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Title: Cadbury on the Gold Coast, 1907-1938 : the dilemma of the model firm in a colonial economy
Author: Southall, Roger J.
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1975
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The thesis has three major themes. Firstly, it seeks to correct any lingering notion that the growth of the Gold Coast cocoa industry was primarily a response by indigenous producers to European leadership and initiatives. In this context, claims made by Cadbury that they fostered the early development of the industry are examined and dismissed, and it is argued that in reality the firm was forced to adapt itself to already existent marketing structures established by Gold Coast farmers and traders. Secondly, the thesis studies the interrelations between the expatriate buying firms and their contacts and conflicts with African producers; and it is suggested that increasing domination of the marketing structure by a relatively small group of buying firms nurtured a sense of grievance amongst producers which formed a backcloth to the momentous cocoa hold-up of 1937/38, when African resistance to the overbearing economic presence of the European cocoa firms undermined the political foundations of colonial rule. Thirdly, the two preceding themes are linked by the notion of Cadbury as a "Model Firm". Arriving on the Gold Coast in 1907, Cadbury were desirous of forming a constructive, non-exploitative relationship with the colonised people by aiding them in the development of their cocoa industry. Although the strategy which Cadbury adopted was ineffective in encouraging farmers to grow cocoa in the required "scientific" manner, it was successful in gaining the firm a favoured reputation with both the Colonial Administration and with producers themselves, and Cadbury were subsequently upheld as a model firm whose practices the other expatriate buyers would do well to follow. Yet in following years - between the two World Wars - this model status was eroded as Cadbury's orientation to cocoa buying became increasingly commercialised. Government and producers became increasingly alienated from the firm which both had formerly held in high esteem, and as Cadbury steadily strengthened their connections with other expatriate companies, producers correspondingly identified them as members of the European buying oligopoly or "pool" which they perceived as economically exploiting the farmer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available