Family Capitalism: Wendels, Haniels, Falcks, and the Continental European Model

Family Capitalism: Wendels, Haniels, Falcks, and the Continental European Model

by Harold James

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Overview

This history of three powerful family firms located in different European countries takes place over a period of more than two hundred years. The interplay and the changing social and legal arrangements of the families shaped the development of a European capitalism quite different from the Anglo-American variety.

Qualifying claims by Alfred Chandler and David Landes that family firms tend to be dysfunctional, Harold James shows how and why these steel and engineering firms were successful over long periods of time. Indeed, he sees the family enterprise as particularly conducive to managing risk during periods of upheaval and uncertainty when both states and markets are disturbed. He also identifies the key roles played by women executives during such times.

In Family Capitalism, James tells how "iron masters" of a classical industrial cast were succeeded by new generations who wanted to shift to information-age systems technologies, and how families and firms wrestled with social and economic changes that occasionally tore them apart. Finally, the author shows how the trajectories of the firms were influenced by political, military, economic, and social events and how these firms illuminate a European model of "relationship capitalism."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674021815
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/31/2006
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Harold James is the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies and Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Table of Contents

Figures

Maps

Abbreviations

INTRODUCTION: THE FAMILIARITY OF CAPITALISM

PART I. THE AGE OF THE INDIVIDUAL

1. The Wendels and the French State

2. The Pioneer in German History

3. The Industrial Origins of the Falcks

PART II. THE AGE OF THE CORPORATION

4. The Gutehoffnungshütte as a Joint-Stock Company

5. French Companies in Two Countries

6. An Italian Joint-Stock Company

PART III. THE AGE OF ORGANIZATIONALISM

7. The Politician as Businessman

8. A Family Concern

9. Models of Italian Industrial Development

PART IV. THE AGE OF THE POSTWAR MIRACLE

10. A Costly Miracle in Italy

11. A New Kind of Family Togetherness

12. Postwar Reconstruction in France

PART V. THE AGE OF GLOBALIZATION

13. Wendel Becomes a Conglomerate, French Style

14. The Crisis of Italian Steel

15. German Diversification and Internationalization

16. Family Capitalism and the Exit from Steel

CONCLUSION: FAMILY ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Appendix: Family Trees

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

What People are Saying About This

Family Capitalism is an important contribution to an area of business history that holds particular fascination even for non-specialists, namely, family history. James's approach enables him to transcend the usual concentration on a single family and its enterprises and reflect on the general characteristics of family capitalism in Europe and its role in what has been, after all, one of the most important industries in European industrialization--steel.

Jeffrey Fear

In the beginning was the family firm. However, many theories of managerial capitalism have theorized the downfall of the family firm by focusing on its disadvantages. Yet families still own and control a significant proportion of even large, internationally-active corporations. By contrast, in Family Capitalism, Harold James highlights many of the strengths of family firms, particularly during periods of crisis or restructuring. At times, families offer a bedrock of trust, values, and long-term continuity. In Family Capitalism, James provides an excellent and insightful story of three major steel companies, de Wendel, Haniel, and Falck, reaching over two centuries. It contributes to the growing field of comparative history and manages to look at long-term continuities in European business development rather than confining the story to classic chronological breaks. The family firm is likely to maintain its significant presence well into the future.
Jeffrey Fear, Harvard Business School

Gerald D. Feldman

Family Capitalism is an important contribution to an area of business history that holds particular fascination even for non-specialists, namely, family history. James's approach enables him to transcend the usual concentration on a single family and its enterprises and reflect on the general characteristics of family capitalism in Europe and its role in what has been, after all, one of the most important industries in European industrialization--steel.
Gerald D. Feldman, University of California, Berkeley

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