British employers and the development of industrial welfare, c. 1880-1920: An industrial and regional comparison

Melling, Joseph Leslie (1980) British employers and the development of industrial welfare, c. 1880-1920: An industrial and regional comparison. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

There has been no systematic study of the welfare provisions made by British employers for their workers in the decades, I880-I920. Research suggests that such an omission leaves an important gap in both economic and social history, and that welfare activities were of considerable significance in the- development of British industry. One of the most fundamental problems concerns the discovery of an appropriate definition and method of analysis of this form of welfare. Industrial welfare is seen principally as a relationship between the employer and his employees. The major formative influences on its development within industry were the production and market conditions in which firms operated, and the industrial relations which emerged in particular trades and industries. The comparison of firms within one sector, and of different sectors within a regional economy demonstrate the extensive experience of welfare activities in these years. Comparison of regions illustrates both the complexity of factors affecting the development of welfare services - influencing their qualitative character as well as quantitative scope - and the common themes which appear in quite distinct occupations. This pattern is confirmed by an examination of welfare in its broader social and political context. The agencies of growth and administration varied from the heterogeneous mass of friendly societies to the highly specific and tightly-organised employers' associations. Their welfare commitments tended to reflect the more general functions and priorities of the organisations concerned. The social context of much welfare investment is revealed by an examination of local community relations, and the ways in which welfare reinforced the images as well as material substance of local life. Such images form only part of the diverse and fluid ideology of industrial welfare, which was carried by currents ranging from scientific management and technical expertise to political philosophy and religious belief. All of these forces are evident in the interaction of employers' welfare and state social policy, with private provisions shaping both employers ' attitudes and government legislation during these decades of rapid economic change and shifting social relations. It is in this light that we must locate the development of industrial welfare over the period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Checkland, Prof. S.G.
Date of Award: 1980
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:1980-8656
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 15:42
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2018 15:45
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8656

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