Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-dtbwl Total loading time: 0.432 Render date: 2022-12-08T02:43:19.220Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Business History: Time for Debate

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2011

Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


Image of the first page of this content. For PDF version, please use the ‘Save PDF’ preceeding this image.'
Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College 2011


1 BHR is available through Cambridge Journals Online:

2 The five-year impact factor for BHR (2009) is 0.64, a score similar to that of other journals in the field. The same figure for the Quarterly Journal of Economics is 8.17; and for Academy of Management Journal is 9.26. Some of the discrepancy is due to the different sizes of the membership of these fields. But some of the reasons for the low business history scores stem from a lack of cross-disciplinary appeal.

3 Alfred D. Chandler's concept of ’strategy and structure,” which arose from detailed observations of DuPont, General Motors, Sears, and Standard Oil, is one example; see Chandler, Alfred D. Jr., Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of American Industrial Enterprise (Cambridge, Mass., 1962)Google Scholar. Similarly, Mira Wilkins's conceptualization of the stages of multinational enterprise grew out of her careful research on individual firms. See Wilkins, Mira, The Emergence of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from the Colonial Era to 1914 (Cambridge, Mass., 1970)Google Scholar, and The Maturing of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from 1914 to 1970 (Cambridge, Mass., 1974).Google Scholar

4 For instance, business scholar Howard Stevenson developed the concept of ’entrepreneurial management;” and economist William Baumol made the distinction between ’productive” and ’unproductive” entrepreneurship. See Stevenson, Howard H. and Amabile, Teresa M., ’Entrepreneurial Management: In Pursuit of Opportunity,” in The Intellectual Venture Capitalist: John H. McArthur and the Work of the Harvard Business School, 1980– 1995, ed. McCraw, Thomas K. and Cruikshank, Jeffrey L. (Boston, 1999)Google Scholar; and Baumol, William, ’Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive and Destructive,” Journal of Political Economy 98, no. 3 (1990): 893921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

5 Landes, David S., Mokyr, Joel, and Baumol, William J., eds., The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times (Princeton, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 See Lamoreaux, Naomi R., ’Entrepreneurship, Business Organization, and Economic Concentration,” Cambridge Economic History of the United States, vol. 2 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hilt, Eric with O'Banion, Katharine E., ’The Limited Partnership in New York, 1822–1858: Partnerships without Kinship,” Journal of Economic History 69, no. 3 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; GómezGalvarriato, Aurora, ’Networks and Entrepreneurship: The Modernization of the Textile Business in Porfirian Mexico,” Business History Review 82 (Autumn 2008)Google Scholar; and Jones, Geoffrey, Merchants to Multinationals (Oxford, 2000)Google Scholar. Entrepreneurship can be investigated not only in individual firms, but also collectively. On this, see Cottereau, Alain, ’The Fate of Collective Manufactures in the Industrial World: The Silk Industries of Lyons and London, 1800–1850,” in World of Possibilities: Flexibility and Mass Production in Western Industrialization, ed. Zeitlin, Jonathan and Sabel, Charles (Cambridge, U.K., 2007).Google Scholar

7 See Graham, Margaret B. W., ’Technology and Innovation,” in The Oxford Handbook of Business History, ed. Jones, Geoffrey and Zeitlin, Jonathan (Oxford, 2008).Google Scholar

8 See Zeitlin, and Sabel, , eds., World of Possibilities; and Okazaki, Tetsuji, ed., Production Organizations in Japanese Economic Development (London, 2007)Google Scholar. On the beginnings of a theory of innovation, see McCraw, Thomas K., Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Cambridge, Mass., 2007)Google Scholar. On Silicon Valley, see Christophe Lecuyer, Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2006). See also Thomson's, RossStructures of Change in the Mechanical Age: Technological Innovation in the United States, 1790–1865 (Baltimore, 2009).Google Scholar

9 See Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Sokoloff, Kenneth L., Financing Innovation in the United States, 1870 to Present (Cambridge, Mass., 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also John, Richard R., Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (Cambridge, Mass., 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, which emphasizes the role of state and local governments in shaping technological change; and Galvez-Behar, Gabriel, La république des inventeurs: Propriété et organisation de l'innovation en France, 1791–1922 (Rennes, 2008).Google Scholar

