Business Strategy and Firm Performance: The British Corporate Economy, 1949-1984

32 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2010

See all articles by Steve Toms

Steve Toms

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS); University of Leeds - Division of Accounting and Finance

David Higgins

University of York - The York Management School

John F. Wilson

University of Newcastle

Date Written: November, 10 2010

Abstract

There has been considerable and ongoing debate about the performance of the British economy since 1945. Empirical studies have concentrated on aggregate or industry level indicators. Few have examined individual firms’ financial performance. This study takes a sample of c.3000 firms in 19 industries and identifies Britain’s best performing companies over a period of 35 years. Successful companies are defined as a) those that survive as independent entities, b) that outperform peer group average return to capital for that industry, and c) that outperform other firms in the economy according to return on capital relative to industry average. Results are presented as league tables of success and some tentative explanations offered concerning the common strategies of successful firms. A broader research agenda for British business history is suggested.

Keywords: Financial performance corporate strategy return on capital

JEL Classification: M1, N84

Suggested Citation

Toms, Steve and Higgins, David and Wilson, John F., Business Strategy and Firm Performance: The British Corporate Economy, 1949-1984 (November, 10 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1707027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1707027

Steve Toms (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

University of Leeds - Division of Accounting and Finance ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

David Higgins

University of York - The York Management School ( email )

Sally Baldwin Buildings
Heslington
York, North Yorkshire YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

John F. Wilson

University of Newcastle ( email )

5 Barrack Road
Devonshire Building
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NE1 7RU
United Kingdom

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