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Title: Banking on promotion : employment and identity in Scottish banking, 1850-1939
Author: Taylor, Martin
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the relationship between employment and the social identity of bank staff in Scotland during the period 1850-1939. Bank staff are used as an example of the lower middle class of minor professionals and clerks, a then growing social stratum that has received limited academic attention. The thesis critically reassesses existing accounts by adopting a quantitative prosopographical approach as well as economic theories previously unused in historical research. The thesis can be split into three sections. The first section (chapters 2 - 3) outlines the business of banking in Scotland and the business of the Royal Bank of Scotland. This provides a context that informs the subsequent analysis of employment and identity. Both chapters depict banking in Scotland as passing through three phases. These are distinguished on the basis of the structure of the sector, the organisational form adopted by the banks and geographical scope of their business, as well as the competitive arrangements reached and approach to asset management. In addition the conduct of banking is considered, then the internal organisation and management of the banks outlined. The second section of the thesis (chapters 4 - 6) examines the economics of bank employment. Chapter 4 considers the establishment, then development during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century at the Royal Bank of what is identified as an internal labour market, a concept introduced from the economics literature. It concludes the arrangements reached - incremental salaries, stable, long-term employment, internal promotion and a wide range of paternalistic benefits - were: firstly, a rational means of encouraging loyalty and effort in circumstances where opportunistic behaviour was possible and potentially costly, but monitoring expensive and imperfect, and secondly, a means of securing then facilitating the exercise of managerial authority. Chapter 5 outlines how Royal Bank staff fared up until World War I. It argues the standard of living most bank staff and clerks more generally experienced can be viewed in more positive terms than has previously been thought. Chapter 6 examines a key trend identified in the preceding two chapters: a growing majority of recruits left Scottish banking on or shortly after completing an apprenticeship. The third section of the thesis (chapters 6 - 8) analyses how bank staff understood and related to society as a whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available