Blending Public and Private: British Municipal Trading c. 1889-1975

Kevin Daniel Tennent, Alex Gillett, James Fowler, David Anthony Turner

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Municipal trading was the dominant delivery form for transport and utility services in late
nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain and saw local authorities operate these services on
a profit-making basis. This paper uses historical evidence and the ideas of contemporary
theorists of municipal trading to demonstrate how these bodies formatively brought hybridity into
the public sector, using blended public, corporate and market institutional orders. It demonstrates
that in order to gain institutional legitimacy for municipal trading local authorities had to fall
back on antecedents in the transport and infrastructure industries, notably in the turnpike trusts,
canal and railway industries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

This paper was submitted and peer reviewed for the 2020 Academy of Management Conference but not ultimately presented there due to the Covid-19 crisis. It is submitted here as a working paper.


  • Public and not-for-profit; Past or current movements or trends; International comparative thought, management or practice

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