Clearing the cupboard : the role of public relations in London clearing banks' collective legitimacy-seeking, 1950-1980

REVELEY, J and SINGLETON, John (2014). Clearing the cupboard : the role of public relations in London clearing banks' collective legitimacy-seeking, 1950-1980. Enterprise and Society, 15 (3), 472-498.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/es/khu033
Link to published version:: 10.1093/es/khu033

Abstract

This essay conceptualizes and historically documents a neglected trade association function: legitimacy-seeking. It uses the Committee of London Clearing Bankers case to show how an association can, by using manipulative public relations techniques, fulfil that function for its members. To the circumstances that prevent rent-seeking associations from becoming industry level efficiency enhancers, the essay adds a new factor-a political legitimacy crisis. Through the Committee, the banks' leaders responded to such a crisis in the 1970s prompted by the threat of bank nationalization. The case yields the following generalizable point. When members are faced with an external legitimacy threat, a trade association, even one with a history of collaborative learning, can get stuck at the rent-seeking end of the associational spectrum. By morphing from a cartel into merely a vehicle for asserting its members' politicallegitimacy through instrumental public relations, this is just where the Committee remained on that continuum.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1093/es/khu033
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2014 11:02
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 00:34
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8487

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