Business History: State of the Art and Controversies


  • Franco Amatori Università Bocconi di Milano



Business History, Managerial Studies, Economic History.


At present business history seems to be in very good health (numbers of journals, associations and papers submitted in international conferences). Everybody uses an adjective to define the present phase: “post-Chandlerian”. The author is not at all convinced that Chandler’s framework should be totally abandoned, if we render it more flexible. However, we now have to go beyond Chandler. Four directions of research seem to be particularly fruitful: the study of the N-Form; the historical
perspective of globalization; issues related to the relationship between enterprise, society and culture; and entrepreneurship. In relation to scientific and academic alliances, the best would be to be fully in command of economics, managerial studies, and history, and capable of moving without friction between a department of economics and that of management or humanities. We will also need to concede the most ample freedom to single out objectives and methods of research, remembering always that business history has a crucial role in comprehending the major changes of our epoch.