Review Essay: Statistical Portraits of American Business Executives
Harvard NOM Working Paper No. 02-28
Posted: 22 Oct 2002
Since the early twentieth century, scholars have conducted statistical studies of groups of business leaders. These have often been extensive undertakings, calling for the collection of large quantities of information about business executives through the use of surveys, personal interviews, dictionaries, obituaries, and biographies. The scholars who have carried out these studies have come from a range of disciplines, including sociology, history, and economics. The questions they have asked have varied over time. Some have sought to uncover common characteristics among the executives themselves. Others have studied groups of businessmen in order to learn about society (especially the extent of social mobility), or about particular industries and the people who ran them. While the variety of approaches has led some to conclude that these studies present no coherent picture, this article shows an underlying pattern in these efforts and suggests a framework for future study.
Keywords: Business Executives, Social Mobility, Elite Studies, Taussig, Frank W., Mills, C. Wright, Miller, William
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