Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: William Lever : original thinker, accomplished imitator or skilful innovator?
Author: Strickland, Jeannette
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 9060
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Jan 2025
Access from Institution:
William Lever was a late nineteenth century entrepreneurial soap manufacturer who seized opportunities and made the most of them, laying the foundations of a global business that is still in existence today. He was a complex man. To some, he is a hero figure, most notably to his less critical biographers, but he has also been described as a paternalistic despot. Much has been written about Lever, but little has concentrated on his advertising and marketing prowess. With unprecedented access to archival resources not previously afforded to other researchers, this study will reflect upon the concept of entrepreneurial innovation and discuss whether Lever was at the forefront of new developments or whether he was a smart follower who adopted and adapted marketing ideas. It will also analyse some of the myths that have arisen about Lever and how they are perpetuated today. The objectives of this thesis are, therefore, to reflect upon Lever in the context of entrepreneurialism and management, and to discuss how his approach to controlling his business influenced his attitude to advertising and marketing. In doing so, the study will argue that Lever was not as original a thinker as many believe and that his interest in America was a wider reflection of his openness to new ideas and forward thinking, which identify him as an Schumpeterian-style innovator. These ideas formed the basis of his approach to advertising and set him apart from other family-run firms of the time. Furthermore, it will argue that Lever’s skill lay not always in creating new ideas or devising new ways to promote his brands, but in spotting the potential in other people’s endeavours and exploiting them more commercially and that he relied heavily on certain key individuals more than has been acknowledged. In particular, the thesis sheds new light on the use of the new technology of cinematography as a promotional tool.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral