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Steady change: the 200 largest US manufacturing firms throughout the 20th century

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  • Francisco LouÁã
  • Sandro MendonÁa

Abstract

This paper discusses the existence of structural change in business activity and technological competence among the 200 largest US manufacturing companies throughout the 20th century. The data were taken from Chandler (Scale and Scope, 1990) and Fortune magazine. The analysis of corporate evolution in used to assess continuity versus turbulence of business organizations in the context of the neo-Schumpeterian long-wave hypothesis. The empirical results show that the giants of the late 20th century are not the same as those at the beginning of that period. Persistence in the sample is very limited. Moreover, turbulence is not smooth, but rather occurs by impulses that affect specific industries, and it has increased over time. Overall, the pattern of corporate entry and industry development is very indicative of the new opportunities emerging with information and communication technologies. This process of open-ended continuous transformation supports the case for putting change at the centre of economic analysis. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco LouÁã & Sandro MendonÁa, 2002. "Steady change: the 200 largest US manufacturing firms throughout the 20th century," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 817-845, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:11:y:2002:i:4:p:817-845
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    Cited by:

    1. O'Reilly, Charles A., III & Tushman, Michael, 2007. "Ambidexterity as a Dynamic Capability: Resolving the Innovator's Dilemma," Research Papers 1963, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    2. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R., 2010. "Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics as Evolutionary Processes," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    3. Dittrich, Koen & Duysters, Geert & de Man, Ard-Pieter, 2007. "Strategic repositioning by means of alliance networks: The case of IBM," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1496-1511, December.

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