Geoffrey Jones

Geoffrey Jones
Harvard University | Harvard · Harvard Business School

PhD

About

278
Publications
120,289
Reads
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4,936
Citations
Citations since 2017
54 Research Items
2533 Citations
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Introduction
I research the history of global capitalism, including the responsibility of business. In 2017 I published the first global history of green entrepreneurship from the nineteenth century until the present day. Profits and Sustainability is published by Oxford University Press. I am currently writing a global history of responsible businesses which is provisionally entitled Profit or Purpose. I also co-direct the Creating Emerging Markets oral history project at Harvard Business School.
Additional affiliations
July 2000 - present
Harvard University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
July 1988 - July 2000
University of Reading
Position
  • Professor of Business History
August 1979 - July 1988
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
September 1974 - September 1977
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • economic history

Publications

Publications (278)
Article
Full-text available
We argue that the field of international business should evolve its rhetoric from the relatively uncontroversial idea that 'history matters' to exploring how it matters. We discuss four conceptual channels through which history matters, illustrating each with a major example. First, historical variation is at least a worthy complement to contempora...
Article
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This article examines why organic agriculture and food consumption developed more strongly in some countries than others between the 1970s and the 2000s. The focus is the limited growth of the New Zealand organic sector, which contrasts with countries such as Denmark which were similar in size and shared significant export agri-business sectors, bu...
Chapter
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This chapter uses the intellectual journey of the author as an international business scholar to suggest that crises have been the norm rather than the exception in the history of international business. Over the last 100 years world wars, regional conflicts, the Great Depression, and decolonization are among the shocks which have transformed the p...
Book
Society tends to glorify the get-rich-quick entrepreneur who builds a company, takes it public and then (maybe) contributes to charity. In Leadership to Last, the authors discuss the interviews they and other Harvard faculty have undertaken with iconic leaders in India who have demonstrated leadership to last. There are leaders from South Asia and...
Article
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This article examines the B Corporation movement that originated in the United States in 2006. The founders sought to create a new type of company whose governance structure mandated them to consider financial, social and environmental performance. A certification scheme was also introduced. In 2012 a group of Latin American business leaders took t...
Article
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This working paper examines the evolution of K-12 education in China, especially between 1985 and the present day, drawing extensive interviews with participants in the educational sector. China has been hugely successful in reaching almost 100 percent literacy, overcoming gender inequality in educational provision, and performing well in harmonize...
Article
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This article discusses the ethics and drivers of philanthropic foundations in emerging markets. A foundation organizes assets to invest in philanthropic initiatives. Previous scholarship has largely focused on developed countries, especially the United States, and has questioned the ethics behind the activities of foundations, particularly for stra...
Article
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This article examines how the film industry influenced prevailing gender and skin color stereotypes in India during the first four decades after Independence in 1947. It shows that Bollywood, the mainstream cinema in India, shared Hollywood's privileging of paler skin over darker skin, and its preference for presenting women in stereotypical ways l...
Article
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This working paper discusses the ethics and drivers of philanthropic foundations in emerging markets. A foundation organizes assets to invest in philanthropic initiatives. Previous scholarship has largely focused on developed countries, especially the United States, and has questioned the ethics behind the activities of foundations, particularly fo...
Chapter
International business (IB) as a discipline has given limited attention to contemporary grand challenges of inequality, global warming, aging populations, endemic health crises, and de-globalization, in all of which multinationals are either central to the problem or may offer some solutions. A historical perspective makes clear the reason for this...
Article
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This working paper examines the social impact of the film industry in India during the first four decades after Indian Independence in 1947. Its shows that Bollywood, the mainstream cinema in India and the counterpart in scale to Hollywood in the United States, shared Hollywood’s privileging of paler skin over darker skin, and preference for presen...
Chapter
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This chapter examines the evolution of luxury tourism and its environmental impact. Whilst mass tourism is widely seen as environmentally damaging, the impact of luxury tourism is nuanced. During the first stage of the growth in the nineteenth century, the numbers of people involved were small, and some companies understood the need to con serve th...
Article
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The last decade has witnessed an increasing interest in the use of history and historical research methods in strategy research. We discuss how and why history and historical research methods can enrich theoretical explanations of strategy phenomena. In addition, we introduce the notions of “history-informed strategy research,” distinguishing betwe...
