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Counting the Customers: Scale Scope and Quality in Britain's Popular Magazine Industry

Cox, Howard (2011) Counting the Customers: Scale Scope and Quality in Britain's Popular Magazine Industry. In: Social History Society Annual Conference, 12-14th April 2011, University of Manchester. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In Scale and Scope, Alfred Chandler argues that British entrepreneurs failed to make the investments, recruit the managers, and develop the organisational capacities needed in order to obtain and retain market share in many of the new industries of the Second Industrial Revolution. (Scale and Scope, p.12). The key manifestation of this failure was, in Chandler’s thesis, the relative absence in the leading British industries of the large scale modern industrial corporation, managed by salaried employees. Whilst large firms were often created by British entrepreneurs, Chandler argues that the potential advantages of scale and scope were not gained due to inadequate organisational innovations. Similarly the potential benefits accruing from vertical integration, which were only obtained if the advantages of market internalisation allowed managers to overcome market transactions costs, were generally less evident in the British case of personal capitalism. This paper considers the development of Britain’s magazine industry during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century; a period in which the leading firms discovered the benefits of large scale production and vertical integration as the basis for building mass-circulation titles. The main objective of the paper is to argue that the leading British magazine publisher of this period, Amalgamated Press, provides an excellent example of the modern industrial corporation identified by Chandler. However, it puts forward the view that the impact of this was development was to severely constrain the choice of magazines available to the public and thus was detrimental to the interests of the consumers it was designed to serve.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Additional Information:

Invited submission for panel on Media History

Uncontrolled Keywords: magazines, publishing, advertising, market research, publishing firms
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Academic Departments > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Howard Cox
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2011 13:15
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2011 05:00
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1370

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