Historical Origins of Environmental Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s-1980s
This working paper examines the growth of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. German business has been regarded as pioneering corporate environmentalism after World War II. In contrast, this study reveals major commonalities between the sustainability strategies of leading German and American firms until the 1970s. However during that decade the German firms diverged from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism of their pollution impact, but also to create opportunities for changes in corporate culture to encourage sustainability. While the U.S. chemical industry remained defensive and focused on legal compliance, there was a greater proactivity among the German firms. This paper stresses the importance of regional embeddedness of leading firms in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which made their reputations especially vulnerable to criticism. The research supports organizational sociology theory, which has identified the importance of visibility in corporate green strategies. The German chemical firms were pioneers in understanding that investing in environmental sustainability could provide an opportunity to create value for the firm by delivering both commercial and reputational benefits.
Entrepreneurs, Firms and Global Wealth since 1850
This working paper integrates the role of entrepreneurship and firms into debates on why Asia, Latin America and Africa were slow to catch up with the West following the Industrial Revolution and the advent of modern economic growth. It argues that the currently dominant explanations, which focus on deficient institutions, poor human capital development, geography and culture are important, but not sufficient. This is partly because recent research in business history has shown that several of the arguments are not empirically proved, but especially because the impact of these factors on the creation and performance of innovative business enterprises is not clearly specified. Modern economic growth diffused from its origins in the North Sea region to elsewhere in western and northern Europe, across the Atlantic, and later to Japan, but struggled to get traction elsewhere. The societal and cultural embeddedness of the new technologies posed significant entrepreneurial challenges. The best equipped to overcome these challenges were often entrepreneurs based in minorities who held significant advantages in capital-raising and trust levels. By the interwar years productive modern business enterprise was emerging across the non-Western world. Often local and Western managerial practices were combined to produce hybrid forms of business enterprise. After 1945 many governmental policies designed to facilitate catch-up ended up crippling these emergent business enterprises without putting effective alternatives in place. The second global economy has provided more opportunities for catch up from the Rest, and has seen the rapid growth of globally competitive businesses in Asia, Latin America and Africa. This is explained not only by institutional reforms, but by new ways for business in the Rest to access knowledge and capital, including returning diaspora, business schools and management consultancies. Smarter state capitalism was also a greater source of international competitive advantage than the state intervention often seen in the past.
Keywords: Wealth and Poverty;
Wealth and Poverty;
Developing Countries and Economies;
North and Central America;
Entrepreneurship in the Natural Food and Beauty Categories Before 2000: Global Visions and Local Expressions
This working paper examines the creation of the global natural food and beauty categories before 2000. This is shown to have been a lengthy process of new category creation involving the exercise of entrepreneurial imagination. Pioneering entrepreneurs faced little consumer demand for natural products, and little consumer knowledge of what they entailed. The creation of new categories involved three overlapping waves of entrepreneurship. The first involved making the ideological case for natural products. This often entailed investment in education and publishing activities. Second, entrepreneurs engaged in the creation of industry associations which could advocate, as well as give the nascent industry credibility and create standards. Finally, entrepreneurs established retail stores, supply and distribution networks, and created brands. Entrepreneurial cognition and motivation frequently lay in individual, and very local, experiences, but many of the key pioneers were also highly globalized in their world views, with strong perception of how small, local efforts related to much bigger and global pictures. A significant sub-set of the influential historical figures were articulate in expressing strong religious convictions. The paper concludes that by the 1990s it was evident that the success of entrepreneurial pioneers in building the market for green products created a new set of issues, especially related to the legitimacy of their businesses and of the concept of greenness.
Beauty and Cosmetics Industry;
Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry;
Beauty and Cosmetics Industry;
Consumer Products Industry;
Food and Beverage Industry;
North and Central America;
Banks as Multinationals
This is a revised edition of a comparative, international study which looks at the history of multinational banks. Researchers from the United States, Japan, Europe, and Australia survey the evolution of multinational banks over time and suggest a conceptual framework in which this development can be understood. In-depth analyses of the multinational banking strategies of selected countries and institutions extend from the early nineteenth century to the present day. The approach is interdisciplinary, with economists and business historians joining together to confront theory with empirical evidence.
