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The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business EnterpriseThe Furness Interest, 1892-1919$
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Gordon Boyce

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497391

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497391.001.0001

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(p.213) Chapter 8 Structure
The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise

Gordon Boyce

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the ownership of the Furness Group and the impact of closely-knit shipping companies on the group’s overall administrative structure. It uses Alfred Chandler’s patterns of expansion - vertical integration and horizontal combination - to provide an overview of the growth of large companies in both British and American markets, before turning attention to the structural dynamics of the Furness Group itself. It explores the patterns of internal ownership beginning with Christopher Furness’ holdings over time before moving into discussion of consolidation under the Furness Group, and through to the management of new subsidiaries. It also explores the company’s decision-making and administrative processes in the shipping sector between 1901 and 1912, and the course of administrative adjustment between 1900 and 1919. The relationship between the Furness Group, British Maritime Trust (BMT), and Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) comes under close scrutiny throughout the chapter, and the management structure after Christopher Furness’ death in 1912 also comes under analysis. It concludes that much of the company was shaped by Furness’ personal influence and stature, so much so that his succession would undoubtedly necessitate change to its internal structure and a shift toward a more ‘businessman-like’ management.

Keywords:   Shipowning Administration, Shipping Management, British Maritime Trust, Chesapeake and Ohio Steamship Company

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