Organisational closure : a political perspective
This thesis examines the question of organisational closure. Britain with its economic problems has, over recent years, seen an unprecedented number of factory closures as firms have collapsed or rationalised manufacturing operations in attempts to naintain profitability. Attempts to control inflation have led successive governments to reduce expenditure. Consequently, nationalised industries, local government, the civil service, and education, health and social services have also had to face reductions in manning and other facilities. This research addresses a very real empirical problem which faces contemporary Britain. It focuses on the response to closure. Closure, undoubtedly, represents a traumatic experience for those involved. Despite this, it would appear that many closures go ahead quietly and, from a managerial viewpoint, successfully. In contrast, however, a few closures have provoked well-publicised resistance campaigns. In an attempt to explain why these responses should arise, the research has focused on the management of closure and the power relations of the groups involved. Closure represents an arena in which power and politics are brought into play. Two aspects of power have been found to be significant. Overt power is used when parties are engaged in open conflict. Unobtrusive power, on the other hand, is used more subtlely to legitimise actions so that opposition does not arise. In the case of closure, groups have been found to use devices to legitimise and justify closure, thereby gaining acceptance of it or, in the case of opposition, "delegitimise" it in an attempt to prevent it. The methodology has been qualitative. It is argued that, by collecting unstructured in-depth data from different examples of closure and comparing them, the nuances and subtleties of unobtrusive power have been brought to light and the limited knowledge of closure greatly extended.