Hugo van Driel studied history of society at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His major field of interest is business history. He performed several historical studies, including his dissertation, of the port and transport business. The themes covered vary from cooperation between firms, business-government relations, innovation and learning, and cargo flows and handling costs to labour policy, organizational forms and social categories. Several of his articles are on path dependent processes, including an application to the genesis and development of the Toyota Production System. In addition, he published on middlemen in international trade, petty entrepreneurs, the managerial revolution, the backgrounds of top managers, and the use of rhetoric in establishing a contested industry.