The dean of business historians continues his masterful chronicle of the transforming revolutions of the twentieth century begun in Inventing the Electronic Century.
Alfred Chandler argues that only with consistent attention to research and development and an emphasis on long-term corporate strategies could firms remain successful over time. He details these processes for nearly every major chemical and pharmaceutical firm, demonstrating why some companies forged ahead while others failed.
By the end of World War II, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries were transformed by the commercializing of new learning, the petrochemical and the antibiotic revolutions. But by the 1970s, chemical science was no longer providing the new learning necessary to commercialize more products, although new directions flourished in the pharmaceutical industries. In the 1980s, major drug companies, including Eli Lilly, Merck, and Schering Plough, commercialized the first biotechnology products, and as the twenty-first century began, the infrastructure of this biotechnology revolution was comparable to that of the second industrial revolution just before World War I and the information revolution of the 1960s. Shaping the Industrial Century is a major contribution to our understanding of the most dynamic industries of the modern era.
Chandler has written an account of the industry's turbulent century that is analytical and lucid...Chandler does a remarkable job of covering the development of two industries that changed the world in the 20th century. Over the years, I have read several books that depict the colourful story of individual chemical companies, but here is one that paints them all on the same canvas.
One cannot read Shaping the Industrial Century without a sense that this is a work informed by decades of inquiry into business history and the rise and fall of companies and industries across the world. The author moves quite easily and confidently across a wide range of firms to summarize the key decisions that formed the fate of these businesses...Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.'s unique perspective helps to broaden the view of the history of the pharmaceutical industry, and thereby contributes notably to the history of pharmacy.
Shaping the Industrial Century represents an important extension of the framework that Alfred Chandler has developed in several seminal books published during his long and productive career...Chandler has done more than provide a case study of the evolution of the modern chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Shaping the Industrial Century is a dynamic demonstration of how strategy takes precedence over structure in determining the ongoing success or failure of an industry that has reached its mature phase.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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