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Americanisation in 20th Century Europe: business, culture, politics. Volume 2

 | 
Nick Tiratsoo
, 
Mathias Kipping

The diffusion of American organisational models to Norwegian industries, 1945-1970

Rolv Petter Amdam et Knut Sogner

Résumé

Cet article analyse la diffusion des modèles d’organisation americains dans l’Europe d’après guerre à travers l’étude de cas des entreprises manufacturières norvégiennes. La trame de cette étude consiste en trois approches théoriques qui découlent de théories de l’organisation et posent la question de savoir si les modèles organisationnels sont copiés, changés ou choisis. Cet article insiste sur le point clé des changements et des choix dans ces études de cas ; il montre que l’histoire économique peut procurer aux chercheurs en organisation des éclairages utiles sur les processus de décision, pertinents pour la mise en oeuvre de nouveaux modèles d’organisation.

Texte intégral

introduction

1Over the last years we have seen an emerging literature that deals with the diffusion of American organisational models to Europe after the Second World War. Most of this literature focuses on the diffusion process at country level. In this chapter, however, we argue that we need to extend this perspective to the regional, industrial, and company level to get a thorough knowledge of the character and complexity of the diffusion process.

  • 1 R.P. Amdam, “Industrikomiteen i New York 1943-1945 - Ein kanal for kunnskapsoverforing frå USA til (...)

2Our specific focus is on the diffusion of organisational knowledge from the US to Norwegian industry. We use two cases that have been seen as typical expressions of American influence in Europe, namely the introduction of a personnel management policy at the corporate level and the introduction of the multi-divisional organisational form (M-form). We examine examples from different Norwegian manufacturing companies, but mainly see the diffusion process from the perspective of two particular companies, Norsk Hydro and Elkem. The Norwegian engineer Sam Eyde was a key entrepreneur in the establishment of both Elkem (1904) and Norsk Hydro (1905). Both were based on the country’s rich hydro-electrical resources. However, the companies soon developed differently. Hydro became a large producer of fertilisers while Elkem became an exporter of technological knowledge through its patents in melting technology. Both companies developed strong international links during the inter-war period, and Elkem especially developed a very solid relationship with American business prior to and during the Second World War.1

3After the war, both companies became important players in the Norwegian ‘modernisation project’ to create an economy with manufacturing as its cote. The Labour Government encouraged the growth of relatively large companies, even through foreign investment. Norsk Hydro was Norway’s largest company, and its expansion was encouraged by the fact that the State took over 47 per cent of its shares. One illustration of the role Hydro played in the modernisation process was the fact that the company diversified during the first three post-war decades and became a key player not only within the fertiliser industry, but also in aluminium and oil. Elkem also expanded rapidly in this period, and became an independent producer of aluminium and ferroalloys.

4Because Hydro and Elkem were both open towards the international business community and key actors in the national arena, they are interesting cases of how US organisational models were implemented in across the Atlantic. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the diffusion process as it was experienced by the companies. We strongly argue that, to do so, we need to extend the perspective from only seeing Europeans as passive recipients of American knowledge, and regard them as active players who searched for knowledge and reinterpreted what they found in a concrete context. In the first part of the chapter we outline this argument further by drawing on theoretical arguments from organisational theories. In the second and third part we analyse the diffusion process based on our two cases, personnel management policy and the M-form.

perspectives

  • 2 W.W. Powell and RJ. Dimaggio (eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, Chicago, (...)

5One way to contrast the different perspectives on the cross-national diffusion process of knowledge is to use the concepts copying, changing and choosing. The diffusion of American organisational models like the M-form and the personnel management idea can be seen as a process of copying. Theoretically, the new institutional theory has had a heavy influence on studies of the diffusion of organisational models. According to this tradition, organisations tend to adjust to each other within an organisational field, or as the American sociologists Walter W. Powell and Paul J. DiMaggio put it, “model themselves after similar organisations in their field that they perceive to be more legitimate or successful.” An organisational field is - according to the same scholars - composed of “those organisations that, in aggregate, constitute a recognised area of institutional life: key suppliers, resource and product consumers, regulatory agencies, and other organisations that produce similar services or products”.2 According to this view we can define, for example, corporations within the motor industry as belonging to the same organisational field. When the dominant player in this industry successfully introduces major organisational changes, like the M-form, the other companies will follow. Since we are concerned with the diffusion of organisational models across countries, we might assume that diffusion across borders depends on the degree to which an organisational field is internationalised.

