AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Keeping good companies: A Norwegian artisan elite making a livelihood.

by Keith Postler

Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom)
Year: 2010
Record ID: 1392158
Full text PDF: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/2783/


The thesis examines the establishment of an original business model and the institutions which enable and perpetuate it. An alliance of elite Norwegian artisan builders and interior designers develops the model in catering to a market of bespoke manufacture for Norway's elite. The thesis argues that the originality of the model derives from the artisans' creative use and adaptation of institutions in the Norwegian Welfare State and its business and local environment, forming a distinctive entrepreneurial lifestyle that results in a thriving network of companies and in the achievement of 'the good life'. Drawing upon literature that posits the intertwining of social and economic activity, the thesis identifies and analyses the part played by artisans' families, associates, friends and firms engaged in making a livelihood. A dual economy characterises the functioning of these units: capitalist market exchange and closed market exchange. Two social codes govern closed exchange, one for the alliance, the other for its clients, with whom the artisans develop the institution of 'friends' and 'family' central to how the artisan network creates its wealth and well-being. The social codes regulate the network's entrepreneurial expansion and its limits by economies of scope rather than scale. This business model of keeping good companies departs from capitalist models of growth and the model of homo oeconomicus. Rather, lifestyle, 'the good life', structures the network's making a livelihood. This new finding contributes to an understanding of, and impetus for research into, accounting, business models, business strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, international business, marketing, organisation, creating wealth and well-being, craftsmanship, and interdisciplinary research method. The visual and manual orientation of the craft workers warranted several methods of research: statistical measures, silent and semi-participant observation, cognitive linguistic analysis, and what one might call 'research conversation'.