Anatomy of a rural meat operation: The family values/firm strategy nexus at Jackson's of Symington, c. 1890--1981

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Addressing current concerns in the academic literature regarding family business, this study traces the development of Jackson's, a firm which became Scotland's leading producers of sheep meat by the late 1920s, fulfilling this role until 1981. The paper examines the firm's progress from its startup before 1900 to 1933, when it abandoned its cattle-dealing interests to specialise in the production of lamb and mutton, principally for the London wholesale markets, which it served by means of rail transportation. After 1954, the firm greatly increased its throughput to meet the growing demands of the post-war economy, but by the late 1970s, increasing difficulties associated with the EEC caused a deterioration in trading conditions and results and the firm withdrew from the market in 1981. The paper focuses on the family influence on strategic direction and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1168
Number of pages26
JournalBusiness History
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • family business
  • rural enterprise
  • business strategy
  • meat industry

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