Article
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We articulate the value of historical methods and reasoning in strategic entrepreneurship research and theory. We begin by introducing the papers in the special issue, contextualizing each within one of five broader methodological approaches, and elaborating on the applicability of each to other topics in entrepreneurship research. Next, we use the...
Article
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This article examines non-profit investments by business in education in emerging markets between the 1960s and the present day. Using a sample of 110 interviews with business leaders from a recently developed oral history database, the study shows that more than three-quarters of such leaders invested in education as a non-profit activity. The art...
Book
This book is the first systematic study of the business history of Turkey and its predecessor the Ottoman Empire from the nineteenth century until the present. It places the distinctive characteristics of capitalism in Turkey within a global and comparative perspective, dealing with three related issues. First it examines the institutional context...
Article
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This working paper examines why a significant number of businesses have made non-profit investments in education in emerging markets between the 1960s and the present day. Using a sample of 110 interviews with business leaders from an oral history database at the Harvard Business School, the study shows that more than three-quarters of such leaders...
Article
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This article engages in a methodological experiment by using historical evidence to challenge a common misperception about internalization theory.The theory has often been criticized for maintaining that it assumes a hierarchically organized MNE based on knowledge flowing from the home country. This is not an accurate description of how global firm...
Article
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This article highlights the benefits that rigorous use of oral history can offer to research on the contemporary business history of emerging markets. Oral history can help fill some of the major information voids arising from the absence of a strong tradition of creating and making accessible corporate archives in most countries in Africa, Asia, a...
Article
This is a podcast about a Harvard Business School case on the US cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein. Rubinstein, who was born in Poland and built businesses in Australia and France before moving to the United States during World War 1, was a pioneer of the American luxury cosmetics industry. She has been called the most successful female entr...
Article
This podcast examines the career of Ernesto Tornquist, a cosmopolitan financier considered to be the most significant entrepreneur in Argentina at the end of the 19th century. He created a diversified business group, linked to the political elite, integrating Argentina into the trading and financial networks of the first global economy. The Harvard...
Chapter
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This chapter examines international business in emerging markets over the long run. It shows how the strategies of Western multinationals evolved over time. In the first era of globalization in the nineteenth century, Western firms sought access to resources, and they faced little political risk due to Western imperialism. The main risks were logis...
Research
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Business history and strategy research have traditionally had a close relationship. Thus, Chandler’s seminal research is often seen as key input into the development of strategy as an academic research field. Historical research methods and historical data are used to study a diverse set of strategic issues including industry evolution, technology...
Article
Full-text available
This working paper highlights the benefits that rigorous use of oral history can offer to research on the contemporary business history of emerging markets. Oral history can help fill some of the major information voids arising from the absence of a strong tradition of corporate archives in most countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Oral his...
Article
Full-text available
This article contributes to the literature on political risk in business and economic history by examining both new perspectives (risk encountered by companies domestically, rather than risk for foreign investors) and new settings (emerging markets economies in Latin America and South Asia). It makes use of the Creating Emerging Markets oral histor...
Article
This article examines how businesses perceived political risk in South Asia and Latin America over the last half century. Employing data from an oral history database at Harvard Business School, the article identifies five major sources of political risk: macroeconomic and policy turbulence, excessive bureaucracy, political instability, corruption,...
Book
Published at a time of ever-increasing warnings that the pace of climate change and other environmental changes risks making the Earth unsustainable within our own lifetimes, this book looks at the past of green business to identify lessons for the future. It provides rich new evidence and insights on green business as it examines its variation bet...
Article
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This working paper examines the impact of modern business enterprise on the natural environment of Latin America during the globalization waves between the nineteenth century and the present day. It argues that although global capitalism created much wealth for the region, this was at the cost of massive ecological destruction in Latin America. Dur...
Article
Full-text available
This article engages in a methodological experiment by using historical evidence to challenge a common misperception about internalization theory. The theory has often been criticized for maintaining that it assumes a hierarchically organized MNE based on knowledge flowing from the home country. This is not an accurate description of how global fir...
