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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.299) Chapter 11 Personnel
The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise

Gordon Boyce

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the role of executives within the Furness Group and the way in which they conducted the Group’s affairs. It seeks to determine the structure of Furness Withy’s personnel in 1919 and the disruptive factors that surrounded it, such as the First World War, and the withdrawal of the Furness family. It uses the structural management theories of Alfred Chandler, Edith Penrose, and Peter Payne to explain how ownership and control of Furness Withy became divorced, yet personal concerns and motivations continued to structure the company’s development. It also explores statements and publications written by Christopher Furness and his associates that illuminate his management strategies and incentives, and the organisational direction within the Group. At the core of the chapter is the question of whether the Group failed to consolidate their interests due to executives failing to implement their knowledge, or due to the administrative complexity surrounding the expansion efforts of the Group. It concludes that as the Furness family withdrew, their dynastic style of management continued to influence the next generation of leadership, a curious but not overtly hindering development.

Keywords:   British Enterprise, First World War, Furness Withy, Alfred Chandler, Walter Scott

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