American business history is a history of business, entrepreneurship, and corporations, together with responses by consumers, critics, and government, in the United States from colonial times to the present. In broader context, it is a major part of the Economic history of the United States, but focuses on specific business enterprises. The New England regions economy grew steadily over the entire colonial era, despite the lack of a staple crop that could be exported. All the provinces and many towns as well, tried to foster economic growth by subsidizing projects that improved the infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, inns and ferries. They gave bounties and subsidies or monopolies to sawmills, grist mills, iron mills, pulling mills which treated cloth, salt works and glassworks. Most important, colonial legislatures set up a legal system that was conducive to business enterprise by resolving disputes, enforcing contracts, and protecting property rights. Hard work and entrepreneurship characterized the region, as the Puritans and Yankees endorsed the "Protestant Ethic", which enjoined men to work hard as part of their divine calling.
Business history is a historiographical field which examines the history of firms, business methods, government regulation and the effects of business on society. It also includes biographies of individual firms, executives, and entrepreneurs. It is related to economic history. It is distinct from "company history" which refers to official histories, usually funded by the company itself.
The Association of Business Historians is a British learned society focused on business history and the history of companies concerned with "The study of all aspects of the historical development of enterprise, businesses and business activity generally and their inter-relationship with the social, cultural, economic and political environment." In 2009 it was one of The National Archives partners in the production of a National Strategy for Business Archives England and Wales 2009.
Business History is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering the field of business history. It was established in 1958 by Liverpool University Press and is now published by Taylor and Francis. The editor-in-chief is Ray Stokes.
The Business History Conference is an academic organization that supports all aspects of research, writing, and teaching about business history and about the environment in which businesses operate. Founded in 1954, the BHC supports ongoing research among its members and holds conferences to bring together business and economic historians. It also publishes a quarterly academic journal, Enterprise & Society, along with selected papers from its annual meetings via BEH On-Line.
The Business History Review is a scholarly quarterly published by Cambridge University Press for Harvard Business School. Business History Review is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering the field of business history. It was established in 1954 by Harvard University Press as the continuation of the Bulletin of the Business Historical Society. The journal is one of the leading scholarly journals in the field of business history alongside Enterprise & Society and Business History. The Business History Review traces it origins to 1926 with the publication of Harvard’s Bulletin of the Business Historical Society. The Bulletin aimed" to encourage and aid the study of the evolution of business in all periods and in all countries” and devoted much space to describing the growing archival collections of Harvard’s Baker Library. Henrietta Larson, whose Guide to Business History 1948 also documented the scope of available research materials, was editor from 1938 to 1953. In 1954, the Bulletin changed its name to Business History Review and took its current format of publishing peer-reviewed research articles and book reviews. In these years, the intellectual framework of the field of business history was defined by the work of Alfred D. Chandler Jr., who published 11 research articles in the journal. One of the most popular with 212 Google Scholar cites was his 1959 piece" The Beginnings of Big Business’ in American Industry,” which explored the question of why large, vertically integrated corporations were formed in the late nineteenth-century and why they took the structure they did. Another highly cited article 240 Google Scholar cites from 1970 was" The Emerging Organizational Synthesis in American History” by Louis Galambos, which also focused on explaining the growth of bureaucratic structures in the United States. In 1974, Business History Review published its first special issue on the multinational corporation. Included in the issue was an article on oil companies operating in South America by Mira Wilkins, who pioneered the field of international business history. The journal also expanded its focus beyond the workings of business enterprise to cover business-government relations. In 1975, Thomas K. McCraw, who edited the journal from 1994 to 2005, published" Regulation in America: A Review Article.” In 2011, the current editors, Walter A. Friedman and Geoffrey Jones academic, listed the BHR s core subjects as innovation, globalization, entrepreneurship, business and the environment, business and government, and business and democracy. In 2015, the journal had an impact factor of 0.625 with a 5-year impact factor of 0.895 and was rated as a 4 by the British Academic Journal Guide a 4* is the highest rating.
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