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Corporate Governance, Strategy and Structure in British Business History, 1950-2000


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  • Steve Toms
  • Mike Wright


This article examines why British firms adopted diversification strategies and multi-divisional structures in the middle of the twentieth century and why this strategy and structure was reversed towards the end. Corporate governance mechanisms and the impact on information costs of such monitoring arrangements are considered in conjunction with strategy and structure to explain these changes. Diversification and multi-divisional adoption were associated with ineffective governance, poor monitoring and poor performance, whilst refocusing and divestment after 1980 were associated with more effective monitoring and improved performance. The evidence suggests important relationships between governance, strategy and business performance that help explain the development of British business institutions in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Business History.

Volume (Year): 44 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 91-124

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Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:44:y:2002:i:3:p:91-124

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Cited by:
  1. Toms, Steven, 2008. "Calculating Profit: A Historical Perspective on the Development of Capitalism," The York Management School Working Papers 41, The York Management School, University of York.
  2. Toms, Steven, 2005. "Financial control, managerial control and accountability: evidence from the British Cotton Industry, 1700-2000," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 627-653.


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