  • 3 Ibid.
  • 4 B. Kogut and D. Parkinson, “The Diffusion of American Organizing Principles to Europe”, in B. Kogu (...)

6The new institutional approach has two implications concerning the explanation of why organisational models have been diffused across boarders. First, it is assumed that there is a strong player that diffuses the model. The strength and the position of this player are decisive for the result of the diffusion process. In the cases of the cross-national diffusion of personnel management policy and the M-form, this perspective should be relevant since American business, from where these models originated, had a very powerful position in the international economy after the Second World War. Second, adoption is, however, not only a result of the strength of the sender in the diffusion process! Another reason why organisations tend to follow the leader is that they want to become similar due to coercion, norms, and imitation.3 Thus, structural and institutional conditions surrounding the organisations that adopt the model are of great importance. According to Kogut and Parkinson, the spread of the M-form in Germany, France, and the UK “was primarily due to the development of the market, technological, and legal environments similar to those that prevailed earlier in the United States.4 This means that the focus is on explanatory forces that are external to the organisations that adopt the model, and not on what is going on inside the organisation. Management of an organisation is reduced to a passive activity, and the organisational imitation is a result of the organisations’ tendencies to follow the leader within the organisational field.

  • 5 A.D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterpri (...)
  • 6 e.g. R.P. Rumelt, Strategy, Structure and Economic Performance, Boston, Harvard Business School, 1 (...)
  • 7 History from the Start”, Industrial and Corporate Change, 7 (2), 1998, p. 249-273. N. Fligstein, Th (...)
  • 8 Kogut and Parkinson 1998:257.

7Other scholars have focussed on internal explanations as to why companies copied the M-form. By focusing on divisionalisation as an effect of diversification, the business historian Alfred D. Chandler jr. is concerned with the causality between the copying of the M-form and structural, albeit internal, factors.5 Like many organisational scholars who have subsequently provided further empirical studies of the diffusion of the M-form, Chandler focuses on the efficiency argument by saying that the divisionalised form suited the diversified structure well.6 The American sociologist Neil Fligstein, however, alongside other new institutionalists, questions the emphasis on economic motivation.7 According to his findings, the copying process was a result of competition among different professions to achieve control of the corporation. These arguments can be combined, by stating that the efficiency reason was the most important motivating factor early in the process, while non-economic factors may have became dominant from then on.8

  • 9 B. Czarniawska and G. Sevon (eds.), Translating Organizational Change, Berlin and New York, Walter (...)
  • 10 D.F. Channon, The Strategy and Structure of British Enterprises, Boston, Division of Research, Gra (...)

8The limitation of the copying position is that it assumes that organisational models are adopted in the same form as the original model when it is diffused. Within organisational studies, ‘Scandinavian institutionalism’ provides us with a perspective that goes beyond this copying position.9 The interesting aspect of the diffusion process is how organisations translate the original model into something different. What emerges is something different from what was put in. Analytically, this means that the research focus must be more on how ideas travel, and how they are translated differently, and less on the sender of the message. Cross-national research on the diffusion of the M-model gives examples that support the fruitfulness of focusing on translation. For instance, several researchers have noticed a tendency for ‘paper’ adoption of the M-form in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s.10 Some corporations introduced what they called the M-form, because of the prestige attached to adopting an American organisational model. However, there was a discrepancy between the M-form as a label and the activities within the new organisations, and the process contributed to strengthen the holding companies. We could say that the formal structure and activity were de-coupled, and the M-form as an idea was translated into the holding company.

  • 11 K. Sahlin-Andersson, “Imitating by Editing Success: The Construction of Organizational Field”, in (...)

9One limitation with the changing - or translation - perspective is that it follows how one model travels and changes. We could, however, argue - based on an evolutionary perspective - that what matters the most is which organisational model the corporation chooses to introduce. Organisations select and edit what organisational model they want.11 And if organisational studies based on this approach seem to put more emphasis on the character of the editing process itself, rather than the factors that explain the selection and editing process, business historians have insisted that what matters is how and why the management of corporations have chosen to introduce the M-form or the idea to develop a personnel management policy.

