Ford as entrepreneur

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December 2010
Introduction to Entrepreneurship | Rubén Rodríguez Fernández |

Solvay Business School | Asignment 4; Individual Case |

My assignment will be focused on one of the most important entrepreneurs in history; Henry Ford. I choosed this company, because it revolutionized the automobile industry worldwide. Henry Ford changed the organization, the labor market and theconception of customers.

enry Ford, born July 30, 1863, grew up on a prosperous farming family in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry enjoyed the typical childhood of the rural nineteenth century. At an early age, he already showed an interest in mechanical things and a dislike for farm work. In 1879, sixteen-year-old Ford left home for the nearby city of Detroit to work as an apprenticemachinist. During the next few years, Henry divided his time between operating or repairing steam engines, occasional work in a Detroit factory, and over-hauling his father's farm implements. In 1891, Ford became an engineer in Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. This event supposed for Ford the conscious decision of dedicating his life to industrial pursuits. In 1893 he had earned enough moneyand sufficient time to devote attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of his self-propelled vehicle-the Quadricycle.
After two unsuccessful attempts to establish a company to manufacture automobiles, the Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903, with Henry Ford as vice-president and chief engineer. HenryFord realized that his dream of manufacturing and selling automobiles was reasonably priced, reliable, and efficient with the introduction of the Model T in 1908. This vehicle initiated a new era in personal transportation. It was easy to operate, maintain, and handle on rough roads, which made it become a huge success in a short period of time.
Ford was the creator of the assembly line techniqueand mass production. His introduction of the Model T revolutionized transportation and the worldwide automobile industry. He was credited with "Fordism", which means, mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and businessinnovations, including a franchise system that put a dealership in every continent. Ford left most of his wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently.
In September 1945, in ill health, Ford ceded the presidency to his grandson Henry Ford II and retired. He died in 1947 of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 83 in Fair Lane.

NTERNATIONAL CONTEXTn the period from the last half of the 19th century until about the time of World War I, the world was emerged in the Second Industrial Revolution. According with the definition of the historical books, it was characterized for the rapid industrial development in America and Western Europe. Also in this period some of the most important changes was the internal combustion engine, the airplane,the massive production, the radio, the railroads, the expansion of the petroleum and also the telephone. As we will see a few paragraphs down, Ford was in relation with three of these important changes during the Second Industrial Revolution.
In the 2nd I.R. the source of energy changes from the coal in the First Industrial Revolution to the petroleum and the electricity. In reference to thetransport, the railroads still was the most popular road vehicle. Nevertheless thanks to Ford, the car started to increase the importance in the road transport.
If I focused in US context the Gilded Age in America was based on heavy industry such as factories, railroads and coal mining. During the Gilded Age, American manufacturing production passed Britain and took world leadership. By 1900, the...
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