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Chandler in a Larger Frame: Markets, Transaction Costs, and Organizational Form in History

Richard Langlois ()

Enterprise & Society, 2004, vol. 5, issue 3, 355-375

Abstract: In 1977, when Alfred D. Chandler's pathbreaking book The Visible Hand appeared, the large, vertically integrated, “Chandlerian†corporation had dominated the organizational landscape for nearly a century. In some interpretations, possibly including Chandler's own, The Visible Hand and subsequent works constitute a triumphalist account of the rise of that organizational form: the large, vertically integrated firm arose and prospered because of its inherent superiority, in all times and places, to more decentralized, market-oriented production arrangements. A quarter century later, however, the Chandlerian firm no longer dominates the landscape. It is under siege from a panoply of decentralized and market-like forms that often resemble some of the “inferior†nineteenth-century structures that the managerial enterprise had replaced.

Date: 2004
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