Article
Full-text available
This working paper provides a new perspective on how businesses have responded to political risk in South Asia and Latin America over the last half century. The existing business history literature on political risk is focussed on the experiences of Western multinationals in the twentieth century, especially in Nazi Germany and the post-colonial de...
Chapter
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This chapter explores the British experience in a volume which examines the historical evolution of business groups in developed Western economies. The chapter argues that during the nineteenth century British merchant houses established business groups with diversified portfolio and pyramidal structures overseas, especially in developing economies...
Article
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Reviews current methodologies employed in business history, including Chandlerian, econometric, history of capitalism, organizational history, transnational history and the alternative business history of emerging markets. Calls for business historians to invest energy in debating alternative approaches, and generally raising methodological standar...
Article
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This article suggests that the business history of emerging markets should be seen as an alternative business history, rather than merely adding new settings to explore established core debates. The discipline of business history evolved around the corporate strategies and structures of developed economies. The growing literature on the business hi...
Book
This book provides the first global history of green entrepreneurship from the nineteenth century to the present day. Beginning with pioneering (and often eccentric) figures in organic foods and wind and solar industry before World War 1, the book follows the story of the remarkable men and women who defied convention and imagined that business cou...
Article
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The article discusses the growth of the beauty industry in Latin America, and its bias towards celebrating whiter rather than dark skins. Although alleged Latin American fascination with beauty is regularly ascribed to culture, Latin sensuousness and machismo attitudes, this article shows that the growth of the industry was shaped by corporations l...
Article
Emerging markets are characterized by underdeveloped institutions and frequent environmental shifts. Yet they also contain many firms that have survived over generations. How are firms in weak institutional environments able to persist over time? Motivated by 69 interviews with leaders of emerging market firms with histories spanning generations, w...
Article
Research Summary: Emerging markets are characterized by underdeveloped institutions and frequent environmental shifts. Yet they also contain many firms that have survived over generations. How are firms in weak institutional environments able to persist over time? Motivated by 69 interviews with leaders of emerging market firms with histories spann...
Article
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Between the 1970s and the 2000s, Costa Rica became established as the world’s leading ecotourism destination. This article argues that although Costa Rica benefited from biodiversity and a pleasant climate, the country’s preeminence in ecotourism requires more than a natural resource endowment explanation. While previous literature has emphasized t...
Chapter
The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications employs a variety of empirical methodologies to establish two broad regularities that apply to international activity at the firm, industry, and country levels - the law of semiglobalization and the law of distance - and explores some of their implications for business. Part I presents evidence in...
Article
Background : Implementation of the educational milestones benefits from mobile technology that facilitates ready assessments in the clinical environment. We developed a point-of-care resident evaluation tool, the Mobile Medical Milestones Application (M3App), and piloted it in 8 North Carolina family medicine residency programs. Objective : We s...
Article
Full-text available
More information at http://sej.strategicmanagement.net/entrepreneurship_and_strategy.php
Article
Between the 1970s and the 2000s Costa Rica became established as the world’s leading ecotourism destination. This working paper suggests that although Costa Rica benefited from biodiversity and a pleasant climate, the country’s preeminence in ecotourism requires more than a natural resource endowment explanation. The paper argues that the ecotouris...
Book
During the first global economy of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Argentina became one of the richest countries on earth, while Chile was an economic backwater. During the contemporary era of globalization, liberalization and institutional reforms in Chile provided a context in which business grew, while in Argentina, inst...
Article
Diversified business groups are well-known phenomenon in emerging markets, both today and historically. This is often explained by the prevalence of institutional voids or the nature of government-business relations. It is typically assumed that such groups were much less common in developed economies, and largely disappeared during the twentieth c...
Article
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This Harvard Business School case, co-authored with Alexander Atzberger, explores the creation of the Rolex watch by Hans Wilsdorf in the early twentieth century, and how he developed it as a luxury brand. At the time Wilsdorf entered the watch industry, watches were carried in pockets, while the few wristwatches in existence were worn by upper cla...
Article
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This article examines the emergence and development of what became the largest business group in Turkey, the Koc Group. This venture was an important actor in the emergence of modern business enterprise in the new state of the Republic of Turkey from the 1920s. After World War II it diversified rapidly, forming part of a cluster of business groups...