10This presentation of the three positions on the diffusion of American organisational models is derived from organisational studies. It illustrates a problem within organisational studies, namely the lack of research focus on concrete decisions behind the cross-national diffusion of organisational models like the M-form and the formation of a personnel management policy. This fact opens up the possibility for fruitful case studies on decision processes based on historical methods. However, focusing on the decision process within the companies must not exclude the importance of other factors. The importance of the economic and cultural power of the sender - in this case the American corporations and American business in general - which the copy position highlights, and the choosing perspective neglects, is obvious in cases like the two we highlight.

  • 12 C.D. McKenna, ‘“The American Challenge’: McKinsey & Company’s Role in the Transfer of Decentraliza (...)
  • 13 R. Wittlngton, M.C.J. Mayer and F. Curto, “Chandlerism in Post-war Europe: Strategic and Structura (...)

11It is, for example, well documented that the strength and the internationalisation of the American Consulting industry (most of all McKinseys) had an impact on the diffusion of the M-form in Europe.12 Further, it is claimed that the new post-war American inspired business schools advocated the model to European corporations.13 These observations make the ‘travel of idea perspective’ that is embedded in the changing position, into an interesting perspective for historical studies. To what extent did carriers of ideas - like the Consulting industry and the business schools - contribute to the introduction of the M-form or the personnel management idea in Europe? It is also obvious that we need to consider the country-specific institutional and economical contexts that dominated at the time that these models were introduced.

the introduction of a personnel management policy

  • 14 The following paragraphs are based primarily on research conducted by Notto Moseide in Norsk Hydro (...)

12Two years after the war, the management of Hydro initiated a process to change the organisational structure of the company.14 One result of this was the creation of a Personnel Department in 1953, one of the first in Norwegian companies. There are several indications that US influence was important, not least the fact that Fredrik Sejersted, who became the first Personnel Manager of Hydro, was sent to Harvard Business School in 1952 to participate in the four-week Advanced Management Programme.

  • 15 F. Sejested, Report of June 1952, Ad 02.6b.l.l, Norsk Hydro Archive, Oslo [hereafter NHA],

13At the beginning of the 1950s, the Human Relation tradition had begun to influence American business education, and this was reflected in the programme that Sejersted attended. One of the six topics that he studied was ‘Problems in Labor relations’. This topic interested him very much, and he strongly felt that he had witnessed a paradigm shift in management thinking. In a report on the tour he wrote: “The challenge to business people of our day is to make each individual respond to you - feel that he takes part in the enterprise as an individual. Whilst the first half of this century looked for technical and scientific development, will the second half of it place Human relation [sic] as main feature [ ?]”.15 He also visited several American companies, and saw how they organised their personnel policy. He was especially impressed by the way that General Motors had developed a System of evaluating its employees.

14However, despite this, it is obviously too simple to interpret the Hydro case only as an example of copying an American model. Norsk Hydro was a well-established company with its own tradition, and in the early 1950s it was clearly looking for inspiration to shape future development. The archives reveal that the management was aware of the fact that there were other sources than those in the US to learn from concerning personnel management. One of these was a new institution for executive training, the Administrative Research Foundation (AFF) attached to the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (established in 1951). This was inspired by the Henley academy and indirectly by the Harvard Business School. Led by Professor Rolf Waaler, it introduced organisational psychology and the human relations perspective to the Norwegian academic community. A third, and more important source, was Professor Sune Carlson at Uppsala University. It is obvious that the managers of Hydro were actively searching for different models when they started to plan their organisational process, and they were balancing their own background with these new sources at different stages of the process, both when they planned and when they implemented the personnel management idea.

  • 16 - Report from Alvem’s visit to Sweden 13 - 28 July 1948, K A5 01,1, NHA.

15At this time, Sune Carlson had a very good reputation as a management scholar in Scandinavia. As early as 1948, Hydro approached Carlson and asked him to make a report on “how different countries prepare companies to make organisational changes, especial concerning issues that deals with ‘the human factor’”. Carlson recommended Hydro to discuss the establishment of a Personnel Department.16 This advice was followed by several other concrete recommendations, and in 1950 Hydro established an ad hoc committee to prepare a Personnel Department. The decision to send Sejersted to the US and get more information on American personnel management must consequently been seen as an attempt to search for more knowledge to supplement Carlson’s recommendations and Hydro’s experiences.

