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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1987

British Telecom's Building Management Division (BMD) has its headquarters in the City of London, responsible for the management of 52 central London and 90 provincial…

Abstract

British Telecom's Building Management Division (BMD) has its headquarters in the City of London, responsible for the management of 52 central London and 90 provincial headquarters buildings, housing a total of 19 500 staff. The division — now 1000 strong and possibly the largest single facilities management operation in this country — was formed in 1980, when British Telecom's services were separated from the Post Office in the run‐up to the 1984 privatisation. Initially the department was responsible only for maintenance works and the day‐to‐day running of the buildings, relying on other units to deal with communications and support services, property acquisitions and disposals, and major fitting‐out works. As a nationalised industry, BT relied heavily on the government's Property Services Agency (PSA) for all professional services and for the evaluation and purchase of furniture and other supplies.

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Facilities, vol. 5 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1996

Noeleen Doherty, John Bank and Susan Vinnicombe

Explains that the extent and pace of change throughout British industry has been increasingly dramatically, resulting in major job losses, and the remaining employees or…

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Abstract

Explains that the extent and pace of change throughout British industry has been increasingly dramatically, resulting in major job losses, and the remaining employees or survivors of such change often experience the effects as deeply as those who are made redundant. Notes that, although many organizations invest time and resource in exiting people, they do little to help those who stay, and yet the successful transformation of organizations relies heavily on managing these people through the transitions. Examines data from a case study of British Telecom and survey data from the financial services sector. Illustrates, from the combination of case and survey data, the impact of such organizational change on the survivors. Indicates that few organizations appear to provide structured help at the appropriate level and intensity. Suggests that organizations will have to do more for their survivors to establish a new psychological contract.

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Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 11 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1988

Bill Tuck

As part of Quartet, a research project funded by the British Library, University College London (UCL) has been investigating the use of digital telephone networks for…

Abstract

As part of Quartet, a research project funded by the British Library, University College London (UCL) has been investigating the use of digital telephone networks for document delivery. The system will facilitate the transmission of electronically encoded documents, such as scientific journal articles, usually in facsimile image format, from a central archive to a requesting client, and the intention is to investigate the technical and economic viability of basing such a system on ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network). Present experiments involve the use of Group IV Telefax across IDA, British Telecom's prototype ISDN network, and Megastream links between UCL and the British Library's Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa (near York). This paper is based on a talk given to the UK Online Users Group at Aslib, London, in November 1987.

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Program, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2013

Advait Deshpande

The aim of this paper is to look at the extent to which the bandwagon effect played a part in digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband adoption combined with the regulatory

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to look at the extent to which the bandwagon effect played a part in digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband adoption combined with the regulatory measures, the slowdown in the cable industry and the changes within the telecommunications industry in the United Kingdom (UK). The dynamics of broadband deployment, broadband adoption against a real‐world supply‐demand equation and the factors that influenced the outcome in the UK are examined in detail.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper combines historic facts and socio‐economic analysis done from archival research and interview material to examine the outcome in which the less‐heralded copper DSL technology outpaced cable broadband adoption. The analysis delves into the influence of the bandwagon effect and the two types of outcome associated with it i.e. network externalities and the complementary bandwagon effects.

Findings

The paper argues that the deployment of broadband technologies in the UK has not taken place solely on the merits of the technology or factors such as speed, end‐user demand and costs. A combination of factors related to regulatory decisions, status of industry finances, commercial expediency, short‐term technical benefits and the bandwagon effect are argued to be at work.

Originality/value

The paper is useful for historians, policy makers, regulators and communications industry analysts given its focus on broadband deployment in the UK in correlation to the bandwagon economics.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1990

David Pentecost

Discusses how the privatisation of British Telecom brought new commercial opportunities as well as competitive challenges. Asserts BT′s vision is to become the most…

Abstract

Discusses how the privatisation of British Telecom brought new commercial opportunities as well as competitive challenges. Asserts BT′s vision is to become the most successful global telecommunications group. Contends that TQM provides the framework for accomplishing the goal. Describes how BT creates customer/supplier partnerships and how it implements its TQ strategy. Stresses it is essential that quality is made part of daily management activities. Contends as BT moves to a total quality culture, everything else will fall into place.

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The TQM Magazine, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 18 August 2021

Edward A. Smith

What are the trade-offs between public and private ownership in the business and how does this impact industries responsible for providing and offering services on…

Abstract

Purpose

What are the trade-offs between public and private ownership in the business and how does this impact industries responsible for providing and offering services on critical national infrastructure? The privatisation of British Telecom (BT), the UK telecommunications provider that was initially part of the British Post Office, is used to explore this question. By broadening the business perspective beyond the political goals and economic consequences of privatisation; this study aims to approach management history provides new perspectives of the benefits and challenges offered by both public and private ownership.

Design/methodology/approach

To fulfil its purpose, this paper examines how the UK telecommunications incumbent proactively adapted from being an organisation shaped by its unique position within the public sector, to one embracing the challenges offered by the private sector. The analysis is synthesised by linking an understanding of the customer’s requirements, services and technology with surveys of the secondary literature, supported where applicable by archival material, combining perspectives from authors both within the organisation and external to it. Sources include specialist and more general academic material and contemporary and reflective publications from practising engineers and managers; supplemented by material held at the BT Archives and the Guildhall Library in London. It links the debate on ownership to the evolution of the market under study and provides a balanced view across the business, its market, competition and technology.

Findings

The arguments surrounding public or private ownership, are complex, in particular, it is difficult to separate effects due to liberalisation and privatisation. Whilst the former provided the impetus for beneficial change, the latter reduced the level of detrimental entanglement with government policy and enabled the technology and structural changes that took the market forward.

