Francis X. Sutton

Francis Xavier Sutton (July 7, 1917 - Dec. 18, 2012) was an American social scientist, official of the Ford Foundation, and business theorist. Sutton received his BA at Temple in 1938, his MA at Princeton in 1940, and his PhD in sociology at Harvard in 1950.

Quotes edit

  • A comparative social science requires a generalized system of concepts which will enable the scientific observer to compare and contrast large bodies of concretely different social phenomena in consistent terms.
    • David Aberle, Albert K. Cohen, A. K. Davis, Marion J. Levy Jr. and Francis X. Sutton, (1950). T"he functional prerequisites of a society." Ethics, 60(2), p. 100; cited in: Neil J. Smelser (2013), Comparative Methods in the Social Sciences. p. 189
  • A World to Make treats a subject that is both complex and controversial. Since the end of the Second World War, and with increasing rapidity in the 1950s and 1960s, Europe's former colonial possessions acquired independence and emerged as new states with new frontiers. That process proved to be immensely difficult both for those who had recently acquired their independence and for those in Latin America and elsewhere who had enjoyed that status for a century or longer.
Earlier paradigms of development have either broken down or have been subject to serious modification. The chemistry of development reveals itself as an unstable compound of diverse political, social, cultural, and intellectual elements, not to speak of many that remain primarily economic. The conflicts and institutional interests are so varied that any simple theory of nation building or modernization modeled on past patterns of development in the capitalist West or Communist East seem inadequate.
  • Francis Xavier Sutton. A World to Make: Development in Perspective. Transaction Publishers, 1990. Book abstract

"Achievement norms and the motivation of entrepreneurs," 1954 edit

Francis X. Sutton, "Achievement norms and the motivation of entrepreneurs." Entrepreneurs and economic growth (1954).

  • Characteristically, the factors determining, the outcome of business efforts are numerous, and difficult both to assess and control. The sale of goods on a more or less free market is, of course, one major source of these difficulties; the disposition of buyers are subject to only limited control and prediction. They in turn are influenced by those diffuse but important factors which go under the label of general business conditions. Even within the context of a given firm there may be conditions and possible courses of action (such as personal appointments, or the performance of certain equipment) which may be beyond ready prediction and control. A great part of the efforts of entrepreneurs is directed towards minimising uncertainties.
  • It is characteristic of executive roles that they are specialized for the handling of situations which call for something more than routine action. When business executives are asked what is the essential content of their roles, they characteristically say, 'We make decisions.' This emphasis on decision-making is symptomatic of a specialized concern of executives with situations in which there is significant uncertainty as to the results of proper courses of action. (One does not make a 'decision' when there is a predictable, correct outcome, as in getting the sum of a column of figures.)
  • Businessmen have not shied away from the responsibility implied in Emerson's famous definition of a business as the lengthening shadow of a man. They have readily brushed aside complications and assigned crucial importance to the decisions of the guiding executives.
  • The logical reader can only conclude that had Mr. Du Pont been as devoted to the facts as Mr. Sloan alleges, he would have been paralyzed in indecision, or even more, he certainly have discontinued the production of Chevrolets.
  • There is a strong tendency among businessmen to emphasize that their decisions are based on 'facts' and thus to make favorable outcomes the consequence of perspicacity and 'judgment' rather than good fortune.
    • p. 23
  • The key definitions for the entrepreneur seem to centre around the concept of responsibility. Responsibility implies individualism. It is not tolerable unless it embraces both credit for success' and blame for failures, and leaves the individual. free to claim or accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
    • Cited in: Aslan Mordecai. Work and Family life. PhD Thesis Brunel University, December 1976.

The American Business Creed. 1956 edit

Francis X. Sutton, Seymour Harris, and Carl Haysen. The American Business Creed. 1956.

  • Viewed schematically, the activities of governments involve first the politician, who buys votes for the party in power; then the impractical theorist in the civil service — usually a professor in disguise — who conceives grandiose and unworkable plans; finally, these are executed and administered by the hidebound bureaucrat. The characteristic vices of these three species of homo politicus differ, , but they share a common feature: the absence of those personal virtues possessed by businessmen. Their heads are neither clear, hard, nor level; none of them is really honest; all of them lack practical imagination and the desire to get things done.Their heads are neither clear, hard, nor level; none of them is really.
  • Extravagance, inefficiency, and waste are inherent in government, because nothing which government does is forced to meet the test of the market. Further, government does not even meet the internal criteria of rationality which the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement impose on every individual business enterprise. The power of government to pay for itself through taxes and deficits, and to force on people things which they do not really want, deprives government activity of any semblance of restraint.
    • p. 194, ; Cited in: Warren J. Samuels. The concepts of major business and labor organizations on the role of government in the economy, Volume 1. University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1957. p. 168
  • In contrast to such organizations as governments and universities, the prime criteria of business achievement are relatively definite and tangible. These standards include profitability, percentage control of the market, size of firm, and rate of growth.
    • p. 328; Cited in: Scott Andrew Shane (2002), The Foundations of Entrepreneurship - Volume 1 . p. 525

Quotes by Francis X. Sutton edit

  • In an interesting example of partial cognition, the authors of The American Business Creed present an analysis on the basis of selected materials. But what is the basis upon which the selection is made? They maintain that their material are representative of what American businessman think. Many of the quotations presented as American Business thought, however, are from professional writings. Others are from trade groups which represent only a small portion of the business community.

External links edit