Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

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)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
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
    Read more

    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

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    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.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.