Abstract: Big Business and European Unification: Is the Chandlerian Model Still Sustainable?

Franco Amatori


The expression "Chandlerian Model" in reality refers to two different intellectual buildings. The first derives from the research which led to the publication of Strategy and Structure. It was an enormous success among students of management and consultants, in whose hands it ended up in losing the complexity and the problematical approach that characterizes the work of a great historian. The other Chandler is the one we discover in the studies published in The Visible Hand and Scale and Scope, which emphasized the responses to the impulses of the Second Industrial Revolution in "regional" environments made by different markets, business and government relationships, and cultures. The first part of this short note intends to demonstrate that the ensemble of actions undertaken in the last few decades by the European Union does not appear adversarial to the Chandlerian model considered in this version (the one that stresses the necessity of the three-pronged investment and the development of organizational capabilities). The second part is a review of Whittington and Mayer's The European Corporation that shows, notwithstanding all the criticism that can be expressed, that even the Chandler prophet of the MForm is still alive. More controversial is the topic related to a new organizational configuration such as the "network form." Whittington and Mayer believe that it is located inside and not beyond the MForm. I suspect instead that we enter in a new territory for practitioners and scholars.