Business History: Leadership History

12 Results

 

Building Histories of Emerging Economies One Interview at a Time

Much of modern business history has been written on experiences in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Now, the unheard stories of emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are being told on a new website by the Business History Initiative. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

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.

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

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.

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. Closed 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. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

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

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

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

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

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

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