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Technological change and the governance of joint-stock enterprise in the early nineteenth century: The case of coastal shipping

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  • Mark Freeman
  • Robin Pearson
  • James Taylor

Abstract

Recent studies of the innovation process have viewed it as the outcome of organizational dynamics rather than as the product of technological developments exogenous to the governance of firms. We apply this approach to our examination of British coastal shipping companies during the early nineteenth century as they grappled with the problem of making a successful transition from sail to steam technology. Within the industry there were contrasting responses to this transition, but also common elements in the decision-making process. Before the 1840s, there remained a widespread assumption of shareholder involvement in this sector as in others. The evidence suggests that shipping company directors were generally able to determine resource-allocation decisions, but not without first taking into account governance relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Freeman & Robin Pearson & James Taylor, 2007. "Technological change and the governance of joint-stock enterprise in the early nineteenth century: The case of coastal shipping," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 573-594.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:49:y:2007:i:5:p:573-594
    DOI: 10.1080/00076790701427630
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Whatley,Christopher A., 1997. "The Industrial Revolution in Scotland," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521572286, May.
    2. Whatley,Christopher A., 1997. "The Industrial Revolution in Scotland," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576437, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Helen Doe, 2010. "Waiting for her ship to come in? The female investor in nineteenth-century sailing vessels," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 85-106, February.
    2. Nicholas Kyriazis & Theodore Metaxas, 2011. "Path dependence, change and the emergence of the first joint-stock companies," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(3), pages 363-374.

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