The Coming of Managerial Capitalism: The United States

Course Number 1122

Professor Tom Nicholas
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits
28 Sessions

Career Focus

For MBAs who want to study the past and present to help guide their thinking about the future.

Educational Objectives

To provide an understanding of the development of entrepreneurship, modern management, business, technology and finance; to examine other institutions that have affected these areas such as governments, unions, and intellectual property rights; and to analyze the evolution of changing attitudes toward American capitalism and their impact on the environment in which business leaders and other stakeholders operate.

Course Content and Organization

This course offers students an opportunity to explore the historical development of entrepreneurship in the United States as the country became increasingly industrial, urban, and technologically and financially advanced. The course covers the founding of the new nation, early entrepreneurial venturing, changes in the strategy and structure of business, the winners and losers from capitalist expansion and the impact of technological and financial revolutions. It also looks to the future of entrepreneurship and capitalist development through an historical mirror.

The course's perspective provides a broad understanding of the long-term impact of technological change, entrepreneurial innovation, and market evolution on U.S. business, managers, the work force, and government. The history of entrepreneurship and managerial capitalism in the United States offers students a comparative point of reference for considering capitalistic development and its long-term impact on material prosperity and collective perceptions of economic activity across time and national boundaries.

Students will encounter several different units of analysis: much of the focus of the course is on the individual business leader and entrepreneur, but the worker, the company, the industry, and the country are also covered.

The course is divided into the following modules:

  1. Historical Foundations of Entrepreneurship
  2. The Emergence of Organization: Railroads, the "Titans" and Managerial Capitalism
  3. Prosperity, Depression and War
  4. Technological and Financial Revolutions
  5. The American Dream