16Finally, if we focus on Hydro’s implementation of the personnel management idea, we see that we cannot characterise the company’s practice as a copy of either of the models. It had not only been actively searching for and choosing among different models, but had also changed these ideas into something novel. Sejersted himself explicitly argued for the necessity of being critical in adopting foreign models. They had to be adapted to the Norwegian context. Some even had to be rejected. For instance, he did not think it suitable to adopt General Motor’s System of evaluating and rating their employees. Even though he was strongly impressed by this System, he felt it would be difficult to implement in the Norwegian context, where a close relationship between the national workers’ union, the employers’ organisation and the Labour Government was important.

17The Norwegian politico-economic situation is thus one explanatory variable. Another factor was that Sejersted and some other Hydro managers were influenced by the Moral Rearmament Movement (MRM). Their interest had been initially stimulated by personal contacts, but in 1948 Hydro sent 19 people - including some workers – to an MRM course in Denmark. Hydro employees later even went to MRM’s conference centre in Caux, Switzerland. This organisation, which originated in Oxford during the inter-war period, emphasised that personal improvement was the only way to a better world. Individual responsibility and change were preconditions for co-operation at the corporate level. Fredrik Sejersted made it clear that his contact with MRM had a profound impact on his vision of human affairs at Hydro. Without going into further details, we can conclude that the specific personnel management practice at Hydro in the late 1950s was inspired by Harvard, Sune Carlson and the Moral Rearmament Movement. Hydro had been searching for knowledge, and it had picked up different ideas and transformed them into a practice that was different from the American model, or indeed any other.

the introduction of the m-form

  • 17 The following paragraphs draw heavily on H.W. Andersen, Fra det britiske til det amerikanske produ (...)

18Formally, Norsk Hydro decided to divisionalise the company in 1964, and was one of the first companies in Norway to do so.17 Norsk Hydro was at this rime the largest manufacturing company in Norway with 9,500 employees, all of them in the country. In the following paragraphs, we demonstrate that the Hydro case fits several of the positions we have presented in the first part of the chapter, and we also include examples of the early introduction of the M-form in other Norwegian companies, including Elkem, which divisionalised in 1966.

  • 18 Channon 1973.

19First, we argue that the decision to divisionalise Hydro was an example of an organisation that copied the dominating actors within an organisational field. If we define the Chemical industry as an international field, we notice that the large corporations within the Chemical industry were among the first to divisionalise both in the US and the UK.18 If we then ask why a chemical company like Hydro followed the leading actors within the field, it is possible to agree with Chandler that there was an internal structural pressure caused by expansion and diversification, and that led to divisonalisation.

  • 19 P. Eliassen and B. AA Strøm, AV egen kraft: Hydro Aluminium Karmoy Fabrikker 1963-1988 Karmoy, Nor (...)
  • 20 B. Løland, “Hydro og oljen”, unpublished MA thesis, University of Oslo, 1997.

20In the case of Hydro, the production of fertilisers, which had been the company’s main product from its foundation in 1905, was still dominating, contributing about 70 per cent of turnover from several production units (see Table 1). However, Hydro had to some extent begun to diversify. During the late 1940s the company had decided to go into the production of metal (magnesium), and in 1963 it decided to go one step further and produce aluminium.19 In 1963 the company also began participating in a joint venture to search for oil in the North Sea.20

Table 1: Norsk Hydro turnover 1964/65

Nitrogen/Fertilisers

69 %

Magnesium

12 %

PVC

6 %

Other

13 %

Source: Annual Report

  • 21 The numbers of employees was approx. 8,200 at Akers Mek. Verk and 3,100 at Bergens Mek. Verksted ( (...)
  • 22 Andersen 1989: 379.

21The view that diversification took place before divisionalistion also seems to be true of other Norwegian companies that introduced the M-form in the mid-1960s. The shipbuilding company Aker Mek. Verksted had from the mid-1950s expanded rapidly by buying up several independent shipyards both on the east and west coasts of Norway. This expansion meant that the company extended its production line from building what could be described as tailor-made liners to building standardised oil tankers. It also diversified into the production of ships’ motors. In 1964 management decided to participate in the search for oil, and in 1965 the company invested in electronics. During this period of expansion and diversification, the staff function at headquarters level expanded both in activities and number of employees. When the company bought the second largest shipbuilding company in Norway, Bergens Mek. Verksteder,21 in 1965, the central administration became overloaded. According to the historian Håkon With Andersen, merging Bergen Mek. Verksted with Akers Mek. Verksted, threatened to tear the existing centralised organisation apart. Therefore, management decided to divisionalise.22

  • 23 Gammelsaeter 1991.