10 Moser, Petra, ’How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World Fairs,” American Economic Review 95 (Sept. 2005): 1215–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Do Patent Pools Encourage Innovation? Evidence from the Nineteenth Century Sewing Machine Industry,” Journal of Economic History 70 (Mar. 2010): 898920CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Kahn, Zorina, The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790–1920 (Cambridge, U.K., 2005).Google Scholar

11 Nicholas, Tom, ’The Role of Independent Invention in U.S. Technological Development, 1880–1930,” Journal of Economic History 70 (Mar. 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Nicholas, ’What Drives Innovation?” Antitrust Law Journal (forthcoming). See also Johns, Adrian, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (Chicago, 2011)Google Scholar; and on knowledge transfer, see Mayntz, Renate, Neidhardt, Friedhelm, Weingart, Peter, and Wengenroth, Ulrich, Wissensproduktion und Wissenstransfer: Wissen im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft, Politik und Öffentlichkeit (Bielefeld, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

12 Jones, Geoffrey, Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry (Oxford, 2010)Google Scholar; Hausman, William J., Hertner, Peter, and Wilkins, Mira, Global Electrification: Multinational Enterprise and International Finance in the History of Light and Power, 1878–2007 (Cambridge, U.K., 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lopes, Teresa da Silva, Global Brands: The Evolution of Multinationals in Alcoholic Beverages (Cambridge, U.K., 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; McKenna, Christopher, The World's Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, U.K., 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Freyer, Tony A., Antitrust and Global Capitalism, 1930–2004 (Cambridge, Mass., 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Friedman, Walter A., Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America (Cambridge, Mass., 2004).Google Scholar

13 Badel, Laurence, Diplomatie et grands contrats: L'Etat français et les marchés extérieurs au XXe siècle (Paris, 2011).Google Scholar

14 Business History Review published a special issue on women in the international service industries in Autumn 2007. See Angel Kwolek-Folland and Margaret Walsh, ’Women in the Service Industries: National Pespectives,” pp. 421–27.

15 See, in Business History Review: Rosen, Christine Meisner, ’Businessmen against Pollution in Late Nineteenth Century Chicago,” 69 (Autumn 1995): 351–91Google Scholar; Stradling, David and Tarr, Joel A., ’Environmental Activism, Locomotive Smoke, and the Corporate Response,” 73 (Winter 1999): 677704Google Scholar; Sluyterman, Keetie, ’Royal Dutch Shell: Company Strategies for Dealing with Environmental Issues,” 84 (Summer 2010): 203–26.Google Scholar

16 See, for instance, Uekoetter, Frank, The Age of Smoke: Environmental Policy in Germany and the United States, 1880–1970 (Pittsburgh, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Stradling, David and Desrochers, Pierre, ’How Did the Invisible Hand Handle Industrial Waste? By-product Development before the Modern Environmental Era,” Enterprise & Society 8 (June 2007): 348–74Google Scholar; and Thorsheim, Peter, Inventing Pollution: Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800 (Athens, Oh., 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

17 For an exception, see Musacchio, Aldo, Experiments in Financial Democracy: Corporate Governance and Financial Development in Brazil, 1882–1950 (Cambridge, U.K., 2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18 See, for instance, Amatori, Franco, Millward, Robert, and Toninelli, Pier Angelo, Reappraising State-Owned Enterprise: A Comparison of the UK and Italy (London, 2011)Google Scholar; and Toninelli, Pier Angelo, Galambos, Louis, Amatori, Franco, eds., The Rise and Fall of State-Owned Enterprise in the Western World (Cambridge, U.K., 2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

19 Business under the Nazi regime has been the focus of recent investigations, including the work of Tooze, Adam, Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (New York, 2008)Google Scholar, and Lund, Joachim, Working for the New Order: European Business under German Domination, 1933–1945 (Copenhagen, 2006)Google Scholar. For a broader discussion, see Kobrak, Christopher and Hansen, Per, eds., European Business, Dictatorship, and Political Risk, 1920–1945 (Oxford, U.K., 2004)Google Scholar. There is a growing literature on government–business relations in Latin America, including Bucheli, Marcelo, Bananas and Business: The United Fruit Company in Colombia, 1899–2000 (New York, 2005).Google Scholar

You have Access
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Business History: Time for Debate
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Business History: Time for Debate
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Business History: Time for Debate
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *