Business Organization in Late Developing Economies: A Dynamic and Comparative Analysis of the Urquijo Group (BOLDE)

Supported by: Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia. Dirección General de Investigación. Plan Nacional de I+D+i (Reference: ECO2009-10977/ECON)
From: 2010-01-01 To: 2012-09-30
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Leading Researcher

Puig, Nuria  

IBC Network members

Castro, Rafael


This project examines the relationship between business organization and economic development from an economic and business history perspective. It does so by systematically and comparatively analyzing the emergence and development of economic groups in Spain and Latin America, the starting hypothesis being that in late industrializing countries business groups constitute an efficient alternative to the large managerial firm. Business groups (in Latin America, economic groups) are defined here as sets of firms engaged in a wide variety of industries and services and held together by common ownership or ties of control, linked very often to a family and/or a bank. We suggest that the specific, mainly project execution, capabilities of economic groups allow them to seize the opportunities created in relatively backward, protected and intervened economies. Our research focuses on the group created around the Urquijo Bank. As the largest and most influential private business group in 20th century Spain, as well as an active partner in several Latin American groups, the Urquijo Group provides an excellent case study for testing available business group theories. The six tasks to be carried out over the next three years will consist of: 1.) identifying and establishing a typology of the most historically relevant business groups in Spain and Latin America; 2.) analyzing the Urquijo Bank in terms of industrial and entrepreneurial banking; 3.) analyzing the constellation of firms created by or around the Urquijo Bank and estimating their weight and impact in the Spanish economy; 4.) examining the recruitment and development of Urquijo’s top and middle management; 5.) analyzing the Group’s cultural activities.; and 6.) comparing the Urquijo Group with other Spanish and Latin American business groups, particularly with regard to their growth strategies and responses to major economic shocks.