Jeffrey Fear

in The Oxford Handbook of Business History

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780199263684
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C


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The strategy of most major business firms has to take into consideration cartels. This article discusses how firms can expect to behave inside cartels (firms as unitary actors), and how cartels altered corporate strategy and organizational development (decision making and internal processes). It offers an array of different cartel types that blur the distinction between legitimate cooperation and illegitimate collusion. It is actually difficult to decide when a cartel is a cartel and what cartel success means, let alone if it acts inefficiently or destructively. The article argues that the voluminous scale and scope of cartels before 1939, together with lingering cartelization after 1945 in Europe and Japan, means that any analysis of entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, and organization, as well as national economic development, must incorporate the impact of cartels. It also discusses the impact of cartels on economic and corporate development.

Keywords: cartels; corporate strategy; organizational development; legitimate cooperation; illegitimate collusion

Article.  10487 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business History

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