Keywords: Business History;
Multinational Firms and Management;
Banks and Banking;
'Power from Sunshine': A Business History of Solar Energy
This working paper provides a longitudinal perspective on the business history of solar energy between the nineteenth century and the present day. It covers early attempts to develop solar energy, the use of passive solar in architecture before World War 2, and the subsequent growth of the modern photovoltaic industry. It explores the role of entrepreneurial actors, sometimes motivated by broad social and environmental agendas, whose strategies to build viable business models proved crucially dependent on two exogenous factors: the prices of alternative conventional fuels and public policy. Supportive public policies in various geographies facilitated the commercialization of photovoltaic technologies, but they also encouraged rent-seeking and inefficiencies, while policy shifts resulted in a regular boom and bust cycle. The perceived long-term potential of solar energy, combined with the capital-intensity and cyclical nature of the industry, led to large electronics, oil and engineering companies buying entrepreneurial firms in successive generations. These firms became important drivers of innovation and scale, but they also found solar to be an industry in which achieving a viable business model proved a chimera, whilst waves of creative destruction became the norm.
Keywords: Renewable Energy;
Innovation and Invention;
The Driver in Ford's Amazing Race
In "American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company" (Crown Business: $26), Bryce G. Hoffman recounts the turnaround in careful, often gripping detail. Make no mistake, this is a story, not a structured analysis of Ford's transformation. Those looking for how-to lists will be disappointed. Instead, Mr. Hoffman offers Mr. Mulally's vision for saving — and permanently changing — a giant American company. The author explores how Mr. Mulally and his team executed this vision, and what this meant on the dynamic, risky stage of the auto industry.
Keywords: Business History;
The Rise of the Modern Firm
This authoritative volume focuses on the rise of modern firms, from their early history to the present day. It considers the role of laws and contracts in shaping the growth and influence of business enterprises. It presents entrepreneurs, executives and the firms they controlled as driving actors in national economies and international growth. Alongside an original introduction, Professors Jones and Friedman have selected work by scholars who have used corporate archives to explore the fine details of how firms actually operated. It also includes work by those who have been influenced by evolutionary, transaction costand resource-based theories of the firm. The book will be an essential source of reference for industrial economists, management scholars and business historians.
Keywords: Business Ventures;
American Exceptionalism?: A Comparative Analysis of the Origins and Trajectory of U.S. Business Education Development
As business education in an academic setting becomes an increasingly global phenomenon, the university-based business school in America remains a unique institution. This holds true despite the fact that the American business school as it evolved in the post-World War II era has become the dominant model for business schools in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Most observers looking at these institutions as they exist today, without an awareness of their differing historical origins and development, would likely conclude that business schools inside and outside of the United States exhibit more similarities than differences. Yet the uniqueness of the American business school lies not so much in the widely imitated strategies and practices it has developed over the last sixty years as in the way that, for more than a century, it has articulated and shaped for the larger society a set of ideas, aspirations, and norms concerning business and management. Moreover, the visions and values animating the university-based business school in America—which arguably account more than any other factor for the great influence it has enjoyed in American society—have changed significantly from the era when the earliest schools were founded up until the present day. Thus the institution that came to be the major influence on business education worldwide in the postwar era is significantly different from the one that preceded it in the first half of the twentieth century, when American and European business schools developed along largely separate lines.
Keywords: Values and Beliefs;
Power and Influence;
Khurana, Rakesh. "American Exceptionalism?: A Comparative Analysis of the Origins and Trajectory of U.S. Business Education Development." In Business Schools and their Contribution to Society
, edited by Mette Morsing and Alfons Sauquet. Sage Publications, 2011.
Accelerating the Adoption of Integrated Reporting
This chapter describes the concept of integrated reporting, provides a brief history of its development, reviews the current state of practice, presents a strategy for institutional change that will accelerate the adoption of integrated reporting in order to meet the five-year objective, and concludes with a call to the reader to do whatever he or she can to speed the adoption of integrated reporting.
Keywords: Integrated Corporate Reporting;
Organizational Change and Adaptation;
Managing Political Risk in Global Business: Beiersdorf 1914-1990
This working paper examines corporate strategies of political risk management during the twentieth century. It focuses especially on Beiersdorf, a German-based pharmaceutical and skin care company. During World War I the expropriation of its brands and trademarks revealed its vulnerability to political risk. Following the advent of the Nazi regime in 1933, the largely Jewish owned and managed company, faced a uniquely challenging combination of home and host country political risk. The paper reviews the firm's responses to these adverse circumstances, challenging the prevailing literature which interprets so-called "cloaking" activities as one element of businesses' cooperation with the Nazis. The paper departs from previous literature in assessing the outcomes of the company's strategies after 1945. It examines the challenges and costs faced by the company in recovering the ownership of its brands. While the management of distance became much easier over the course of the twentieth century because of communications improvements, this working paper shows that the costs faced by multinational corporations in managing governments and political risk grew sharply.
Multinational Firms and Management;
Business and Government Relations;