Article
We develop a theory of reputation as a key determinant of long run success in emerging markets. We conceptualize reputation as a meta-resource that can substitute for voids in information intermediaries by providing transactional confidence through informational cues. This allows a firm to better capitalize on new opportunities and respond to threa...
Article
Business history has long been recognized as providing an important dimension to international-business (IB) studies. Much of this historical work has focused on mapping historical growth patterns of multinational enterprises (MNEs) but there is also a growing literature on the longterm impact of MNE investment on host economies, and this paper rev...
Article
Global Firms and the Imagination of Beauty This article uses the methodology of business history to highlight the role of business enterprises as influences on ideals of human beauty. The homogenization of such ideals has been one of the most noteworthy features of globalization over the last two centuries. This study suggests that firms were both...
Article
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This working paper examines the role of entrepreneurs in the municipal solid waste industry in industrialized central and northern Europe from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s. It explores the emergence of numerous German, Danish and other European entrepreneurial firms explicitly devoted to making a profitable business out of conserving...
Article
A study of the marketing and strategic challenges faced by natural beauty brands using the case of Australian-based Jurlique, which was acquired by Pola of Japan in 2011. The case opens two years later in July 2013 when Sam McKay, the chief executive officer, on a visit to Pola's head office in Tokyo, heard news of critical comments about the compa...
Book
First Published in 1989. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company. © 1989 Frances Bostock and Geoffrey Jones. All rights reserved.
Book
This volume contains a selection of 42 foundational articles on the discipline of business history written between 1934 and the present day. A wide-ranging editorial introduction describes the formation and evolution of the discipline from its origins at the Harvard Business School in the late 1920s. Over the following century the discipline and it...
Article
This working paper examines the origins and development of the Koc Group, which grew to be the largest business group in Turkey. This enterprise was an important actor in the emergence of modern business enterprise in the new state of the Republic of Turkey from the 1920s. After World War II it diversified rapidly, forming part of a cluster of busi...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the evolution of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. It focuses on two companies, Bayer and Henkel, and traces the evolution of their environmental strategies in response to growing evidence of pollution and resulting political pressures. Although German business has...
Article
A study of the creation and early growth of California-based TATCHA, a Japanese-themed luxury beauty brand. It explores how Vicky Tsai developed the concept, assembled financial and management resources, and launched the first product of Japanese blotting paper in 2009 using a grassroots marketing campaign. Identifying a 200-year old book employed...
Article
This working paper integrates the role of entrepreneurship and firms into debates on why Asia, Latin America and Africa was slow to catch up with the West following the Industrial Revolution and the advent of modern economic growth. It argues that the currently dominant explanations, which focus on deficient institutions, poor human capital develop...
Book
Full-text available
This book examines the history of entrepreneurship and multinationals in the making of the modern world. It examines the role of firms as shapers of global capitalism, their influence as opposed to other actors such as governments, and whether their impact was overall positive or negative. The chapters cover a range of topics, including studies of...
Article
This working paper examines the growth of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. It focuses on two companies, Bayer and Henkel and traces the evolution of their environmental strategies in response to growing evidence of pollution and resulting political pressures. Although German business h...
Article
This working paper examines the evolution of concepts of the responsibility of business in a historical and global perspective. It shows that from the nineteenth century American, European, Japanese, Indian and other business leaders discussed the responsibilities of business beyond making profits, although until recently such views have not been m...
Article
Business and Government in the Oil Industry: A Case Study of Sun Oil, 1876–1945. By GiebelhausAugust W.. Greenwich, Conn., JAI Press, 1980. Pp. xvi + 332. $29.50. - Volume 54 Issue 4 - Geoffrey Jones
Article
Britain's Oil. By ArnoldGuy. North Pomfret, Vermont, Hamish Hamilton, 1978. Pp. xi + 388. $25.00. - Volume 54 Issue 3 - Geoffrey Jones
Article
This working paper examines the creation of the global natural food and beauty categories before 2000. This is shown to have been a lengthy process of new category creation involving the exercise of entrepreneurial imagination. Pioneering entrepreneurs faced little consumer demand for natural products, and little consumer knowledge of what they ent...
Article
A case study of the global growth of the Brazilian cosmetics giant Natura, exploring the relative attractiveness of developed versus emerging markets as locations for their investment

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Projects

Projects (6)
Project
To develop methodologies which will enhance the appeal and impact of business history among other academic disciplines.
Project
To promote research on the business history of Africa, Asia and Latin America in order to shift the focus of the discipline from the developed West and Japan.
Project
To map the history and impact of the global beauty industry