Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Selling Organizations in America

Paperback | March 15, 1990

byNicole Woolsey Biggart

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Tupperware Home Parties, Shaklee Corporation, Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics—theirs is an approach to business that violates many of the basic tenets of modern American commerce. Yet these direct selling organizations, fashioned by charismatic leaders and built upon devoted armies of door-to-door representatives, have grown to constitute an $8.5 billion a year industry and provide a livelihood for more than 5 million workers, the vast majority of them women.

The first full-scale study of this industry, Charismatic Capitalism, revises the standard contention that the rationalization of social institutions is an inevitable consequence of advanced capitalism. Nicole Woolsey Biggart argues instead that less rational organizations built on social networks may actually be more economically viable.

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From Our Editors

The first full-scale study of this industry, Charismatic Capitalism revises the standard contention that the rationalization of social institutions is an inevitable consequence of advanced capitalism. Nicole Woolsey Biggart argues instead that less rational organizations built on social networks may actually be more economically viable...

From the Publisher

Tupperware Home Parties, Shaklee Corporation, Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics—theirs is an approach to business that violates many of the basic tenets of modern American commerce. Yet these direct selling organizations, fashioned by charismatic leaders and built upon devoted armies of door-to-door representatives, have grown to constitute an...

From the Jacket

The first full-scale study of this industry, Charismatic Capitalism revises the standard contention that the rationalization of social institutions is an inevitable consequence of advanced capitalism. Nicole Woolsey Biggart argues instead that less rational organizations built on social networks may actually be more economically viable...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:231 pages, 8.46 × 5.55 × 0.6 inPublished:March 15, 1990Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226047865

ISBN - 13:9780226047867

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction
2. The Economic History of Direct Selling
3. Changing Conditions of Work and the Growth of DSOs
4. Family, Gender, and Business
5. The Business of Belief
6. Charisma and Control
7. Economic Uses of Social Relations
Appendix
A Note On Methods
Notes
Index

From Our Editors

The first full-scale study of this industry, Charismatic Capitalism revises the standard contention that the rationalization of social institutions is an inevitable consequence of advanced capitalism. Nicole Woolsey Biggart argues instead that less rational organizations built on social networks may actually be more economically viable.