Review of Charles Perrow, Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism
Theory and Society, 33: 117-129, 2004
13 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2014
Date Written: 2004
This book at first appears to be Perrow’s own history of the modern corporation, but it turns out to be a critique of the canon and a fresh look at the historical material presented by others. As such, it is a lot closer in format and goals to Perrow’s classic Complex Organizations (New York: Random House, 1986) than it is to the works in business history and sociology it challenges. In Complex Organizations, Perrow critiques several of the leading organizational paradigms, challenging their conclusions and reinterpreting their findings through the lens of his own power theory. He has done something akin to that here, focusing on several different historical works and the schools associated with them. He critiques these works through close readings and reconsideration of the evidence they present, and in the process develops an argument of his own. This is not so much an historical work based on secondary sources as it is an effort to engage key arguments about business history and to o¡er a new interpretation.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation