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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.321) Chapter 12 Furness
The Growth and Dissolution of a Large-Scale Business Enterprise

Gordon Boyce

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses the entrepreneurship of Christopher Furness with regard to shaping both the internal organisation and external activity of the Furness Group. It provides a thorough account of his personal reputation and cultivated image, his creative talent within the business, his approaches to product development, cost-effective technologies, and sales deficiencies, and the way he generated productive opportunities in the external shipping environment. It considers how he structured and organised the Group and worked to ensure his successors would follow the same format. Finally, it identifies the way in which he attempted to modify environmental constraints to nullify the threat of external market uncertainty. Furness’ business and political writings are core sources for this study. It concludes that his style of entrepreneurship was liberal, laissez-faire, waste-resistant, reputation dependent, expansive, and, above all else, concerned with sustaining a business empire. His dynastic sensibilities led him to leave the business to his nephews rather than his son, whom he did not consider qualified to run the business.

Keywords:   Victorian Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, West Hartlepool, Maritime Politics, Liberal Entrepreneurs

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