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The Struggle for Control of the Modern Corporation
Organizational Change at General Motors, 1924–1970

$44.99 (C)

Part of Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences

  • Date Published: December 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521677912

$ 44.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Drawing on primary historical material, The Struggle for Control of the Modern Corporation, provides a historical overview of decision making and political struggle within one of America's largest and most important corporations. Freeland examines the changes in the General Motors organization between the years 1924 and 1970. He takes issue with the well-known argument of business historian Alfred Chandler and economist Oliver Williamson, who contend that GM's multidivisional structure emerged and survived because it was more efficient than alternative forms of organization.

    • Combines meticulous archival business history with sophisticated critique of organizational theory
    • No other book offers a comparable account over such a long period of time of the organizational history of a major national asset of the force and quality of GM
    • Presents a new thesis and major challenge to accepted theoretical arguments on the 'multi-divisional form' of organizations
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Important" EH.NET

    "Undoubtedly, this is one of the most important books on organizations published over the last decade... I recommend this book not only to organizational sociologists but also to those interested in the larger issue of the social bases of human behavior." Mauro F. Guillen, American Journal of Sociology

    "Robert Freeland's The Struggle for Control of the Modern Corporation is an important historical contribution to our understanding of the modern corporation...Freeland's rigorous (dare I say zealous?) combination of social science theory with a thorough mastery of the archival record is an exceptional example of the fruits of interdiscplinary research." Enterprise & Society

    "I recommend this book not only to organizational sociologists but also to those interested in the larger issue of the social bases of human behavior." Mauro F. Guillen, American Journal of Sociology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521677912
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The modern corporation and the problem of order
    2. Creating corporate order: conflicting versions of decentralization at GM, 1921–33
    3. Administrative centralization of the M-Form, 1934–41
    4. Participative decentralization redefined: mobilizing for war production, 1941–5
    5. The split between finance and operations: postwar problems and organization structure, 1945–8
    6. Consent as an organization weapon: coalition politics and the destruction of cooperation, 1948–58
    7. Consent destroyed: the decline and fall of General Motors, 1958–80
    8. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Robert F. Freeland, Stanford University, California
    Robert F. Freeland is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He has published in the American Journal of Sociology and Business History Review, and is the recipient of the 1998 Social Science History Association's President's Book Prize for this book.

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