Retrospect: Citrine, Self and the Management of Change

  • Leslie Hannah


Lord Citrine, as chairman of the British Electricity Authority for more than ten years, was, quite simply, the biggest British businessman. No other industrialist at any time in history has had control of so large a share of national investment for so long a period. The organisation which he headed was massive by any standards, and his dream of losing authority within it (see quotation above) was not unique to him. None of his successors have been able to ignore the enormity of the challenge that faces them, nor failed to experience doubts about their capacity to monitor and direct such a large organisation. The burden on Citrine was, moreover, immeasurably greater since he lacked experience as a businessman or engineer and was faced with the more difficult initial task of welding together many disparate pieces into one national organisation. Any achievements and failures of the first ten years of nationalisation must, then, be seen in the context of the almost superhuman task which its organisers faced.


Generation Side Firm Merger Retail Price Index Budgetary Control Trade Union Movement 


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Lord Citrine, Two Careers (1967) p. 281.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    L. Hannah, The Rise of the Corporate Economy (1979) ch. 4.Google Scholar
  3. On the weak profit performance of private sector mergers (which posed fewer managerial strains due to less rapid core growth) see G. Meeks, Disappointing Marriage: A Study of the Gains from Merger (Cambridge, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  4. W. J. Reader, Imperial Chemical Industries: A History, vol. 2, The First Quarter Century 1920–1952 (Oxford, 1975).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    R. Kelf-Cohen, Nationalisation in Britain: The End of a Dogma (1958) p. 263;Google Scholar
  6. R. Pryke, Public Enterprise in Practice (1971) ch. 2 and 3.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    On this theme, generally, see R. Currie, Industrial Politics (Oxford, 1979 ).Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    D. F. Channon, The Strategy and Structure of British Enterprise (1973);Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Hannah
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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