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The Evolution of International Business Enterprise

By Howard Cox

Abstract

This paper outlines the development of international firms over the period from 1870 to 1945. It shows how British and other European trading firms developed international investment operations using the medium of free-standing companies. This was the origin of Royal Dutch Shell amongst other firms. It then considers the emergence of international Foreign Direct Investment that was stimulated by the developments of the Second Industrial Revolution in the latter years of the nineteenth century. The production of standardised products using system of mass production, and the scientific breakthroughs in chemistry and electrical engineering, amongst others, brought to the fore international firms such as Siemens and General Electric, Singer, British American Tobacco and Ford. The growth of these enterprises suffered a setback during the First World War from which German firms were slow to recover. The Great Depression that followed the US stock market crash in 1929 brought the first era of globalisation to an end. The work of Alfred D. Chandler and Geoffrey Jones in explaining the development of international companies is given particular attention

Topics: HC, HD28
Publisher: International Thomson
Year: 1997
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.eprints.org:250

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