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Management adaptation of business association services: long-term stability 1783-2012 and ‘change points’ for Irish chambers of commerce

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  • Bennett Robert J.

    () (Emeritus Professor of Geography University of Cambridge Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

Abstract

This paper seeks to fill an important gap in literature on institutional adaptation, using Irish chambers of commerce services to examine how managers of business associations adjust long-term balances in services, and respond to short-term challenges. The paper uses the theoretical expectations from collective action theory, transactions cost economics, the theory of organisational evolution and interactions with state supports to explore how the management strategies of chambers adapted to challenges from the economic and institutional environment. The paper demonstrates durability in the long term over the 200- year history of chambers, by an adaptation of service bundles and resource mixes, with major ‘change points’ being critical to re-balancing services and income sources. Using the example of challenges arising from the ‘change point’ of the Irish economic contraction 2008–2012, the paper shows how short-term adaptation mechanisms operate. Larger chambers generally survived better. Smaller chambers had more challenges, but demonstrate the durability of engaged management by volunteers.

Suggested Citation

  • Bennett Robert J., 2016. "Management adaptation of business association services: long-term stability 1783-2012 and ‘change points’ for Irish chambers of commerce," The Irish Journal of Management, Sciendo, vol. 35(1), pages 58-73, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:irjman:v:35:y:2016:i:1:p:58-73:n:4
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wolfgang Streeck & Philippe C. Schmttter, 1991. "From National Corporatism to Transnational Pluralism: Organized Interests in the Single European Market," Politics & Society, , vol. 19(2), pages 133-164, June.
    2. Robert J. Bennett & Paul J. A. Robson, 2004. "The role of trust and contract in the supply of business advice," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 471-488, July.
    3. Bennett, Robert J., 2011. "Local Business Voice: The History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland, and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199584734.
    4. Williamson, Oliver E, 1993. "Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 453-486, April.
    5. Doner, Richard F. & Schneider, Ben Ross, 2000. "Business Associations and Economic Development: Why Some Associations Contribute More Than Others," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 261-288, November.
    6. Robert J. Bennett, 2013. "Network interlocks: The connected emergence of chambers of commerce and provincial banks in the British Isles, 1767-1823," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(8), pages 1288-1317, November.
    7. Doner Richard F. & Schneider Ben Ross, 2000. "Business Associations and Economic Development: Why Some Associations Contribute More Than Others," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-29, December.
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