Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Professor Gerald Gunderson


One hundred years after its dissolution, the Standard Oil Company retains its tarnished reputation for unscrupulous and anticompetitive behavior. Though this reputation has in many ways demonstrated what firms should not do, this paper examines the ways in which Standard Oil showed America how to successfully manage a rapidly growing business. The 19th Century saw a total upheaval of the American economy. With the Industrial Revolution and development of Big Business, American enterprise was forced to adapt and evolve. In the subsequent period of change in business organization, The Managerial Revolution, Standard Oil was among the most successful large firms, and must have made critical contributions to modern management that changed American business. This paper examines how the Standard Oil Company changed the way America does business, through the evolution of modern management and organization, by way of a case study of the Standard Oil’s most prominent management innovations and techniques and the economic impact on the firm. The paper will then analyze the impact of Standard’s practices by examining firms that imitated these management techniques and the correlating economic effects for each firm. Standard Oil did have a serious impact on modern American business as it established the successful route to corporate size of Horizontal Combination, consolidation, and Vertical Integration which was imitated by many in many industries.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Economics.