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«January 2020»

Eastern European Business in a Global Perspective. The Leading Companies in the Early Twentieth Century

Leading – the largest, most profitable, innovative, and sustainable – companies, that is big business, have been in the focus of business history since the emergence of the field. However, concerning the industrial period, these studies have been based on data mostly from North America and Western Europe. My previous research demonstrated that the largest firms in the pre-World War I Russian Empire were large also by international standards, compared to the contemporary British, German, and French companies. Consequently, our understanding of global big business, its development and operation is distorted by the limited geographical scope of the data. In my proposed project, I intend to create a basis for a more comprehensive analysis of global big business before WWI by combining the already existing data from all over the world and including the largest Eastern European and Russian firms as well. The outcome will be an open-access dataset and an on-line interactive map of the world’s leading companies before WWI, as well as a research paper analyzing how the new information from Eastern Europe changes the global picture of big business. The online database and map are effective means to communicate the findings towards the international scholarship of the emergence of modern business enterprise. By this, the project aims to contribute to the integration of Eastern Europe into the study of a global history of business leadership and excellence in the past andpresent. Based on the research, I will prepare teaching materials for the course "History of Business in Eastern Europe and Russia in a Global Context."

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