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Was Thatcherism Another Case of British Exceptionalism? A Provocation


  • Bernardo Batiz-Lazo

    () (Bangor University)

  • Andrew Edwards

    () (Bangor University)


This paper splits into two main ideas. First, provide a broad overview of the history of management thought in the UK, from its early manifestation in the 19th century to the establishment of the first business schools in London and Manchester in 1965. The second part of the paper deals with developments in the 1980s. Anecdotal evidence suggests that during the governments of Margaret Thatcher there was a radical shift in British management practice and thinking. Some of these changes ran in parallel to global trends in capitalism (and specifically the advent of neo-liberalism). Others were idiosyncratic to the UK. But there is no systematic evidence to clarify whether these changes resulted from deliberate action by the Thatcher government and its supporters in British industry or whether Mrs Thatcher became a rallying point for an episode of globalization. In short, was the era of the ÒWashington ConsensusÓ (Williamson, 1989) in Britain an episode of exceptionalism? Rather than offering empirical evidence to solve this question, the second and last part of the chapter puts forward a research agenda to explore changes in British management at the end of the 20th century.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernardo Batiz-Lazo & Andrew Edwards, 2015. "Was Thatcherism Another Case of British Exceptionalism? A Provocation," Working Papers 15008, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
  • Handle: RePEc:bng:wpaper:15008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Golbe, Devra L & White, Lawrence J, 1993. "Catch a Wave: The Time Series Behavior of Mergers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 493-499, August.
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    More about this item


    History of Management Thought; Neo-liberalism; globalization; Thatcher; UK;

    JEL classification:

    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • N8 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History

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