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May 14, 2007

HBS Business Historian Al Chandler Passes Away

From HBS Working Knowledge:

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard Business School historian who founded the field of business history, died on Wednesday, May 9, at Youville Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., at the age of 88. In his long and legendary career, he chronicled and analyzed big businesses around the globe in a prolific and extraordinarily influential corpus of books and articles. At the time of his death, he was the School’s Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Emeritus.

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Photo credit: Stuart Cahill, courtesy of HBS

He concluded that successful industrial corporations intelligently harnessed and exploited these forces and made the transition from entrepreneurial enterprises to multidivisional, vertically integrated companies. In essence, the creation and development of modern managerial capitalism was the driver of American business success. “What counts are people – their skills, knowledge and experience,” he said.

Read the rest here

On a personal note, once I had the privilege of assisting Professor Chandler to do some research once on electronic industry companies when I worked at Baker Library in the 1990's.

In using Business Periodicals Index, F & S Index, and ABI/Inform, we found that the US led the way in electronics manufacturing. As he suggested though, the Dutch and other companies in Japan and Korea as well as others across the globe overtook the US in the 1960's and they were sold to those multinational companies, such as Phillips. It was very interesting indeed. It led to this work: Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industry,

which focused on the fall of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and the rise of Sony and Matsushita, as Japan conquered the worldwide consumer electronics market.

We shall miss him in the academic business world.

Posted by Becky at May 14, 2007 11:25 AM Posted to Becky's Blurbs | Business School News | Leadership Thought | Perspectives