Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic: a case study of Scottish entrepreneurs, the Coats family of Paisley

Kininmonth, K. (2016) Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic: a case study of Scottish entrepreneurs, the Coats family of Paisley. Business History, 58(8), pp. 1236-1261. (doi: 10.1080/00076791.2016.1172569)

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This study examines the potential of Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic (PWE) to illustrate the growth, development and business philosophy of J & P Coats, a thread manufacturer from Paisley. The company grew from humble beginnings in 1826 to dominate the world thread market in a comparatively short period of time. The article will begin with a synopsis of the key arguments from the PWE, before moving to a summary of many of the debates, both past and recent, which have been put forward both for and against Weber’s work. The review of this body of work will highlight the continued relevance of Weber’s thesis. The brief history of the J & P Coats firm, and the main family members involved in its rise and progress will be provided, which will then provide a background against which Weber’s theories can be examined. Finally, the article will conclude that Weber’s thesis provides a rationale for understanding the development of the company, and the behaviour of its owners, which will in turn offer more contemporary validation of Weber’s theories.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kininmonth, Dr Kirsten
Authors: Kininmonth, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Business History
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1743-7938
Published Online:28 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Business History 58(8): 1236-1261
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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