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Title: Financial control and management by committee at J & P Coats Ltd., 1890-1960
Author: Wallace, Kirsten.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3557 319X
Awarding Body: University of Paisley
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2003
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the management of one of Britain's most important multination companies, J & P Coats Ltd., for the time period 1890-1960, a topic which has not hitherto fore been examined in detail. In particular, the thesis will look at the firm's financial and accounting systems, insofar as the surviving records permit, going on to examine the system of committees by means of which the enterprise was controlled and directed over the time concerned. The thesis reveals that the financial system run by the company reflects the tight control exercised by the committee system, and indeed, was indispensable to it. As a theoretical focus, the study compares what is found with the writings of Alfred D. Chandler Jnr., who held that, in general, British family capital and management of businesses inhibited their growth and development as compared with firms in the USA, in particular. The thesis concludes that Coats did not fit this interpretation, and was highly successful in spite of departing from the M-Form organisational structure regarded by Chandler as the key to the success of large American enterprises. The thesis also highlights some errors made by Chandler in his discussion of J & P Coats. Chapter One deals with the sources used for the study as well as the theoretical focus, and provides a literature review. Chapter Two gives a short prehistory of J & P Coats up to 1890. Chapter Three sets the scene for the main part of the study by providing, for the first time, an outline business history of the firm between 1890 and 1960. Accounting systems and financial management arrangements are considered in Chapter Four, followed in Chapter Five by a detailed study of the management committees used to run J & P Coats. Chapter Six contains a final discussion and conclusions. It is clear from the above that the thesis makes a major contribution to knowledge in several ways. It provides the first in-depth study of the management of one of Britain's largest and most successful multinational companies, clarifying the relationships between organisational structure and financial arrangements. At the same time it provides evidence which further destabilises the theories of Chandler, concluding that Coats' approach to management, although in some ways unique, was appropriate to its aims.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Corporate accounts