Abstract and Keywords
Big business has been at the heart of business history from its very beginnings, whether as a mere literary genre; or, more seriously in the last half century, as an academic discipline. The Chandlerian paradigm has considerably reinforced this trend, with other approaches to the subject being largely marginalized. Interest in big business has not waned with the advent of the post-Chandler era and is unlikely to do so, given its crucial role in economic development; but this role has been put in proper perspective and alternative forms of business organization reappraised as part of modern societies rather than mere archaisms. This article concentrates on defining the notion of big business; on comparing the various stages and the specific context of its development, especially in the United States, the major economies of Western Europe, and Japan; and on briefly discussing the socio-political dimension of the phenomenon.
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