Exporting the American Model: The Post-War Transformation of European Business

By Marie-Laure A. Djelic | Go to book overview

II, the focus is on conditions--geopolitical and national--most favorable to a cross-national transfer, on the channels of transfer, and on the strategies of actors involved. Part III identifies different types of mechanisms through which the cross-national transfer process took place. Finally, Part IV points to obstacles to the process, of a national and institutional kind. Theoretical generalizations are proposed, at that point, on the diffraction that necessarily comes with processes of cross-national transfer or diffusion and on what amounts, in the end, to an institutionally embedded national adaptation, translation, or interpretation of the original model.


Notes
1.
A number of scholars have focused on quite similar dependent variables. Labels, though, have changed. Chandler ( 1990) used the term 'forms of capitalism', Piore and Sabel ( 1984) 'industrial divides', and Whitley ( 1992) 'business systems'. Although the focus, in the following pages, will be on structures, it is undeniable that national industries are also characterized by bodies of ideas, organizational and economic ideologies, 'models of management' ( Guillén, 1994), or 'industrial cultures' ( Dobbin, 1994).
2.
This definition of 'governance structures' builds upon those provided by Williamson ( 1981) and Campbellet al. ( 1991).
3.
In fact, amongst Italian manufacturing firms employing over 50 people, 1,249 were sole proprietorships in 1951 and 1,781 in 1971. In France, this number had gone down from 1,408 in 1954 to 901 in 1966 ( INSEE ( 1956, 1974), Istituto Centrale di Statistica ( 1955, 1976), Statistisches Bundesamt ( 1953, 1973)).
4.
Ibid.
5.
For figures showing that the M-form spread even further in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, see Whittingtonet al. ( 1997).
6.
Since over half of this same sample had already chosen diversification as a strategy by 1950, slow adoption of the M-form in Italy could not be accounted for, as traditional arguments would have it, by a failure to diversify ( Chandler, 1962). Neither could Italian reluctance to the M-form be accounted for by peculiarities of the Italian economic environment since, by 1970, most foreign-owned subsidiaries in Italy (33 out of 39) had adopted the multidivisional structure.
7.
Both in France and in West Germany, the total number of industrial units decreased sharply from around 700,000 in 1950 to around 400,000 twenty years later. The firms that disappeared were mostly smaller entities. In Italy, on the other hand, the number of industrial units remained stable during that period at around 600,000. Some very small firms (less than 10 employees) disappeared but they were replaced, for the most part, by small or medium-sized entities (between 10 and 500). See Statistisches Bundesamt ( 1953, 1954, 1973, 1974), INSEE ( 1956, 1974), Istituto Centrale di Statistica ( 1955, 1976).
8.
See Campbell ( 1994) for a review of neo-institutional theories and for the terms 'theory of constraint' and 'theory of action'.
9.
For a criticism along similar lines of cultural arguments, see Hamilton and Biggart ( 1988), pp. S69-S74.
10.
The origins of comparative historical analysis can be traced to John Stuart Mill

-16-

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