Originality/value

A new and balanced view of the privatisation of BT is taken, with an emphasis on how the company needed to change to thrive in a liberalised market, noting how technological change both required organisational change and enabled it. In contrast to many studies, the emphasis is on what was driving the organisation rather than the policy of privatisation and its effectiveness.

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Journal of Management History, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

David Parker

Internationally public utilities, sometimes referred to as network industries, are being privatised and dedicated regulatory structures to protect the public interest are…

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Abstract

Internationally public utilities, sometimes referred to as network industries, are being privatised and dedicated regulatory structures to protect the public interest are being introduced. This study looks at the related issues of post‐privatisation performance, regulatory risk and management strategies in privatised public utilities, drawing on evidence from the UK. The main findings are, first, that in assessing the impact of privatisation on economic performance it is difficult to separate out the effects of ownership, competition, regulation and technological change. Second, that in terms of the distribution of the efficiency gains, initially investors were the main beneficiaries in the UK, but consumers gained as competition developed and regulation tightened. Third, regulated enterprises are subject to regulatory risk as well as commercial risk with implications for types of management strategies adopted. Following privatisation the dynamics of regulation involve both the regulator and management learning about regulation and the optimal strategies to adopt. The UK's experiences are educational for those countries now contemplating or in the process of introducing privatisation programmes.

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International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1994

Andrew Pendleton

One of the most striking features of the period since 1979 in the UK has been the dismantling of the public sector. From small beginnings at the beginning of the 1980s…

Abstract

One of the most striking features of the period since 1979 in the UK has been the dismantling of the public sector. From small beginnings at the beginning of the 1980s privatisation in its various forms has come to affect every area of state activity. Most prominent has been the sale of public corporations and utilities, such as British Telecom and British Gas. These initiatives had reduced employment in the state sector by well over one million by the end of the 1980s (see Beaumont, 1992:36– 37). Besides asset sales the other main form of privatisation (in terms of a direct transfer of activities from public to private sector) has been competitive tendering and private contracting in local government, the National Health Service, and parts of central government. Recently, the Government has suggested that ‘market testing’ of this sort will be extended to all public sector activities (see Citizens' Charter). In addition to these direct forms of privatisation residual parts of the public sector have been subject to what might be called ‘quasi‐privatisation’ in the form of agency status for much of central government and self‐governing trust status for NHS hospitals and services, characterised by contractual relationships in place of direct control via management hierarchies, and the weakening of democratic accountability via elected politicians (see Stewart and Walsh, 1992). Some observers have suggested that a fundamental transformation of the state is occurring with the state retreating from direct provision of services and activities (Lewis, 1993).

Details

Management Research News, vol. 17 no. 7/8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Afonso Fleury and Maria Tereza Fleury

The development of a conceptual framework for the study of production systems in general derived from the analysis of the telecommunications industry; since this industry…

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Abstract

Purpose

The development of a conceptual framework for the study of production systems in general derived from the analysis of the telecommunications industry; since this industry is considered as one of the pillars of the coming information society and knowledge economy, the application of that framework to other industries and production systems brings insights as to their recent changes and future trends. This paper looks at the stream of frameworks proposed for production and operations management, with the intent of contributing to the debate by addressing the following question: would an analytical framework derived from the telecommunications industry have distinct features relative to the analytic frameworks currently in use?

Design/methodology/approach

Following a literature review of the evolution of the telecommunications industry, the framework (TbF for telecommunications‐based framework) was built from scratch, using grounded theory, case studies and Delphi methods. The field for research was the Brazilian Telecommunications industry, considered as a microcosm of the whole industry. The TbF was then applied to the automobile and textile/apparel industries for illustration purposes.

Findings

The TbF is composed by six types of companies, characterised by distinct profiles of organisational competences, interacting according to some specific patterns of relationships. Compared to the most commonly used conceptual frameworks, the TbF allows for critical assessments in regards to their basic assumptions and reveals ways to evolve in direction of more dynamic approaches to the study of production systems.

Research limitations/implications

As all other conceptual frameworks, the TbF is a simplification of reality and so its use requires a clear view of its assumptions. In regards to generalisation, the main assumption of the TbF is that other industries and production systems are accelerating their “clockspeeds” over time. As to the TbF's limitations, the main drawback relates to its development being derived from the most “traditional” segment of the telecommunications industry. This led to the exclusion of the internet‐enabled industries which promise a great impact in the near future.

Practical implications

The main contribution is for practical work in the academic and consultancy spheres, because what is under investigation is the way in which knowledge about production systems is being produced. The use of the TbF might disclose the limitations of the most commonly used conceptual frameworks and reveal ways to produce knowledge which is more aligned to the dynamism and complexity of production systems now and in the future.

Originality/value

The TbF is original in its structure. Its value in the creation of knowledge which is relevant and applicable still depends on further development.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 18 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Thoralf Daßler, David Parker and David S. Saal

The European telecommunications sector is undergoing major structural change in the face of new technology, privatisation and European Commission directives requiring…

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1421

Abstract

The European telecommunications sector is undergoing major structural change in the face of new technology, privatisation and European Commission directives requiring market liberalisation. This study considers the comparative performance of the major European telecommunications operators between 1978 and 1998. This period encompasses an era of state monopolies, market liberalisation initiatives and a number of privatisations. The objectives are to assess: the extent so far to which market liberalisation and privatisation have impacted on the efficiency with which telecommunications services are provided in Europe; and changes in the performance of the different telecommunications operators over time with a view to providing an insight into the comparative efficiency performance of the different telecommunications operators in Europe. Performance is measured in terms of profit margins and labour and total factor productivity.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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