22The diversification argument is also valid for Elkem. When the Second World War ended, Elkem was a rather small, but knowledge-intensive engineering company, operating in a global market, and selling smelting knowledge to the electro-metallurgical industry in general and the aluminium industry in particular. During the 1950s, the company diversified into the production of aluminium, as well as mining and the production of rockwool. Based on this diversified structure, the company expanded prior to the decision to divisonalise in 1966.23

23As already noted, Fligstein has challenged the new institutional view that divisionalisation was a result of the search for economic efficiency. Fligstein argues that divisionalisation occurred because of competition among professional groups within the corporation to control the corporation. This view may be supported by empirical data from Norwegian companies. At Hydro, there were some changes among the managers below the CEO prior to the decision to divisionalise. The CEO, Rolf Østby, was appointed in 1956, and held this position to 1966. However, between 1960 and 1964, several other new members of the internal board were appointed. Among them were Johan B. Holte, director of research from 1960; Rolv Heggenhougen, technical director ; Fredrik Sejersted, director of legal affairs ; Reidar Thank-Nilesen, HRM director ; Odd Narud director of finance ; and Ulf Paust, marketing director. At Elkem and Aker, too, there were changes in the management just prior to the decision to divisonalise. in both cases, new CEOs were appointed in the late 1950s, and they were personally strongly involved in promoting organisational changes.

  • 24 R.P. Amdam, Utdanning, ekonomi og ledelse: Fremveksten av den oknomisk-administrative utdanningen (...)

24One thing that characterised the changes in the management of these companies was that business school graduates joined the senior group. Up to the 1960s, it was the engineers who had dominated among top managers in large Norwegian companies, and also in these particular companies.24 In a period when Norwegian industry in general experienced pressure to focus more on international horizons, the breakthrough of business school graduates among top management was an expression of a change in the professional background of managers and competition among professional groups. We can argue with Fligstein that the business school graduates represented a management style that wanted to focus more on market and financial issues.

25What we have presented so far shows that divisionalisation in these cases needs to be explained in terms of internal pressure, caused by diversification and expansion, external institutional pressure, caused by the need for changing the focus from the domestic to the international markets, as well as competition among professional groups. However, our arguments have been based on a functional view, and assume that that there was a correlation in time. But, as historians, we recognise the need to go beyond the functional level and investigate the concrete decision-making process that took place. If we do this, we see that we have to go beyond simple functional copying explanations. The Hydro case shows that there were very strong elements of choosing the organisational model as well as changing it.

26If we look closer at what went on inside Hydro, we see that the decision to divisionalise was a process of searching for a new organisational model. From the early 1950s, several committees were appointed in order to make organisational changes. One of them led to the already noted establishment of the Personnel Management Department in 1953. In 1958 a committee led by the secretary of the board, Hugo Berentzen, noticed that Hydro was very centrally organised. As a result of this work, Hydro introduced three permanent committees, one for each of the company’s main activities, fertilisers, magnesium, and plastics. These committees worked horizontally to counter the strong functional organisation that still dominated. Even though the concept ‘division’ was not mentioned in the debate, and the new committees did not have a strong and independent position, they represented a forerunner of the divisionalised company.

27In February 1962 a new organisational committee was appointed. It was this committee that one and a half years later suggested the adoption of the M-form. The purpose of the committee was to suggest changes in how the headquarter should be organised, and especially consider whether tasks should be decentralised. The committee started to search for organisational models. As a first step, three Norwegian companies were visited, namely Aker, and the mechanical engineering companies Kvaerner and Christiania Spigerverk, but the committee reported that it did not find any new ideas there. The next step was to visit some large Swedish chemical and mechanical engineering companies. At that time none of these Swedish companies had divisionalised, and the visits do not seem to have had any impact on the committee. The third step was to visit nine chemical companies in the US, including seven which were listed in the Fortune top 500. The committee noticed that seven out of nine companies had introduced the M-form. It was the meetings with these companies that made the committee suggest that Hydro should divisionalise.

