor Richard S. Tedlow depicts the huge success Walton made of his first store—against all odds. The book is scheduled for publication later this year by HarperBusiness. Excerpted with permission of the author. Read More

George C. Lodge

Whether the subject is Third-World development or national competitiveness, George Lodge, Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, has exercised his talent for seeing the big picture in a prolific outpouring of books, cases, and articles. Read More

Merchants to Multinationals: British Trading Companies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

It was a business world defined by globalization and growing interdependency. But it's not international trade circa 2000. As HBS professor Geoffrey Jones points out, the "global economy" first emerged in the 1870s. Read More

The Dynamics of Standing Still: Firestone Tire & Rubber and the Radial Revolution

In the late 1960s, Firestone was perhaps the best managed company in its industry. But when Michelin introduced the radial tire and shook up the U.S. market, writes HBS professor Donald Sull, Firestone's historical success proved its own worst enemy. Read More

Building a Powerful Prestige Brand

Leveraging ambition, customer input, intuition, and a keen commercial imagination, a daughter of immigrant shopkeepers created a leader in the global prestige cosmetics market. HBS professor Nancy Koehn examines the genius of Estée Lauder. Read More

Cable TV: From Community Antennas to Wired Cities

The cable television industry has long outgrown its roots as a source of better TV reception to achieve its present place as a key player in the emerging telecommunications infrastructure. That change, writes HBS Professor Thomas R. Eisenmann in Business History Review, amid different managerial respondes to the twin—and sometimes competing—objectives of stabilty and growth. In this excerpt, Eisenmann looks at the formative years of the industry, from 1948 to 1975. Read More

Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century

H.J. Heinz founder Henry Heinz developed sophisticated brand-building strategies without the advantages of modern economic analytic technique, data and theory. HBS Professor Nancy F. Koehn shows how in this excerpt from her Business History Review article "Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century." Read More

John H. Patterson and the Sales Strategy of the National Cash Register Company, 1884 to 1922

John H. Patterson's sales management techniques built National Cash Register into the dominant force in its industry and had a major impact on the development of modern selling. This excerpt from Business History Review looks at one aspect of the Patterson method. Read More

It Came in the First Ships: Capitalism in America

The Virginians in Jamestown, the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay, the Quakers in Pennsylvania and other early settlers of what later became the United States all brought with them elements of capitalism, precursors of the future nation's market-driven direction. In this excerpt from his article "American Capitalism" in Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions, HBS Professor Thomas K. McCraw looks at the early years of capitalism on the North American continent. Read More

The Intellectual Underpinnings of Entrepreneurial Management

The term entrepreneur — literally, "undertaker"—has been around for over two centuries, but attempts to define it have remained elusive. In this excerpt from their article "Entrepreneurial Management: In Pursuit of Opportunity," HBS Professors Howard H. Stevenson and Teresa M. Amabile look back at the roots of entrepreneneurship as an academic field of interest and ahead to what they believe will be "the entrepreneur's century." Read More