One of the results acquired through investigation of the Rules of the Schneider and Co., which were instituted in 1913 to establish principles of its management organization, is a discovery of the fact that, in France before the First World War, there was another type of business organization different from what Professor Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. explained eloquently in his book, “The Visible Hand”. The difference is found in the function performed by the middle management of the Schneider and Co., which are divided into five Divisions according to its products, such as coal and steel, various engines and electric motors, artillery and armour plates, ships, and bridges. As well as almost all of its products are order-made, each Division is organized to perform efficiently functions necessary for order production. According to the Rules of 1913, each Division is composed of Sales, Technical, Production, Test and Accounting Departments, and main functions are fulfilled by the first three Departments; respectively negociation with clients, design for contract and production management (of job shop type). The most remarkable thing is that, in there Rules, heavy emphasis is placed on co-ordination among these functions, not only between negotiation and design but also negotiation and production management, so as to acquire orders profitably and quickly. It would appear that this co-ordination is not the “Administrative Co-ordination” which replace the “Invisible Hand”, though very suitable for the big business of order production type. These Rules also prescribe centralization of the functions of these Departments in Paris headquators in order to realize its better relationship, although this principle is not fully applied to all Divisions owing to its industrial characters. In this article, I have examined such middle management organization and the business strategy of the Schneider and Co., which form clear contrast to what Professor Chandler, Jr. elucidated; those of mass production, so that we can find out another aspect of the French entrepreneurship and big business.
This paper analyzes the growth of a British-owned trading company, Guthrie Corporation, with emphasis on its strategic and structural responses to changing business environment. During the 19th century, Guthrie's major activity was general trading between Singapore and the United Kingdom, although the company gradually expanded its businesses into such related areas as finance for provincial ventures and local agencies of British firms. Reflecting the simplicity of operations, Guthrie's organization remained primitive. The general office in Singapore and its branch and agent in London carried their duties without clear functional divisions and close coordination. Facing the depression in trading in the late 19th century, Guthrie's strategic interest turned to then rising rubber production. By utilizing its financial and personal ties in trading, Guthrie played an intermediary role between the British capital market and Malayan agriculture. While the company acted as a London promoter of newly-established and converted public companies for rubbergrowing, Guthrie took the charge of managing rubber estates in Malaya and marketing products overseas. Responding to this integration, Guthrie's organization became functional. For instance, the London office now had the companies department which concentrated on promotional and secretarial functions of the rubber companies. Changes in world markets for agricultural products and Malaya's independence in the 1950's forced Guthrie to adopt another strategy of integration and diversification into manufacturing in Malaysia and industrialized countries. Following the forward integration into such rubber-consuming industries as carpet-weaving, Guthrie's management agressively took over manufacturing enterprises in related and unrelated fields in Western Europe, Canada, and the U.S. In the 1970's, Guthrie thus became a multinational company with multi-divisional structure organized by region and product. This strategy of multinationalization and the relative retreat from Malaysian interests, however, inevitably resulted in consecutive conflicts with Malaysia's economic policy which sought indigenous ownership and control of foreign firms. In 1981, the Malaysian government took the final move of publicly taking over Guthrie at the London stock market and easily succeeded by overcoming desperate defense by Guthrie's management, by which a long history of this trading company was eventually terminated.