28This was a real searching process, and we conclude that Hydro chose the M-form. When the process started, management did not have any very clear idea about which organisational form to chose. We should also add that there were no Consulting firm pushing — or advising — Hydro to divisionalise. It was only after the decision was made that management called upon a couple of consultant firms to help the company implement the new organisational form. We should, however, add that this was contrary to what happened at Elkem when that company decided to divisionalise. For here, the company was strongly encouraged over the M-form by the American consultant George Kenning.

  • 25 Based on several accounts by company veterans, both in individual interviews and in a history semi (...)
  • 26 R. Kvalshaugen and R.P. Amdam “Etablering og utvikling av norsk ledelseskulturer : Norsk kenningis (...)

29Elkem’s case is obviously in some respect very different from Norsk Hydro’s.25 Elkem had been a rather small company personnel-wise until the mid-1950s, and its growth as a production company throughout the 1960s involved both alliances with foreign companies and unusual sensitivity to American organisational ideals. Elkems’s reliance on the American consultant, the former general Motor employee Kenning, is particularly interesting here.26 Kenning’s main role was first and foremost to be a discussion partner for Elkem’s management about how to develop large-scale organisations. These discussions centred on principles of management, and only secondarily addressed the issue of the M-form. And here a somewhat functional explanation may well be relevant. For since Elkem had already been well exposed to managerial ideals that were complementary to the M-form model, to introduce it was really rather a small revolution. By the mid-1960s, the bulk of Elkem’s employees were newly employed and had been familiar with Kenning’s interpretation of American management ideas.

30As in Hydro’s case, other external channels that possibly could have pushed the idea of the M-form were absent. As far as we know, the idea of the M-form was not taught at any Norwegian business school, and the Norwegian business press did not publish anything on the M-form before 1965. This does not - of course - mean that the management of Hydro had no knowledge of the M-form. But the case gives a really strong impression of a searching process where management finally came up with a solution to learn from best American business practice.

31The Hydro case is not only an example of choosing a model. It is also an example of changing a model. Initially, the M-form was only partially adopted, since it was the magnesium activities alone that were divisionalised in 1964. The other activities remained managed within a functional organisation. One year after the magnesium division was established, the other parts were reorganised into single plastic and fertiliser divisions. However, it appears that this was only a ‘paper’ reorganisation. Even though Hydro formally divisionalised, the old functional organisation was not dissolved. The divisions were not very independent, and decentralisation of power and the division between strategic and operational decisions first took place only in the late 1970s, after Hydro had also established divisions for oil and aluminium production. Similarly, at Aker and Elkem, the M-form was only partially adopted. At Elkem, it was more than ten years after the M-form was formally adopted that decentralisation of power became a reality. At Aker, management even decided to go back to the functional organisation after a couple of years.

32The slow adaptation of the M-form - once it was introduced — can be explained by two factors. First, it is obvious that the companies needed to learn. But, secondly, all three companies (Hydro, Elkem, and Aker) used the M-form as a mean to organisational growth. There was an inherent contradiction between old management’s ideals of being the architect of growth, which was present in all three companies, and the adoption of an organisational model that called for decentralisation. They were not only changing a static organisation into a different format, because more than anything they needed to see their growth ambitions successfully materialise before they could fully accept the consequences of the process that had been started. In our opinion, this argument is particularly important in the case of Elkem, which in many respects was rather new as a large company and really should have been in a cultural position to go wholeheartedly into the M-form.

conclusion

33To understand the complexity of Americanisation in Western Europe, we need studies of American influence at national, regional, industry and firm levels. This paper has focused especially on the latter. From this perspective it is obvious that we cannot understand the Americanisation process only as a matter of diffusion, with a strong sender (the US) and models that were copied (or not) in receiving countries. Economic actors - in this case managers - used existing business networks with the US, and actively searched for knowledge both in the US and other places. We may say that the knowledge was chosen and changed in a new context. What exactly was chosen depended to a large extent on what was useful in the concrete context at hand. In our case the adaptation of American organisational models was to a large extent shaped by how well they fitted into the process of modernisation in Norway.

