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The trees of the forest: uncovering small-scale producers in an industrial district, 1781-1851

Lane, J. ORCID: (2023) The trees of the forest: uncovering small-scale producers in an industrial district, 1781-1851. Enterprise & Society, 24 (3). pp. 702-730. ISSN 1467-2227

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/eso.2022.7


This paper uses trade directories and notifications in the London Gazette to reconstruct the Potteries industrial district at the firm level for 1781- 1851, a dynamic period of growth for a knowledge-intensive industry. It cuts across the organisational spectrum of the district in terms of the scale and scope of firms traditionally examined by including not just the larger lead-firms, but also the firms for whom limited material or business records survive. It addresses difficulties associated with analysis of early clusters before the later nineteenth century: directories offer a consistent series of records which, when cross-referenced with the Gazette and local newspapers, allow for detailed examination of firm behaviour and the structure of the district during a formative growth period. Analysis highlights patterns of cooperative competition in an industry where tacit knowledge played a crucial role as a source of competitive advantage, raising questions for future research and providing an empirical base upon which to consider further investigation of the trees that made up the forest.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:102725
Uncontrolled Keywords:Industrial Districts; Manufacturing; Trade Directories; Pottery
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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