This chapter presents the volume's main argument: that a decentralized organizational structure—constructed through the combination of private and Company trade—was the central pillar of the English East India Company's continued expansion and adaptability over nearly two centuries as a predominantly commercial operation. It delves into the history of the English East India Company and the reasons for its success. Additionally, the chapter also looks at alternative explanations for the success of the company. Finally, this chapter lays out the study's theoretical approach: by considering the micro-level behavioral patterns and opportunity structures that allowed for the development and transformation of the English Company and, through it, larger patterns of global trade.
Keywords: analytical sociology, global trade, monopoly, decentralized organizational structure, English East India Company, alternative explanations, micro-level behavioral patterns, opportunity structures
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