Investments in power generation in Great Britain c.1960-2010

Liz Warren (Accounting and Finance, University of Greenwich, London, UK)
Martin Quinn (Business School, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Gerhard Kristandl (Accounting and Finance, University of Greenwich, London, UK)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Publication date: 16 April 2018



This paper aims to explore the increasing role of financialisation on investment decisions in the power generation industry in Great Britain (GB). Such decisions affect society, and the relative role of financialisation in these macro-levels decisions has not been explored from a historical perspective.


The paper draws on historical material and interview data. Specifically, we use an approach inspired by institutional sociology drawing on elements of Scott’s (2014) pillars of institutions. Applying concepts stemming from regulative and normative pressures, we explore changes in investments over the analysis period to determine forces which institutionalised practices – such as accounting – into investment in power generation.


Investments in electricity generation have different levels of public and private participation. However, the common logics that underpin such investment practices provide an important understanding of political-economics and institutional change in the UK. Thus, the heightened use of accounting in investment has been, to some extent, a contributory factor to the power supply problems now faced by the British public.


This paper contributes to prior literature on the effects of financialisation on society, adding power generation/energy supply to the many societal level issues already explored. It also provides brief but unique insights into the changing nature of the role of accounting in an industry sector over an extended timeframe.



Warren, L., Quinn, M. and Kristandl, G. (2018), "Investments in power generation in Great Britain c.1960-2010", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 53-83.

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