***

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Notes

1 R.P. Amdam, “Industrikomiteen i New York 1943-1945 - Ein kanal for kunnskapsoverforing frå USA til Norge”, Historisk tidsskrift, 1,2000, p. 3-21 ; K.A. Olsen, Norsk Hydrogjennom 50 år, Oslo, Norsk Hydro, 1955 ; E. Pedersen (ed.), Elektrokemisk A/S 1904-1954, Oslo, Elektrokemisk, 1954 ; K. Sogner and S.O. Hansen, “Selling knowledge : Elektrokemisk and the creation of a global innovation System”, paper presented at the Business History Conference, Miami, 20-22 April 2001.

2 W.W. Powell and RJ. Dimaggio (eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1991, p. 64, 70.

3 Ibid.

4 B. Kogut and D. Parkinson, “The Diffusion of American Organizing Principles to Europe”, in B. Kogut (ed.) Country Competitiveness : Technology and the Organizing of Work, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 192.

5 A.D. Chandler, Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1962.

6 e.g. R.P. Rumelt, Strategy, Structure and Economic Performance, Boston, Harvard Business School, 1986 ; B. Kogut and D. Parkinson, “Adoption of the Multidivisional Structure : Analyzing

7 History from the Start”, Industrial and Corporate Change, 7 (2), 1998, p. 249-273. N. Fligstein, The Transformation of Corporate Control, Cambridge, MA and London, Harvard University Press, 1990.

8 Kogut and Parkinson 1998:257.

9 B. Czarniawska and G. Sevon (eds.), Translating Organizational Change, Berlin and New York, Walter de Gruyter, 1996.

10 D.F. Channon, The Strategy and Structure of British Enterprises, Boston, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business, Harvard University, 1973 ; L. Hannah, The Rise of the Corporate Economy, 2 nd Ed., London, Methuen, 1983 ; Kogut and Parkinson 1993.

11 K. Sahlin-Andersson, “Imitating by Editing Success: The Construction of Organizational Field”, in B. Czarniawska, and G. Sevon (eds.), Translating Organizational Change, Berlin and New York, Walter de Gruyter, 1996.

12 C.D. McKenna, ‘“The American Challenge’: McKinsey & Company’s Role in the Transfer of Decentralization to Europe, 1957-1975”, Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 1997, pp. 226-231.

13 R. Wittlngton, M.C.J. Mayer and F. Curto, “Chandlerism in Post-war Europe: Strategic and Structural Change in France, Germany and the UK, 1950-1993”, Industrial and Corporate Change, 8 (3), 1999, pp. 519-550.

14 The following paragraphs are based primarily on research conducted by Notto Moseide in Norsk Hydro’s archive. See, N. Moseide, “Etableringen av en personaletat i Norsk Hydro 1947-1953”, unpublished MA thesis, University of Oslo 1998.

15 F. Sejested, Report of June 1952, Ad 02.6b.l.l, Norsk Hydro Archive, Oslo [hereafter NHA],

16 - Report from Alvem’s visit to Sweden 13 - 28 July 1948, K A5 01,1, NHA.

17 The following paragraphs draw heavily on H.W. Andersen, Fra det britiske til det amerikanske produksjonsideal, Trondheim, Tapir, 1989; H. Gammelsaeter, Organisasjosendringgjennom generasjoner av ledere, Molde, Moreforsking, 1991 and A. Ronning, unpublished paper on Hydro and the Nordic fertiliser market, 1997.

18 Channon 1973.

19 P. Eliassen and B. AA Strøm, AV egen kraft: Hydro Aluminium Karmoy Fabrikker 1963-1988 Karmoy, Norsk Hydro, 1989.

20 B. Løland, “Hydro og oljen”, unpublished MA thesis, University of Oslo, 1997.

21 The numbers of employees was approx. 8,200 at Akers Mek. Verk and 3,100 at Bergens Mek. Verksted (Norges 500 storste bedrifter, 1968)

22 Andersen 1989: 379.

23 Gammelsaeter 1991.

24 R.P. Amdam, Utdanning, ekonomi og ledelse: Fremveksten av den oknomisk-administrative utdanningen 1936-1986, Oslo, Unipub, 1999.

25 Based on several accounts by company veterans, both in individual interviews and in a history seminar, June 2001.

26 R. Kvalshaugen and R.P. Amdam “Etablering og utvikling av norsk ledelseskulturer : Norsk kenningisme”, Nordiske organisasjonsstudier, 2 (1), 2000, pp. 86-106.

Auteurs

Norwegian School of Management

Norwegian School of Management

© Publications de l’Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion, 2002

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