Two Ways to Build a Bridge

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper examines the distinctive histories between 1920 and 1980 of two engineering companies, one in the English West Midlands and the other a member of Baden-Württemberg’s Mittelstand, whose principal activities included the building of steel bridges. Both were originally small enterprises, which over the course of three-quarters of a century grew, flourished, then in one case died, and in the other transmuted into an entirely different organisation. Their histories are both based on original archival research from which contemporary evidence has been used to reconstruct their otherwise unknown stories. . In comparing two companies in two business cultures in the same industry, I highlight universal factors which bear on the growth and survival of smaller companies, while also illuminating critical institutional and cultural differences which might contribute to their success or failure.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAssociation of Business Historians Annual Meeting - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 201701 Jul 2017


ConferenceAssociation of Business Historians Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Mittelstand
  • SME
  • leadership
  • Management
  • Practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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