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Transgressing the moral economy : wheelerism and management of the nationalised coal industry in Scotland

Perchard, Andrew and Phillips, Jim (2011) Transgressing the moral economy : wheelerism and management of the nationalised coal industry in Scotland. Contemporary British History, 25 (3). pp. 387-405. ISSN 1361-9462

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Abstract

This article illuminates the links between managerial style and political economy in post-1945 Britain, and explores the origins of the 1984-5 miners’ strike, by exploring in longer historical context the abrasive attitudes and policies of Albert Wheeler, Scottish Area Director of the National Coal Board (NCB). Wheeler built on an earlier emphasis on production and economic criteria, and his micro-management reflected pre-existing centralising tendencies in the industries. But he was innovative in one crucial aspect, transgressing the moral economy of the Scottish coalfield, which emphasised the value of economic security and changes by joint industrial agreement.