Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The British gas industry, 1949 to 1970 : management strategies and government regulation.
Author: Jenkins, Andrew George.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3589 9376
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The theoretical literature on public ownership suggests many reasons for anticipating poor performance by publicly-owned firms, especially the lack of incentives for managers in uncompetitive environments combined with the problems of political interference. Yet the performance of the nationalized British gas industry in the post- war period was very impressive, with high rates of growth of output and productivity and the successful development of new techniques and new markets. To resolve this puzzle, the key factors to be examined are government/industry relations and strategic management. A detailed analysis of the evolution of government policy towards the nationalized industries in general and gas in particular, including the provision of funds for investment, pricing policies, the extent and quality of monitoring of the industry's performance and energy policy, reveals that government policy in the case of gas was more benign than for many of the nationalized industries. Management strategy is investigated by means of a comparison of two Area Gas Boards, the South Western and the East Midlands. Quantitative indicators show that the East Midlands Board enjoyed rapid sales growth for much of this period, and made use of a wide range of techniques for manufacturing and supplying gas. The South Western Board's sales performance was among the weakest in the industry and it remained committed to out-moded techniques based on coal for a long time. Underlying differences in the market/technological environments faced by the two Boards provide a major part of the explanation of these variations in business performance. However, the strategies adopted by the Area Boards are also shown to be important. In contrast to much existing literature on nationalized industries the emphasis here is on the autonomy enjoyed by managers in many crucial aspects of decision-making, the surprising strength of competitive forces acting on the gas industry, regional diversity, and the reasonably benign role played by government.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nationalized industries; Public enterprise