ISBN-10:
0691123152
ISBN-13:
9780691123158
Pub. Date:
03/27/2005
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism / Edition 1

Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism / Edition 1

by Charles Perrow
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Overview

"Organizing America is a magisterial work: a compelling analysis showing why those who study states and economies should take organizations seriously and those studying organizations should ponder how organizations have concentrated wealth and power. Perrow takes the study of organizations back to Weber's original vision, problematizing the question of why and how Western society has been transformed from community and individual to hierarchy and bureaucracy."—William G. Roy, University of California, Los Angeles

"This book represents a long-awaited, sweeping statement by one of the leading organizational theorists of our time. Given the power, force, and even audacity of the author's arguments, it is certain to be much discussed and hotly debated."—Mark S. Mizruchi, University of Michigan

"Charles Perrow sets his sights on those who contend that American firms became behemoths because big firms are more efficient than small ones. Organizing America offers a compelling alternative account, in which managers and owners created huge corporations in the process of striving for power rather than efficiency."—Frank Dobbin, Princeton University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691123158
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/27/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Charles Perrow is Research Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Yale University. Two of his six books are prizewinners: Normal Accidents (Princeton) and The AIDS Disaster. Complex Organizations (McGraw Hill) is in its third edition. He has written seventy articles and book chapters. Perrow has been a visiting professor at the London Graduate School of Business Studies, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Study.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1

Some Central Concepts 3

Density and concentration 3

Size and small-firm networks 4

Organizations or capitalism 6

Noneconomic organizations 7

Power 8

Culture and other shapers of society 9

Organizations as the independent variable 10

What Do Organizations Do? 12

What Kind of Organizations? 16

Alternative Theories 17

Conclusion 19

CHAPTER 2: Preparing the Ground 22

Communities, Markets, Hierarchies, and Networks 22

Community 23

The market direction 25

Toward hierarchy and networks 28

The Legal Revolution that Launched Organizations 31

Fear of corporations 33

What organizations need to be able to do 35

Making capitalism corporate 36

Capitalism to Corporate Capitalism 40

Lawyers: "The Shock Troops of Capitalism" 43

CHAPTER 3: Toward Hierarchy: The Mills of Manayunk 48

Getting the Factory Going: The Role of Labor Control 48

The first mill-a workhouse 50

To mechanize or not? 51

Social Consequences 53

Labor Policies and Strikes 58

Organizations and Religion 60

From Working Classes to a Working Class 61

The politics of class 62

Conclusion 63

CHAPTER 4: Toward Hierarchy and Networks 65

Lowell and the Boston Associates 65

Wage dependence and labor control 65

Lowell I: The benign phase 67

Profits and market control 69

Lowell II: The exploitive phase 70

Explaining the First Modern Business 75

Structural constraints 77

The Slater Model 79

Toward Networks with the Philadelphia Model 81

When capital counts 82

Philadelphia's large mills 84

Size and technology 86

Networks of Firms 88

Labor conflict 90

Externalities 90

The Decline of Textile Firms 92

Summary 94

CHAPTER 5: Railroads, the Second Big Business 96

Railroads in France, Britain, and the United States: The Organizational Logic 102

France 104

Britain 108

The importance of the railroads 111

Why Were the Railroads Unregulated and Privatized? 113

The efficiency argument 115

Historical institutionalism 117

Historical institutionalism assessed 122

The neoinstitutionalist account 123

The organization interest account 127

The details 129

Self-interested opposition to the railroads 139

Corruption Observed but Not Interpreted 141

Evidence from the public record, and the outcry 144

Scholars explain corruption 151

Summary and Conclusions 157

CHAPTER 6: The Organizational Imprinting 160

Making the Railroads Work 160

Divisionalization 161

Finance takes charge 162

Inevitable, or a chance path? 165

Contracting out 166

Leadership Style and Worker Welfare 173

Work in general 175

Nationalization and Centralization: The Final Spike 179

Organizational versus political interpretations 180

Where did the money come from? 183

Regionalization versus Nationalization 186

The debate over the ethos 187

A political or an organizational interpretation of the struggle? 192

Was Regionalism Viable? 194

Concentrating Capital and Power 196

The corporate form triumphs 197

Explaining the arrival of the corporate form 201

An organizational agency account 204

Summary and Conclusions 212

CHAPTER 7: Summary and Conclusions 217

Appendix Alternative Theories Where Organizations Are the Dependent Variable 229

Notes 237

Bibliography 243

Index 251

What People are Saying About This

Roy

Organizing America is a magisterial work: a compelling analysis showing why those who study states and economies should take organizations seriously and those studying organizations should ponder how organizations have concentrated wealth and power. Perrow takes the study of organizations back to Weber's original vision, problematizing the question of why and how Western society has been transformed from community and individual to hierarchy and bureaucracy.
William G. Roy, University of California, Los Angeles

From the Publisher

"This book represents a long-awaited, sweeping statement by one of the leading organizational theorists of our time. Given the power, force, and even audacity of the author's arguments, it is certain to be much discussed and hotly debated."—Mark S. Mizruchi, University of Michigan

"Charles Perrow sets his sights on those who contend that American firms became behemoths because big firms are more efficient than small ones. Organizing America offers a compelling alternative account, in which managers and owners created huge corporations in the process of striving for power rather than efficiency."—Frank Dobbin, Princeton University

"Organizing America is a magisterial work: a compelling analysis showing why those who study states and economies should take organizations seriously and those studying organizations should ponder how organizations have concentrated wealth and power. Perrow takes the study of organizations back to Weber's original vision, problematizing the question of why and how Western society has been transformed from community and individual to hierarchy and bureaucracy."—William G. Roy, University of California, Los Angeles

Frank Dobbin

Charles Perrow sets his sights on those who contend that American firms became behemoths because big firms are more efficient than small ones. Organizing America offers a compelling alternative account, in which managers and owners created huge corporations in the process of striving for power rather than efficiency.
Frank Dobbin, Princeton University

Mizruchi

This book represents a long-awaited, sweeping statement by one of the leading organizational theorists of our time. Given the power, force, and even audacity of the author's arguments, it is certain to be much discussed and hotly debated.
Mark S. Mizruchi, University of Michigan

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