Call for Papers: Honoring the Life and Works of Alfred Chandler

10 January 2008 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

Shawn Carraher and John Humphreys are editing a special issue of the Journal of Management History devoted to the life and work of the late Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. (1918-2007). Submissions are due 7 April 2008. Details below the fold.

Call for Papers

Journal of Management History Special Issue


Guest Editors: Shawn Carraher and John Humphreys

Alfred Chandler has been described as “the world’s preeminent business historian in the second half of the twentieth century” and “dean of business historians, the man who more or less invented the history of the big corporation.” During World War II, he served as a naval officer. He later credited his experience in the Navy; close family relationships with the du Pont family, and the influence of leading scholars such as Talcott Parsons and Joseph Schumpeter with influencing his choice to study businesses. He subsequently earned a masters degree (1947) and Ph.D. (1952) at Harvard University. His Ph.D. thesis focused on the work of his great grandfather, leading business analyst and journalist Henry Varnum Poor. In addition, during his graduate studies Chandler was an active member of then relatively new Center for Research in Entrepreneurial Studies founded by economist Joseph Schumpeter and economic historian and Harvard Business School librarian Arthur Cole.

With his newly minted Ph.D. in hand Chandler joined the faculty at MIT. Among his early efforts were assisting Alfred Sloan with his 20th century classic “My Years with General Motors” and publishing his work on Henry Varnum Poor. That was followed in 1962 by Strategy and Structure, a towering achievement that remains influential in strategic management, history, economics, sociology, and political science. Chandler’s compelling thesis — that corporate structure follows strategy — documented the historical origins of the multidivisional firm.

Chandler moved to Johns Hopkins University in 1963, where he served as editor-in-chief of the papers of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as department chair, and as Director of Center for Study of Recent American History. In 1971, he accepted the prestigious Isidor Straus Professorship of Business History at Harvard Business School. At HBS Chandler published two more great works of synthesis. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (1977), which won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as the prestigious Newcomen Award and the Bancroft Prize, chronicled the rise of modern management in the United States in large, vertically integrated firms. His work countered some basic assumptions such as the Adam Smith emphasis on the “invisible hand”. Chandler argued that the coordinating of economic activities passed from the marketplace to the visible hand of managers. Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (1990), winner of an American Association of Publishers Award and the University of Chicago’s Melamed Price, applied Chandler’s model comparatively to the US, UK, and Germany. After becoming Professor Emeritus at HBS in 1989, Chandler continued to publish. Included were major studies of innovation in the electronics, computer, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. At the time of his death he was writing a biography of his maternal grandfather, Major William G. Ramsay, Dupont’s first chief engineer and a major contributor to the transformation of the firm into a global corporation.

The recipient of many awards and fellowships — including the Business History Conference’s first Lifetime Achievement Award (2002), the John F. Kennedy Medal, as well as numerous honorary degrees — Al Chandler is remembered by family, friends, students, and colleagues as a warm, accessible, generous, and astonishingly focused man, who did more than anyone to establish the legitimacy and importance of academic business history. His landmark books and articles have influenced generations of scholars in multiple countries and disciplines.

Accordingly, it is fitting that the Journal of Management History seeks to publish a special issue devoted to the life and works of Chandler and his disparate contributions. Prospective contributors may wish to consider (but are not limited to) the following research questions:

* Strategy and Structure or Strategy versus Structure?

* the impact of Chandler on later Strategy theorists such as Porter;

* Chandler’s impact on Management and Business History; and

* Chandler’s impact on Organizational Theory

In summary, our goal in this special issue is to honor Chandler, better understand the value of his many contributions, and discover avenues of future research to further build upon the enormous foundation he left for all of us.


Submissions are due no later than April 7th, 2008. Contributors should follow the manuscript requirements and author guidelines provided at and in the back of each issue of the Journal of Management History. For general questions about submission, contact JMH’s Editor, David Lamond, at For inquiries about the special issue, please write to one of the guest editors: Shawn Carraher ( or John Humphreys (

HBS Professor Alfred Chandler Jr., pre-eminent business historian, dead at 88. Harvard University Gazette Online, May 17, 2007
( accessed June, 2007

Martin, Douglas. Alfred D. Chandler Jr., a Business Historian, Dies at 88. The New York Times, May 12, 2007
0&en=e2ee90739ec38390&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss) accessed July 2007).

Miller, Stephen. Remembrances: Alfred D. Chandler. The Wall Street Journal, New York, N.Y.: May 12, 2007, p. A.8.

Obituary: Alfred Chandler. The Economist. London: May 19, 2007. Vol. 383, Is. 8529, p. 95.

Sicilia, David B. Academy of Management News Volume 38, Issue 2 (June 2007).

Kim Foster
Publisher, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA
Tel: +44 (0) 1274 785076
Fax: +44 (0) 1274 785244

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Entry filed under: - Klein -, Business/Economic History, Management Theory, Strategic Management, Theory of the Firm.

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