The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business

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The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business
The Visible Hand book cover.jpg
Author Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.
Country US
Genre history
Publisher Harvard University Press
Publication date
1977
Pages 608
Awards Pulitzer Prize for History
ISBN 9780674940529

The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business is a nonfiction book by American business historian Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., published by Harvard University Press in 1977. Chandler argues that in the nineteenth century, Adam Smith's famous invisible hand of the market was supplanted by the "visible hand" of middle management, which became "the most powerful institution in the American economy".[1]

The Visible Hand was awarded the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for History and the Bancroft Prize of Columbia University.[2]

Chandler's eight propositions[edit]

Chandler uses eight propositions[3] to show how and why the visible hand of management replaced what Adam Smith referred to as invisible hand of the market forces:

  1. that the US modern multi-unit business replaced small traditional enterprise, when administrative coordination permitted better profits than the coordination by market mechanism;
  2. that a managerial hierarchy have been created for this multi-unit business enterprise;
  3. that multi-unit business enterprise appeared for the first time in history in a time when the volume of economic activities reached a level that made administrative coordination more efficient than market coordination;
  4. that once a managerial hierarchy has been created and had successfully carried out its functions of administrative coordination, the hierarchy itself became a source of power, permanence and continued growth;
  5. that the careers of the salaried managers became increasingly professional and technical;
  6. that the multi-unit business enterprise grew in size and diversity and as its managers became more professional, the management of the enterprise became separated from its ownership;
  7. that managers preferred policies that favored long term stability and growth of their entreprises to those that maximized current profits.
  8. that as the large entreprises grew and dominated major sectors of the economy they altered the basic structure of these sectors and of the economy as a whole.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harvard Business School Professor Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Preeminent Business Historian, Dead at 88". AScribe  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). May 11, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Noted Economic Historian Alfred Chandler Jr., 88". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). May 14, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ Chandler, Alfred. The Visible Hand. Belknap Press, 1977. ISBN 978-0674940529. Introduction.